This is the horse arena light guide I wish I had two years ago. I wasn’t sure where to start. What kind of lights do I need? Would they be bright enough? How do I wire all of this?
Below you’ll find what lights we used, the lighting design, mounting the lights, etc. for our DIY horse arena lighting.
TL:DR: We used twelve 200W IP66 rated LED flood lights mounted two per pole on 24 ft poles.
Horse Arena Lights
After a lot of research, reviews, and comparisons – we went with SOLLA 200W LED Flood Light, IP66 Waterproof – Warm White. We’re glad we did! We chose warm white since we wanted to keep the color temperature consistent with the barn lights. They make a daylight version if you prefer that.
Brightness: 200 watts was a bit of a guess. I read reviews and looked at a few diagrams with light spill, distance, etc. but it was still a guess. However, 200 watts each with this setup seem perfect for our horse arena.
There are slightly cheaper lights from the same company with a slightly different wind and rain rating:
IP66 and IP65 are both ratings for the level of protection provided by a light fixture against dust and water. The difference between the two is as follows:
- IP66: This rating means that the light is completely dust tight and protected against heavy jets of water, such as those from a high-pressure hose. This level of protection makes it suitable for use in outdoor and industrial environments where the light may be exposed to heavy rain and dust.
- IP65: This rating means that the light is completely dust tight and protected against water jets from any direction. However, it is not protected against heavy jets of water. This level of protection is suitable for use in outdoor environments where the light may be exposed to rain, but not heavy rain or dust.
In summary, IP66 provides more protection against water than IP65, making it suitable for harsher environments.
Since changing one of these lights is nothing short of a colossal pain in the ass, the extra bit of protection was worth the small increase in cost.
Horse Arena Lighting Design
When looking at the layout, we considered:
- Brightness: The arena should be well-lit to ensure that riders and horses can safely navigate the space
- Even Lighting & Minimizing Shadows: The lights should be evenly distributed throughout the arena to avoid any dark or shadowy areas.
- Cost: Lighting an outdoor horse arena can be a significant investment, so it’s important to consider the total cost of the project, including the cost of the lights and the installation,
With those considerations in mind, that’s why we went with twelve SOLLA 200W LED Flood Lights mounted two to a pole.
This gave us intersecting light sources that minimized shadows.
Light Brackets / Attaching to Poles
The brackets that come with the lights are trash, unfortunately. They are flimsy and cheap compared to the heavy-duty, solid (heavy) lights. There was no way I was going to trust them to hold lights 24 feet in the air with rain, wind, and snow, and not eventually wobble out of their mounting bolts.
I also wanted a way to be able to adjust the angles once they were installed – both left and right and up and down.
So, we created our own mounting brackets out of “L” shaped brackets from the hardware store and used the original bolts to secure the lights to the L-brackets. I attached these to a section of severe weather pressure treated 4X4. This install is extremely secure, but can also be adjusted.
Then, I attached that 4×4 to the under-side of a longer “T” post with a lag bolt. That post is the same 4×4 material. The T-post was screwed directly to the utility pole with five self-tapping screws that were about a foot long.
This allowed the side-to-side movement and adjustment of the lights while also being very durable and secure.
Horse Arena Light Poles
The poles we used to light our horse arena were 30-foot utility poles sunk 6 feet in the ground. This gave us a net 24 ft of pole.
Horse Arena Light Electrical
I highly recommend you seek the advice of a qualified electrician. Considerations:
- Type of wire (we used direct burial)
- Size of wire
- Length of wire run
- Load on the circuit
- Voltage drop
A voltage drop in an electrical line refers to the decrease in voltage that occurs as electrical current travels through a wire. This can be caused by a number of factors, including the resistance of the wire itself and the load on the circuit.
When an electrical line is several hundred feet long, the resistance of the wire can cause a significant voltage drop, especially if the wire is not large enough to handle the amount of current flowing through it. The longer the wire, the more resistance it has and the greater the voltage drop.
Since horse arenas and horse farms are so large (and long electricity runs common), it’s important to make sure you’re factoring in all the necessary info in order for everything to work properly – and be up to your state electrical code.
To run our lights from the barn, we need to use two separate lines, plus one additional for a receptacle:
- Line 1: 6 lights
- Line 2: 6 Lights
- Line 3: Receptacle on one of the poles (this isn’t light related, but if you want an outlet nearby, now is the time to run the line if you’re burying cable!)
Switches: We have both sets of lights on Kasa Smart Light Switches that we can control from anywhere with the internet. (including an airplane if you’re trying to spot your property when flying at night 😆)
Horse Arena Light Installation
I enlisted my generous father-in-law to help with the physical installation of the lights. All of the electrical parts we left to the electrician, but the actual mounting of the lights required a lower level of skill. It took us several hours and maybe only 1 or two dropped tools from the lift to complete this task.
I rented a heavy-duty lift (delivery included) from a local tool and equipment rental store. I think this was the second-biggest they had, but you definitely need one that can drive through sand and not get stuck. This limits a lot of lift options to those typically found on a construction site that have 4-wheel drive and bigger tires.
Horse Arena Light Costs
There are both cheaper horse arena light setups and more expensive ones – but this was the sweet spot for us. Here is a rough breakdown of what we spent:
Poles: $1800 -($200/Pole + install)
Lights: $950 (twelve SOLLA 200W LED Flood Lights)
Electric Wire To Poles: $700
Electric Wire Pole to Fixture: $320
Trencher rental: $200
Electric Labor: $800
Lift Rental: $530
PVC/Connectors/Junction Boxes: $150
Are there complete lighting packages you can buy? I didn’t find any total lighting packages. There may have been some meant primarily for athletic fields, which may work, but seemed like they would be more expensive and not as bright.
What type of lights should I use for my horse arena? LED lights are a popular choice for horse arenas, as they are energy-efficient and provide bright light.
How many lights do I need for my horse arena? The number of lights required will depend on the size of the arena, but it’s important to ensure that the arena is well-lit and that there are no dark or shadowy areas. We went with 12 total lights for an 80 ft x 200 ft arena.
How high should I mount the lights in my horse arena? Lights should be mounted high enough to avoid distracting or spooking the horses and riders, but low enough to provide adequate illumination. Ours are roughly 22 feet off the ground.
Can I control the lights in my horse arena remotely? Some lights come with control options, such as dimming controls, timers, or motion sensors, that allow you to control them remotely. Make sure your lights are compatible with dimming before using a dimmer switch. We use Kasa Smart Switches and Amazon Alexa to remotely control our arena lights. This will require internet coverage where the switches are located.
Are there any safety considerations when installing lights in a horse arena? Yes, it’s important to ensure that the lights are properly installed to avoid any hazards, such as electrical shock, fire, or the lights falling on you or your horse’s head.
How can I minimize the cost of running the lights in my horse arena? Using energy-efficient LED lights will reduce the cost of operating the lights and installing the lights. The more power you need, the more expensive the wire and operation will be.
Can I use solar-powered lights in my horse arena? Yes, solar-powered lights can be used in horse arenas, but they may not provide as much illumination as traditional electrical lights. They are also not as reliable.
Can I light up my arena with only spotlights? While spotlights can be used to light up an arena, it’s recommended to use floodlights for an even and more efficient distribution of light in the arena. For professional setups, additional spotlights might be added in order to fill certain dark or shadowy areas.
Will the lights in my horse arena attract bugs? Some lights, such as LED lights, emit less heat and UV radiation than traditional lights, which can help reduce the number of bugs attracted to the arena. But bright lights in a rural area will indeed attract some bugs.
Can I use the same lights for both indoor and outdoor arenas? While some lights may be suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, it’s important to consider factors such as weather resistance, brightness, and color temperature when selecting lights for an outdoor arena. Generally, if it’s safe for outdoor use, it’s also safe for indoor use. Given the amount of dust and moisture that occurs in indoor horse arenas, outdoor-rated lights are preferred in most cases.
Do I need to consult an electrician before installing lights in my horse arena? It’s highly recommended to consult an electrician before installing lights in a horse arena, as they can help ensure that the lights are properly installed and that all necessary safety precautions are taken.
What is the lifespan of the lights in my horse arena? The lifespan of lights will depend on the type of lights used, but LED lights generally have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent or halogen lights.
Can I install lights in my arena on my own? Consider your level of expertise, especially when it comes to electricity. For instance, we completed the physical installation and let a professional electrician actually wire everything to code. While it’s technically possible to install lights in an arena on your own, it’s recommended to hire a professional electrician to ensure that the lights are properly installed and that all necessary safety precautions are taken.
Can I dim the lights in my arena? Some lights come with dimming options, but not all, so it’s important to check the specifications of the lights you’re considering.