There’s simply no doubt that the installation of lights in your horse arena will greatly extend the time it’s able to be used, and the number of competitions you’re able to host. Without a solid lighting plan, your investment into illumination could be wasted and place horses and riders at risk. Today, we offer some important and effective tips for setting up lighting in your horse arena.
Legal and Safety Requirements for Indoor Arena Lights
A lighting permit is required for indoor arenas. A check of your local regulations will reveal height limits for light poles. Because indoor arena lights require a lot of voltage, you’ll also want to ensure that you hire a qualified and experienced electrician to install your lighting safely.
The high power requirements of arena lighting will require careful consideration about how much support your current power sources can safely offer. Here again, it’s wise to consult the expertise of an electrician, who can visit your property and conduct a proper assessment of your existing power sources, as well as the amount of power your desired arena lighting will require.
Consider Lighting Characteristics and Types
Once you are confident about meeting the legal and safety requirements, your next consideration should be the characteristics of your arena lighting. By this, we are referring to both light quality and the way in which certain illumination behaves.
For example, some lights flicker constantly. This can irritate the eyes of horses and riders. In addition, flickering lights can affect spectators, as well as photographic equipment like high-speed cameras.
Depending on the brightness of lights and the heights at which they’re installed, glare issues can also be created. The problem of glare can also interfere with the ability of horses, riders, and spectators to see properly, as well as making important moments difficult for photographers to capture.
Accurately Calculate Optimal Light Intensity and Quality
The brightness or lumens your arena will require will be directly related to its size. So how can you calculate how many lumens are best for your arena? First, you must figure out how many square meters need to be lit in your facility.
Next consider the foot candle or intensity of light that will be adequate for the size of the lit area of your arena. Typically, most sports venues require a light intensity of between 20 and 30 foot candles. Multiply that number by the number of meters in your arena’s lit area, and the result will be the number of lumens you need.
Installing light poles with flood lights can yield the desired amount of intensity. Where this falls short, various lighting levels can help to fill gaps and eliminate shadows. For the cleanest light, metal halide is the best and most innovative choice over sodium or mercury products.
Ensure Proper Mounting Height and Number of Poles
Because higher light poles will cast the least amount of horse-spooking shadow, you’ll want to consider going as high as your local regulations allow. Poles should be sufficient for the size of your lit area. The number of light poles you’ll require will be directly related to the size of your arena but, generally speaking, you’ll want to aim for four poles minimum to eliminate any shadows.
Another consideration with poles is the number of lights to install on each. While there is no set number, adding as many lights as possible is a good rule of thumb.
Typically, pole heights of between 20 and 30 feet are found in most indoor horse arenas. However, if you are able to extend lighting height to beyond 30 feet, you can fill in dark areas with proper pole positioning.
Arrange Light Poles Properly
Ensure that all of your lighting poles are installed symmetrically around your arena and turn them so that there are small areas of overlap between each fixture to ensure elimination of shadows.
Light Pole Wiring
Wiring should be in conduit and run outside of your arena, never underneath it. Doing so will compromise the level base your arena requires because digging up parts of your arena may be the only way to make repairs.
As well, any areas disturbed by under-arena wiring repairs may cause water to collect, which can render both your arena’s base and wiring unstable. Always ensure clear understanding by your electrician about these concerns before any wiring begins.
Both wood and metal pole materials are available for arena lighting. However, because of your riding arena’s base, poles made of heavy metal can lean and sink into soft ground with time. Therefore, poles of lighter metal are ideal. If aesthetics are important to you, poles made of a lighter weight wood may be a better fit.
Lighting is an incredibly important aspect that should always be carefully considered. If you aren’t well-versed in the types and qualities of light that are available, enlisting the help of a lighting designer can get you a lighting solution that does what you need while keeping your arena’s operating costs and energy consumption within range.
Other Arena Essentials to Consider
Once you’ve finalized your interior lighting plan, you’ll also want to make sure that other arena essentials are in place and in good working order. Whether it’s time for upgrades or replacement, Vitafloor offers a full range of equine equipment to support your high-end training environment.
We are the inventors of equine vibration technology, and an industry-leading developer and manufacturer of superior equestrian products, which have all undergone a rigorous research and design process to ensure the optimal safety, health, and performance of your horses.
Vitafloor’s heavy-duty mechanical horse exercisers support natural equine movement, helping to normalize post-exercise vital signs and reduce stiffness and injury. Our Q-Line massage roller provides all the benefits of massage with a multi-phase, hands-free solution.
The right safety wall is an absolute essential in every riding arena. Our top-quality Q-Line Safety Wall Pro offers shock absorbency in over 150 colors. Our customizable safety walls are maintenance-free and resistant to chemicals and water.
The Q-Line Mounting Aid can be installed directly into our safety walls, folding away neatly when a rider has mounted. Using a mounting aid reduces the saddle movement and side forces that can strain a horse’s back.
Vitafloor’s range of products are found in vet clinics, as well as equine rehabilitation, breeding, and competition facilities in over 25 countries around the world. Visit Vitafloor to browse our incredible collections today!