California Riding Magazine • February, 2013

Triple Crown Arenas
There's no substitute for experience when building any aspect of an equestrian facility.

Easy access to an infinite amount of information is generally a good aspect of our times. But when it comes to planning for new or remodeled equestrian facilities, the best path is often finding a single source with a solid reputation and many years of experience. Triple Crown Arenas founder Ron Johnson is one of those guys.

Based in San Diego County's Alpine, the company builds arenas, roads, fencing and pads for stabling and related buildings, and it plans, supervises and manages the construction of stabling and other structures. Ron was trained by the Army Corp of Engineers and worked on drainage control for several huge government projects. The next step was working for another arena company, then he and his wife Laura founded Triple Crown Arenas 14 years ago.

Flexibility, innovation and results are Triple Crown's priorities. Ron and his team of experienced site designers and licensed contractors love to work with clients beginning to plan their facilities from scratch, but they also welcome assignments to get involved with projects underway or to upgrade existing properties. Whatever the scope of the undertaking, Triple Crown Arenas takes a straight-forward approach designed to minimize stress during the planning and building phases and maximize enjoyment of the end result.

The most frequent mistake Ron sees is planning that fails to account for the myriad puzzle pieces involved in equestrian facilities of any size. Take drainage, for example. It's critical to making arenas and other horse keeping areas as weatherproof as possible and also in complying with increasingly strict regulations to minimize the impact of animal waste on the environment.

Drainage is also a subject that few understand very well.
Hiring a local general grading company to create a dirt pad for an arena or stabling area is a mistake Ron sees frequently. "The customer asks for a 50' by 50' pad and that's what they get, but without any drainage around the pad because they didn't know to ask for it. That can really screw everything up."

Step By Step

Triple Crown prides itself on enabling customers to do things right the first time, to spare frustration and unnecessary costs. Ron welcomes the chance to perform site inspections that determine the feasibility of a prospective client's plans. "We want to educate people on all phases of their project so they can make the right choices the first time. It's important to take things one step at a time and to know what the sequence of steps should be. That alone saves a lot of money."

Thanks to Ron's many years in the business, Triple Crown Arenas is affiliated with the highest quality contractors and providers in the barn building business. Arenas, roads, grading and base building for the whole site are all handled directly by the Triple Crown team.

Although the company does it all, they do have a soft spot for arena construction and the science of figuring out base and footing materials best suited to the clients' needs and preferences and the weather where the arena will be built.

Ron's knowledge of dirt, DG (decomposed granite) and clay that comprise an arena base and the ever-growing quantity of footing additives is encyclopedic. He calls upon it daily to determine just the right strategy for a specific discipline and conditions and helps customers make sense of the dizzying amount of information regarding bases and footings.

A recent customer, for example, used exactly the DG/clay balance recommended in a well-regarded publication only to be disappointed because that otherwise-correct formulation was not appropriate for the amount of rain her arena typically receives. "There are a lot of funky little things involved in building an arena," Ron notes. "You need just the right amount of binder in your arena floor. When the DG has too much clay, it won't dry up fast enough and if it doesn't have enough, it doesn't bind up well enough and ends up getting into the sand and makes it compact too much."

Ron and his staff encourage customers to avail themselves of all the information the Internet has brought to their fingertips. Those who go down that path any distance will quickly realize that experienced and professional guidance, like that provided by Triple Crown Arenas, are critical to a positive end result when it comes to any component of an equestrian facility.

For more information call 619-659-8318 or visit