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No Shenanigans Here:Building a World-Class Arena for Shenanigan Stables




Nicole Kelleher, DVM, CVA of the Carrollton Animal Hospital in Ohio has seen a lot of facilities and a lot of footings. So when she says she’s seen what can also go wrong, believe her.


“For me and my mom,” she says, “it was a lifelong dream to have an arena we could do anything in and also share with other people. Mom sold her farm and moved on to the property with me and my husband, Patrick, which essentially provided the chance to build this dream.”


“My husband came up with the name,” she laughs, recalling their 2018 purchase of the Carrollton, Ohio farm. “He originally wanted to call it Sweet Awesome Shenanigans Stable but that was a little… long.”


Going a little long did work in Shenanigans’ favor when it came to planning a new arena, and meeting with Austin and the team from Diamond W.


“We found out about Austin through the recommendation of Premier Equestrian. He came out a year in advance to meet our contractor and builders, and go over what they would need, like how high the kickboards would be, what surfaces were going in, how much and how high to excavate, how we would place everything, you name it,” she says.


“Austin talked to our excavator. He talked to our builders. They coordinated everything really, really well.”


When it was time for Shenanigans to get serious about installation, it was easy: “We called and told him we were ready to put in the base and footing and they said okay, everything is ready to go! Again, Austin worked with our local excavator about where to mix the footing, and how to organize trucks in and out of the farm in a timely manner.


“It went really smoothly. Austin worked well with everybody and it cut down on a lot of time and labor costs!”


Today Nicole estimates nearly a dozen horses (including her and her mom’s three horses, two ponies, and one mini donkey) use the arena daily. For a surface, she’s opted for Otto Sport Mats with Premier Equestrian footing.


“We’ve had a couple of clinics and hosted some different discipline events and shows,” says the veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist, “and we have never met a horse that didn’t like our footing.”


If there was just one thing she’d do over (if she could), her advice is worth sharing with other facility owners and managers: “If you are thinking about putting in a ‘full court’ arena, give yourself extra room down the long sides, for people to stand or pass comfortably.”


There are enough happily moving horses to watch. The end results have proven to be a “very good” surface for Shenanigans. “It’s holding up nicely. Everyone’s doing really well on it.”


Without hesitation, Nicole recommends Austin and the Diamond W team and credits them with making a family dream into a reality: “Outstanding, straight forward people, easy to work with and they do an amazing job.” With a smile she added, “Now we have a sweet, awesome arena!”


Austin Wood of Diamond W Contracting commended Nicole on planning the arena construction well in advance. “It is always a pleasure to work with a fellow professional in the horse industry. I am glad they are as pleased with arena results as I was. I am honored to have helped the dream arena for Shenanigan Stables become a reality,” added Austin, as he packed up his crew and equipment and headed to the next job site.

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