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FAQ's - Dressage

Purchasing a dressage arena and letters is a large expense and can be a time consuming experience. Before making this commitment it is important to decide how you will be using the arena and what features are important to you, for example: if you want to move the arena to harrow the footing, a portable arena is recommended and you might not want the hassle of metal spike anchors or sand filled sections. If you store your arena in winter, it's hard to beat an arena that stacks securely.

With so much choice available, there is an arena to suite everyone's needs, the trick is to buy the one that is right for you. We have provided the following question sheet to help you make the right choice. Our answers are included, if you have any other questions we would be happy to answer them in person, we look forward to talking with you and to earning your custom.

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Q1. How wide are your arena sections at the base?

Our Answer:
All of our base widths are listed in the technical specifications section on each arena page. It is our experience that stability is severely compromised if the base of an arena is less than 10", our bases are from 12" to 18" wide. Compare our designs to others on the market which have bases as narrow as 3.5" or 5" and are obviously not very stable. These arenas must either be filled with footing material such as sand or use anchor spikes to give any stability at all. This is both inconvenient and makes them more of a permanent arena than a portable arena.

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Q2. Does your arena require metal/plastic spikes for stability or do you recommend their use?

Our Answer:
Absolutely not! We do not recommend this option except in the most persistently windy areas. Any metal/plastic spikes in an arena are not a good idea. A well-designed and stable portable arena should not require spikes.

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Q3. How wide are the "planks" used in your arena sections?

Our Answer:
Support is important when training, as riders we appreciate this. Even our most value priced arena has substantial rails. All the widths are listed in the arena section of this site for our various arenas. Many of our competitors use lumber specification not the true size of their rails. All of our rails are specked using actual sizes. For example our original Blok Arena™ offers a true 2” x 6” rail, we were the first company to incorporate this substantial rail size in an arena design. Make sure you ask when shopping, this makes a big difference.

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Q4. Will your arenas stand up to Arizona or California sun?

Our Answer:
Absolutely. All of our products use the highest quality virgin materials available on the market today. We have been manufacturing PVC and mixed composite products for over 15 years and have a wealth of experience with plastic injection and extrusion molding. Our ultraviolet (UV) protection package is the best on the market.

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Q5. Do your arena sections join together, is there an advantage to this?

Our Answer:
Experience has taught us that the advantage of joining sections together depends very much on the design. Clearly, our Prestige and Blok arenas are designed specifically to link section to section. Our proprietary design has a built in safety feature, if a horse spooks and runs into the arena the preference is that the plank drops to the floor, not pull the rest to the arena along with the frightened horse. The Prestige and Blok arena systems do this well and are extremely safe, the rails ends are hidden out-of-sight inside the pedestals. All of our other arenas are made in individual sections and as they are designed to be stable do not need to be joined to each other. The same rule applies to arenas made in sections, if a horse accidentally moves into the arena, do you really want the whole arena dragging behind? There is also ease of set-up to consider. Many arenas that have sections that are joined together take a very long time to set-up, moving them to harrow the footing therefore becomes a major chore.

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Q6. How high are your arenas, is higher better?

Our Answer:
All of our heights are clearly listed in the technical specification of our product sections. Our most value priced arena is 12" high and designed to provide your horse substantial support, our tallest arena is 15” high.

Is higher better? We see some arenas on the market that are 18"+ in height but feel this is too high and in most cases the height is achieved by producing an airy design. Safety is the first consideration in all of our designs, the gap between our rails is minimal never larger than 1” as this lessens the chance of a hoof becoming caught in a panel. Our competition gains height by having large gaps which is hazardous to horse and rider. In addition to this design flaw, in order to be stable in wind, these arenas should have a base width far greater than they have and therefore must fall back on the use of metal/plastic spikes.

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Q7. Is a portable arena better than a fixed arena?

Our Answer:
This depends on how you will use your arena and the environment you will be using it in, however, in most cases a portable arena will provide the best solution. An important consideration is how often you intend on harrowing your footing. Best results will be gained by moving your arena out of the way, harrowing the track then replacing the arena. Winter storage, although not required, will also help preserve your arena. A portable arena with stacking sections is the best choice if you plan on winter storage. Obviously if you plan on transporting your arena, lending it to pony club, moving it between show grounds, portability is a necessity. If you do not have a sand arena and plan to set up on grass a portable arena will allow easy movement to cut grass. Also, many facilities will want to move the arena and set up a jumping course from time to time.

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Q8. Are your arenas used in major and international competitions?

Our Answer:
Yes. Our products are selected by professional riders, facility owner/managers, dressage enthusiasts at the highest level of national and international competitions. Some of our prestigious clients include the recent Athens Olympics as well as the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, we are the only dressage supplier in the world to have worked with two Olympic Games. You will find our products all over the world including; The 2005 World Cup Las Vegas, The 2003 Pam Am Games, The Australian Equestrian Federation, Dressage @ Devon, Morven Park, Dressage at the Club and the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

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Q9. What kind of decals are used on your dressage letters?

Our Answer:
This is the main question you should consider when buying your dressage letters, if the decals on your letters are not clean and clear they are useless.

We are the only manufacturer in the world using “mold-in graphics” (MIG) in their dressage letters. This is a process where the letter decal is actually molded into the unit during the hot injection process. It is a slower, much more expensive, process than any of our competitors use but it is worth it. They simply will not come off, peel, flake or fade, they are under the plastic.

Other manufacturers use a much cheaper process where the letter is painted (silk screen) onto the surface of the finished unit then a lacquer is sprayed over the paint to protect it from the elements. The problem is that nothing protects the lacquer and it gets rubbed or eroded off, sometimes in a matter of weeks. All plastics are notoriously hard to paint or stick things to, they will always flake and peel.

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Q10. What's so great about dressage letters that are "single piece construction"

Our Answer:
This means no joins, no seams, no weak spots. Our letters are molded using state-of-the-art material to form one piece for maximum UV protection and impact resistance. There is no assembly required for our letters.

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Q11: What size are your letter decals?

Our Answer:
Our letter decals are sized for maximum visibility. For example our Athens Letter decals are 12”. To save on manufacturing cost for a similar size letter our competitors use a 9” decal.

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Q12: Are your dressage letters stackable?

Our Answer:
Yes, all of our letters are stackable. Non-stackable letters can take up a huge amount of space when being stored and are much harder to transport.

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Q 13: What length are you Dressage Arena Sections?

Our Answer:
This very much depends on the design. Our Prestige and Blok Arenas offer rails which are 4 meters (13’ x 2”) in length. We would never consider offering our “A” frame arenas in 4 meter lengths to save on manufacturing costs. Market research and extensive experience has taught us that a 4 meter span with an “A” frame design leads to sections that sag and change shape over time. In additional to the design problems an “A” frame section that is over 2 meters (6’ x 6”) in length is very unmanageable making it extremely hard to transport and not user-friendly to set-up. All of our arenas are designed with functionality in mind so this is an important consideration. When designing our Athens Arena for the 2004 Athens Olympics functionality was also an important design detail for the Olympic Committee as a result we selected sections that were 2 meters in length.

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Q 14: Do you offer “ribbed” PVC rails?

Our Answer:
Yes, we do.

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Q 15: Are “ribbed” PVC rails stronger and what is the difference between PVC that is “ribbed” vs. “non-ribbed”?

Our Answer:
Not necessarily. We are in the plastic extrusion business unlike our competitors who are fabricating their arenas from PVC they purchase. Our manufacturing facilities are ISO 9002 certified and all of our PVC profiles meet strict codes as they are used in the construction industry for many different applications. Our state-of-the art co-extrusion process allows a higher concentration of ultraviolet (UV) protection in the outer cap, while providing superior impact resistance in the interior material. Impact strength is directly related to the wall thickness of a profile and manufacturing practices not “ribbing”. All of our PVC rails meet the highest standards available in today’s market place and our unique designs offer both ribbed and non-ribbed profiles.

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