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Lunging circle / round pen self-build

Build your own round pen. We’ll show you how.

We build outdoor lunging arenas that have no roof in the same way as we construct our classic outdoor arena: we use a 4-layer system and the same high, proven quality.




  1. Professional installation of a drainage system
    The surface of an open round pen must have good drainage to consistently drain off excess water and prevent waterlogging.

  2. Multifunctional separation layer
    A firm separation layer is essential owing to the specific type of heavy hoof traffic on the surface when training horses on the lunge. ArenaMats have proven themselves here and, in addition to the important separation effect, are also particularly skid-resistant, elastic and shock-absorbing. This protects the horse’s health, particularly when the animal is moving at a faster gait. The mats are laid directly on the drainage layer. No slope is required for the lunging circle.

  3. Find the optimal footing sand
    A specific footing sand is required to make the best use of the properties of the riding arena mats. The grain size should ensure that the individual grains combined provide excellent support for the surface.

    The footing sand should also contain aggregates, e.g. fleece and fibres, to optimise the shearing strength of the footing. You can purchase your individual footing directly from OTTO Arena or procure it yourself. You can use the OTTO Arena in-house sand analysis laboratory to test the sand quality. This service is free of charge.

  4. The various elements of the riding surface system work together to ensure safety and performance
    The interaction between the correct riding arena mat and a high-quality footing provides considerable relief to the horse's musculoskeletal system, even when under stress. A professional footing protects your horse's health and wellbeing.

  5. With the correct care and maintenance you can enjoy your riding surface for many years
    A durable lunging circle is not as expensive as you think. If the correct components are used in the construction, and in particular a reliable separation layer comprising riding arena mats and a high-quality footing, you will be using your round pen surface for many years to come. However, it is important to ensure the correct care of the riding surface using the right maintenance equipment. The investment will then pay off twofold: On the one hand, because it is cost-effective, and on the other because you and your horse will enjoy your round pen for many years to come.

This is how you can build your lunging circle with the layer system:

1) Gravel drainage layer as a permeable layer

2) OTTO PerforatedMat as a separation layer

3) Backfilling or filtration layer

4) Footing with washed quartz sand with various aggregates (e.g. OTTO ArenaTex)

The substructure of the lunging circle surface

Will you install it on concrete, a field or clay soil? No problem!

Depending on the substructure available on site, we will find the right solution for the lunging circle you are planning Will your round pen be located on a field, farmland, clay soil or concrete? Just ask us, and we’ll be delighted to help you.

4-layer structure of the OTTO riding surface

1. Drainage layer

A drainage layer of chippings (5-11 mm to 8-16 mm grain size) is applied to the load-bearing sub-base layer and levelled with laser precision.

The layer of chippings ensures effective water discharge.

2. Install OTTO PerforatedMats

The OTTO PerforatedMat can be installed on a sub-base layer that has been correctly prepared and finished.
It serves primarily as a separation layer between the sub-base layer and the footing to provide skid resistance, water storage and shock absorption.
You can see all the benefits of the OTTO PerforatedMat here.



This is how you install OTTO PerforatedMats in the lunging circle:

Install the OTTO PerforatedMats™ installed offset with a joint spacing of approx. 2-3 cm. The edges do not need to be cut to size (new construction). The numerous small studs must be facing upwards.

For a new build: The border of the lunging circle will then be placed on the mats.

With an existing border or surround: In this case, the OTTO PerforatedMats are cut to size to follow the curve, and then installed.



Sample round pen with a diameter of 18 m:
The surface area of the circle is calculated based on the formula r² * π

9x9x3.14 = 254.34 sqm

The footing quantity would therefore be calculated at roughly 255 sqm.

To calculate the quantity of mats, add 10% to the circular area to allow for wastage:
254.34 + 10% = 279.774 sqm

OTTO-PerforatedMats required: 280 pcs

What are the benefits of installing OTTO PerforatedMats on the riding surface?

Separation of the sub-base layer and footing
Without a riding arena mat, the sand would gradually mix with the substructure (gravel, etc.), particularly if you are training horses in the lunging circle. The OTTO PerforatedMat is an effective way of preventing this. It creates a clean and permanent separation between the sub-base layer and the footing sand.

Skid resistance
Your horses will enjoy cantering around the lunging circle, because our special system of raised studs of varying heights on the upper surface of the mat prevent skidding and slipping. The studs provide excellent bonding with the footing and therefore guarantee a high level of stability.

Drainage function
It is often not possible to use the lunging circle immediately after heavy rainfall, as mud and puddles may cause the horse’s hooves to slip and lose traction, thus posing a risk to horse and rider.
We have therefore incorporated drainage holes into the mat to prevent the formation of puddles and slippery mud on the footing. Excess water can therefore drain off through the layers, so the footing remains free of mud, even after heavy, prolonged rainfall.

Water storage
The OTTO PerforatedMat has a water storage system on the upper surface of the mat which can store up to 4 litres of water to maintain the required moisture level of the footing.
This ensures that the riding surface remains firm and prevents sand and dust from being stirred up.

20-year functionality guarantee
We provide a 20-year warranty for the functionality of OTTO PerforatedMats if they have been correctly installed and maintained.

3. Backfilling with washed coarse send or chippings

The OTTO PerforatedMat is backfilled with chippings or water-permeable coarse sand to prevent the fine sand or organic material from migrating down through the drainage holes of the mat.


4. Layer of washed fine, clay-free sand, with no aggregates

The OTTO-ArenaTex footing can now be applied.

It consists of a homogeneous mixture of high-quality, clay-free, quartz sand mixed with textile and fibre aggregates or shavings.

We build a footing of at least 10 cm high for lunging circles. The horses push sand to the outside of the arena or circle With the first hoofbeat. A thicker footing prevents the horse's hooves from coming into contact with the mats themselves.

Individual footing - the correct riding arena sand:

Not all sand is created equal:
We only use washed quartz-sand mixtures.

Properties of the OTTO Arena footing:

  • High-quality quartz sand in specific grain sizes
  • Clay-free for optimum drainage

Quartz sand is one of the hardest sands in the world:

  • Extremely durable with the correct care and maintenance
  • Suitable for all equestrian disciplines

Long service life
Our footing is extremely durable provided it is treated with care. We want you and your horses to enjoy your riding arena for many years to come.

An individual sand mixture to suit your requirements
We adapt the sand formula to the requirements of your equestrian sport:

  • All-round riding arena
  • Show jumping arena
  • Dressage arena
  • Tournament surfaces

Training tracks:

  • Tölt and flying pace track
  • Gallop track

Is my sand suitable for my riding arena?
Do you have sand already and want to know if it is suitable for the riding surface you are planning? Send us your sand sample or enquire about our OTTO-ArenaTex footing and the sand mixture that has been specifically developed for riding arenas. We will be delighted to help you.

Sand analysis

Get a quote now! Free of charge and non-binding.

Frequently asked questions

We essentially build round pens based on your requirements and the available space.

A diameter of 18-20 metres has proved to be highly effective in practice.


The actual amount required is calculated based on the surface area of the circle (r2 x 3.14), and then add roughly 10% for the overhang.

Sample round pen with a diameter of 18 m:
The surface area of the circle is calculated based on the formula r² * π

9x9x3.14 = 254.34 sqm

The footing quantity would therefore be calculated at roughly 255 sqm.

To calculate the quantity of mats, add 10% to the circular area to allow for wastage:
254.34 + 10% = 279.774 sqm

PerforatedMats required: 280 pcs

Are you planning to have a roof over your lunging circle? We are very flexible, and in this case can also use our riding surface system which we install in indoor riding arenas. This is built using a 2-layer system with OTTO-IndoorMats.


No problem! Our expert team will also be happy to help.

Do you have any questions? Please contact us on +49 (0) 9187 97 11-0!

Similar to wood, OTTO PerforatedMats can be cut to size with a saw, e.g. band saw, chainsaw, jigsaw, but not with an angle grinder, as the mat material will overheat.