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An Open-Air Arena With A View

Open Air Arena at Night

There’s no secret behind the allure of Wellington, Florida. For many horse lovers, settling in the equestrian capital of the world sits at the top of their bucket list. For John and Leslie Malone, owners of Riveredge in Chesapeake, Maryland, home to Hassler Dressage, the decision to build their newest horse barn and open-air arena in the Florida region fits nicely with their ongoing commitment to support the dressage community.

Built on 20 acres, Four Winds Farm boasts a 10-stall horse barn, with an impressive 85’ x 220’ open-air arena. In addition to private use, the facility serves as a winter training location for Hassler Dressage.

The facility features a unique design, including massive concrete columns, curved arches, and coffered style ceiling to add dimension and texture to the design. To create the cathedral ceiling, B&D Builders used a boxed beam concept, which makes the truss very rigid and much safer to set. A tile ceiling with a continuous cupola completes the design.

Daniel Glick, Co-Owner of B&D Builders, says the design of the open-air arena was a collaborative process between the Malone’s, architect Stephen Roy, and the B&D builders’ team.

“The goal for this style arena was to be able to enjoy the outdoors, while still having protection from the weather, if needed. To maximize the views, we increased the spacing of the columns and incorporated large overhangs to prevent the torrential South Florida rain from saturating the footing,” says Glick.

In addition to adhering to South Florida Water Management Authority’s requirements pertaining to water runoff, the design and build also had to be strong enough to survive in the hurricane-prone region. To do this, B&D Builders reverse engineered the timber structure to resist 55 lbs. per square foot wind uplift and protect the structure from hurricane winds greater than 120-mile per hour.

When asked what it takes to build a structure that strong, Glick says a lot of planning, an experienced team, and more than 17,000 lbs. of stainless steel timber hardware.