Longwood Arenas' story begins in Prior Lake, Minnesota, nearly 44 years ago. Building riding arenas for clients was not originally one of the family businesses, but constructing and maintaining the arenas at Longwood Farm often was a family affair.
Joe and his brother Jim spent their childhood afternoons riding on the back of arena drags as "human-weight blocks." (Hey, it was the 80s. Things were different then.) At the time, it was cheap labor and easy childcare for two young boys. This daily chore was more entertainment than work for two young boys who at the time didn't realize they were being instructed by one of the masters of equestrian development - their mother, Betsy Watkins. Longwood Farm North would eventually grow to offer three riding arenas with various types of footing to clients, friends, and family to enjoy.
In 1993, the Watkins family acquired Longwood Farm South in Ocala, Florida. The acquisition and construction of this new facility allowed Betsy Watkins to stretch her creative wings and develop one of the finest multi-discipline equestrian training facilities in North America. The farm has hosted the United States and Canadian Olympic teams for many years as their winter training facility.
The development of Longwood Farm North and South throughout our 44-year history has allowed the Watkins family to work on hundreds of equestrian development projects. We have had the honor of working with some of the greatest Olympians in history from multiple disciplines, fine-tuning our understanding of equestrian and equine athletes' needs.
Over the last 44 years, we have experimented with horse riding arena footing from all over the world that mimicks grass. We've developed an extensive knowledge base about equestrian development and horse arena footing through this research and experimentation. There is no better way to understand a subject than through real-world experience and trial and error. When you build with Longwood Arenas, you can rest assured that our work is tried and true.
"When it comes to horse arena footing and equestrian construction, we have seen and done it ALL at our own facility. That gives us the confidence to guarantee perfection at your facility."
- Joe Watkins - President, Longwood Arena.
You installed my dressage arena a little more than a year ago. I now have the best outdoor riding arena and footing I have ever had in over 20 years of owning arenas. We never miss a day of riding, even after heavy rains. There is never, NEVER a puddle, and we have followed your maintenance instructions closely. Most importantly, our horses love the footing and we have had no problems with leg injuries due to footing (knock on wood). Thank you for making my Florida riding dreams possible, my dressage horses happy to work and sparing me the cost of needing a covered arena to be able to ride year round!!