February marks the start of dressage show season! So, what better time to get your dressage arena prepped and ready to go? To get the most out of your practice, there are many requirements you need to cover with precision, from dressage markers to surface materials.

Why is the construction and layout of a dressage space so important? By executing this correctly, optimum performance and fairness in competition is ensured. Try and reflect the discipline, precision, harmony and grace of the sport itself into your dressage arena construction and you will be able to create a top-tier space for you and your horse.

Dimensions of the Dressage Arena

A standard dressage arena typically measures 20 metres by 60 metres (66 feet by 198 feet). These dimensions are chosen as they allow enough space for riders to showcase their skills. We all know dressage riders perform a series of predetermined movements, exercised and transitions, so it’s important they do not feel constrained when doing so. Top tip: these dimensions should be accurately marked in order to be consistent with other arenas and competitions.

Material Choice for Footing & Surface

When surface material comes to mind, you might initially think sand will be the best choice, but this is truly determined by weather and ground conditions. You need to make sure that the material provides adequate traction, cushioning and support in order to reduce the risk of any injury. Whether you choose sand or felt, rubber or specialised synthetic blends, just remember that you need to get the most out of the performance.

Fences, Barriers or Boundaries

Although not a strict requirement, at Norton’s Fencing, we would recommend a fence or barrier around the perimeter of your dressage arena. This is so the arena’s limits are clearly defined, there is sufficient visual guidance for riders for when they use the space, and both the spectators’ and competitors’ safety is ensured. These are all helpful when it comes to dressage practices and competitions.

Dressage Arena Markers

One of the most important things to include in your dressage arena are dressage markers. These are letter designations that are positioned around the arena perimeter and signpost the points for transitions, movements, and patterns. Ultimately, they help guide riders through their tests and routine around the arena and execute their manoeuvres accurately and seamlessly.

Top tip: Make sure they are always prominently displayed and maintained to ensure legibility from all vantage points so riders can effectively interpret and navigate their routines.

What Do the Letter Designations Mean on Dressage Markers?

The standard letter designations follow this sequence: A-K-E-H-C-M-B-F. They are located along both the short sides and the long sides of the arena and this is what the different letters signify:

A & C: Located at the centre of the short ends of the arena, these letters signify the starting and finishing points for dressage routines.

B & E: Located along the centreline of the long sides, these letters signify where riders should execute symmetrical movements and transitions.

H, F, K & M: Located at the quarter points of the dressage arena, these markers help maintain accurate spacing and alignment during various manoeuvres.

D & G: These letters are sometimes used in larger arenas or specialised competitions.

Dressage Arenas From Norton’s Fencing

Norton’s Fencing are Europe’s leading equestrian fencing installers and supply all kinds of paddock fencing including gates, lunge rings and dressage arenas. Our dressage arenas are constructed with Tropical Hardwood or Densiforce Softwood from De Sutter Naturally and to your specification.

We strive to create the optimal environment for both your training and competition needs with attention to detail and high quality craftsmanship. Get in touch with us today to find out more or request our Arena Fencing Brochure to have a browse.