A couple of years ago, I joined my first ever No Stirrups November Challenge. And when I decided to sign up, I was trying to figure out how the heck I would be able to get 12 rides in for the month. I have a full time job, and I knew I could get 8 rides in because of the weekends. But the rest of the rides had me concerned. I mean, it’s dark by the time I get home. And I don’t feel comfortable riding in the dark. There had to be a way to make the riding arena better. So began my quest to adding lights to my arena.
I decided to add some lighting to my arena. And it worked, but it was a little bit of a pain because I had to buy a HUGE extension cord and run that from my lights to my garage. And I didn’t do the entire arena, it was only a corner. DIY arena lights were ok, but not the ultimate way to light my arena.
And I didn’t really like the way it looked, but hey, you work with what you have right? But after a few months, I took them down. And I decided at that time that eventually I would have REAL arena lights.
Well fast forward to present day, and I now have those REAL arena lights. And let me tell you, they are awesome.
How To Make Your Riding Arena Better – Adding Arena Lights
A few weeks back Solar Goes Green reached out to me to talk about adding some lights to my arena. And I was like, of course I would love it! Solar Goes Green is a company based in Indiana and their website is an incredible source of information on all of the products they have available. The best thing to do is go to their website, and see what they have to offer if you are thinking about adding solar lights to your arena. They offer LED solar lighting from flag lights, lamp lights, coach style lights, and my favorite flood lights. And the best part about these lights is they are all solar powered! NO MORE ELECTRICAL CORDS! Can you tell I am excited about that?
After discussing with Jodi, the Solar Goes Green rep who I have been working with, (who is very helpful by the way) she helped me to determine how many lights I would need for my arena. My arena is about 110 feet long by 85 feet wide. Meaning I would need between 8 to 10 lights to light this space.
After I decided a resounding yes please, they sent the lights out. I received them in about 2 days! 8 large boxes delivered to my front door in TWO days from Indiana. I was impressed. And each light kit had everything I needed to set up one light. It includes the light, the solar panel and a motion sensor, along with a remote control, and everything to get the light set up. The also offer a pole mount package for the lights which you can purchase separately.
The mounting hardware of bolts for the lights is not included, so you will have to buy these separately. But they are readily available at the big box stores in the nuts and bolts section.
Making The Poles
We decided to mount the lights onto pressure treated wood that I painted.
My ‘poles’ are 8 feet tall. However, the taller the pole the further your lighting will spread. But for my purposes, the 8 foot pressure treated 2 x 6’s are just right.
Then we took sections of 2 x 4 lumber to make a plate for the lights to attach too. I wanted something separate from the 2 x 6 because the mounting hardware for the light is spread a little wider than 6 inches. We attached the 2 x 4 pieces to the 2 x 6 boards, and then I painted everything with Behr exterior paint in the same color as the trim of our house. I had it, and it was perfect for these poles.
Attaching The Lights
Next I attached the lights to the plates we made at the top of the board. Each light has a mounting piece. So I removed the mounting frame from the light and secured it to the pole. I put the metal frame over the predrilled holes and added washers on top to keep the bolts secure. Once the bolts were secure, then I reattached the light to the metal frame.
Once the frame was on, and the light attached to that I did angle the lights about 20 degrees down. This is a nice feature these flood lights have – you can change their positioning so you can aim the light where you want it to go.
I repeated this process 8 times for each of the lights. And it wasn’t hard at all. I was able to do this on my own!
Determining Placement of the Lights
Once all of the lights were mounted to the poles, I spaced them out in the arena. I wasn’t quite sure if I had my placement right, so I secured them to the rails in my arena with very strong zip ties. And they worked very well!
But at this point it was still daytime. So I would not be certain if I placed the lights correctly until it was dark. But by using the zip ties, I can move the lights if I need to. We shall see how I did!
I have 8 lights, 4 of which are FL9W which is 250 watts, and 4 are the FL12W , which 375 watts. So I placed a FL9W light next to a FL12W light and repeated this process around the entire arena. It ended up being one light on the shorter ends, and 3 lights spaced out on the long ends of the arena.
Attaching The Solar Panels
Each light has it’s own solar panel. So this was the next thing I had to do, attach the solar panels to the poles. And I had to determine the placement by making sure each panel would receive the most sunlight throughout the day to recharge the battery in the lights.
It was easy to attach the panels. The higher watt lights (FL12W) include a mounting piece making it easy to attach the solar panel to each pole.
Connecting The Solar Panel To The Light
After I secured the solar panel, I made sure the light was off. You do this by depressing the main light switch (it’s a button) which is on the bottom of the light. First I pushed the button, and this turned the light on. Then I pressed it again, and the light switched off. This makes the button depressed. he light is on when the switch is even with the housing of the unit.
Next, after I knew the light was powered off, I attached the solar panel cord to the light cord. The connection is very secure and has a screw down piece which keeps the connect secure and moisture free.
There is also a motion detector you can put on too. If you add the motion detector, this is when you attach it, when the light is powered off.
Turning The Lights On By Remote Control
Ok, this is probably my favorite part of these lights, they have a remote control! And the remote will control ALL of the lights! One remote for 8 lights – how awesome is this?!?!?!
The remote has a lot of buttons on it. One side is dimming and one side is time. You can adjust the level of light as well as the length of time the lights will stay on. So lets say you want to ride or be in the arena for 2 hours, you can press the 2 hour button, and the lights will stay on for 2 hours. The lights will shut off after the 2 hours.
After I played around with the remote control for a bit, I went around to each light, and turned them back on. I did this by depressing the main light switch again. And because I couldn’t reach them, because the lights are at the top of 8 foot poles, I used a ¼” wooden dowel to depress each of the light switches. Once I had the light turned on, I used the remote to turn off the light.
And then when it was dark, I went back into the center of the arena and used the remote to turn the lights back on.
The first night I tried this the lights didn’t last very long because the batteries were not fully charged. But I was able to set the lights up, and get them all on the same frequency with one remote. A couple of the lights would blink. Meaning they would turn on with the remote, and then after a few seconds, the light would turn off, and then turn back on again. This means they were needing to be programed to the remote. To do this, I started at the top button on the remote and worked my way down until I got to 100%. And what this means is that you can use different levels of power with the lights. Beginning at 10%, then 30%, then 50%, then 70%, and finally 100%. I went through the different levels of light twice and then all of my lights stayed on.
Charging The Batteries
The lights have very large batteries that can hold all of the collected energy from the sun. It took about 2 sunny days for my lights to get fully charged. But after that, they were good to go! And now I can use the remote from my front porch, and the lights will turn on. This is just amazing to me. No extension cords, no turning the lights on one at a time. I just press a button and my arena is light!
Solar Goes Green Arena Flood Lights
Now, it doesn’t matter what time I want to ride, or work in my arena. I can come home from work, and even if it’s dark, I can still go out in my arena. This is beyond incredible. I can groom the arena, I can lunge my horse, I can ride my horse, even when it’s dark outside! These lights are a game changer for me! It is so nice to not have to rush home to ride before it gets dark, or even just go clean up the ground. As long as it’s not raining or snowing, I can work in my arena.
Solar Goes Green Solar Lights – Yay or Neigh?
I am so impressed with these lights! They are very sturdy, and I know they will last a long time. Each light is in a sturdy metal case. And as long as the batteries can collect enough energy from the sun throughout the day, I have a source of light to be able to work in my arena.
And they don’t look bad either!
If you are a barn owner, or equestrian professional and are looking to improve your facility with an outdoor, or even indoor lighted arena these flood lights from Solar Goes Green would be an excellent addition to your facility. And you can provide a very requested amenity for your clients. The cost of the lights is the biggest investment. But over time, they will pay for themselves! With solar – you don’t have an electricity bill to pay – the sun charges the batteries! Free electricity!
If you want to learn more, or talk to someone about your lighting needs, I highly encourage you to reach out to Solar Goes Green. I am very impressed with these lights. And I love the flexibility they have given me to spend more time with my horses!
It took a little help from my husband in the beginning, but after that I was able to do all of this project on my own. I got the completed lighting system done in a weekend, and then by Tuesday (after I recovered and recharged myself from all of the work) my lights were ready to be used!
So Solar Goes Green are definitely a yay for me. And now I am REALLY ready to go for No Stirrups November, as well as any time that I want to ride after dark!
If you want to learn more about Solar Goes Green, or the lights they have available – You can learn about them by visiting Solar Goes Green.