Birch Hill Indoor Riding Center
Nature of Work: Construct new 150’ x 77’ indoor riding arena, viewing area, electrical room, and connector to main barn. The project totaled 11,225 SF.
Location: South Woodstock, Vermont
Trumbull-Nelson constructed a 150’ x 77’ Butler Manufacturing riding arena that provides a 20 x 40 meter riding area, allowing both jumping and flat work, or dressage. The arena, with a breezeway connector to the main barn, rises to 16.5’ at the haunch and 35’ at the peak, with the 3 cupolas rising even higher. Rather than have a flat ceiling that is lower and gives you the feeling that you are cramped, especially for jumping, this 6-in-12 pitch roof, cathedral-type ceiling gives more air space for the horses and the feeling that it’s a larger area.
Aiding that feel are unique 18’ x 8’ garage door-type windows that can be raised in the summer to provide a pavilion feel. They allow horse and rider to enjoy the outside while being safe from the rain. Thermal panes in the windows help keep the arena warmer and lighter than otherwise in the winter. 6’ x 4’ mirrors were installed on the gable walls so that riders could observe their work.
Another consideration for the arena, given the fickle Vermont weather, is a special flooring mix spread over a gravel base and hardpack. Made in California, it is a polymer-sand substance that is both dust-free and non-freezing. “We’ve used it in the outdoor arena and been very satisfied with it,” Higgins said. “It does a very good job of keeping the dust down.”
The arena features a structural steel mainframe design, typical of pre-engineered metal buildings. But remaining true to the nature
of Birch Hill Farm, the walls have been given a stained siding that helps the new building nestle neatly into its surroundings.
“It’s clad in wood inside and out,” said Higgins. “It was very important to the owner’s aesthetics. He wanted it to look like it had been around for a while, and look like it was part of the barn compound.”
Consider that another in a series of missions accomplished. “There were originally some concerns about the ridgeline,” offered Friedman. “But we didn’t really have to worry about it. The town of Woodstock was very good to work with. They made us aware of their concerns, and we took every possible action to keep those concerns in mind.
“The people at Birch Hill have gone out of their way to create a facility that they want, yet to make sure it’s pleasing and meets all the requirements that are in place.”
“We have the solar panel on the roof because the owner wants to help with the ‘green’ situation in Vermont,” said Higgins. “It’s a large roof so we can take real advantage of it with the southern exposure. There’s another panel on the roof of the workshop. The owner is interested in the good of the land in Vermont.”
The end product is a building that meets the needs of the owner and considers the people who live nearby.