Unlock the full potential of your equestrian arena with the Arena Drag by Conterra for Performance Footing.

Introduction to maintaining sand arenas

When it comes to maintaining sand arenas, the choice of arena drag is not just a matter of routine upkeep; it’s a vital decision that impacts the safety, performance, and longevity of the arena surface. A well-chosen drag can transform a hard, uneven ground into a soft, level, and resilient surface, ensuring optimum conditions for equestrian activities.

But with various options on the market, each boasting different features and benefits, selecting the right one can be daunting. This is particularly true for sand arenas or those with footing additives, where the wrong equipment can do more harm than good. This blog aims to guide you through selecting the best arena drag for your sand arena, comparing features, costs, and real-world performance to ensure your choice not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

Drag vs a Groomer

Both “drags” and “groomers” play pivotal roles, yet they are designed with different functionalities and outcomes in mind. Their differences, especially in terms of construction and capability, are vital for ensuring the optimal condition of equestrian surfaces.

Groomers, unlike their simpler counterparts, are not just for refining the surface; they often come equipped with tines capable of breaking up compacted ground, similar to drags. However, groomers are generally heavier and more robust, enabling them to tackle thick, compacted surfaces with more efficacy. This added weight helps in deeply aerating the soil or sand, promoting better drainage and creating a more resilient riding surface.

Drags, traditionally lighter and designed to be pulled directly over the arena surface without wheels, have a primary function of leveling and lightly aerating the top layer of the soil or sand. While standard drags might not possess the heft required for breaking up heavily compacted ground, they are integral for maintaining an even and consistent surface. Notably, the Arena Drag by Conterra distinguishes itself in this category. It is heavier than a typical chain harrow, yet not as weighty as most groomers, striking a balance that allows for effective ground breaking while maintaining the versatility and maneuverability of a drag. Additionally, the option to add weights to a drag further enhances its versatility, allowing for customized depth and compaction management according to the arena’s specific needs.

Importance of Arena Maintenance

Maintaining a sand arena is crucial for several reasons, not least of which is the safety and comfort of both horse and rider. Without regular maintenance, arenas can become compacted and uneven, leading to harder surfaces that increase the risk of injury. Furthermore, dust control becomes a significant challenge, affecting not only the health of the horses and riders but also the overall quality of the equestrian experience.

Arena drags play an essential role in combating these issues. By regularly breaking up compacted soil, redistributing sand evenly, and aerating the surface, drags help maintain an optimal riding environment. However, not all arena drags are created equal, and the key to effective maintenance lies in choosing a drag equipped with the right features for your specific needs.

Adjustable Tines are crucial for customizing the depth and intensity of dragging, allowing for precise control over the arena surface’s condition. This adjustability ensures that the drag can cater to different compactness levels and can be modified as the surface conditions change over time.

Weight is another significant factor. A heavier drag can more effectively penetrate and loosen compacted surfaces, ensuring a thorough aeration and leveling process. Yet, it’s essential to balance weight with maneuverability to avoid overburdening the surface or the equipment used to pull the drag.

Compatibility with Footing Additives is a relatively new consideration, given the rise in popularity of various additives to improve the performance and maintenance of sand arenas. Some drags, like the Arena Drag by Conterra for Performance Footing, are designed to work well with additives like FoamFooting and Levitare, enhancing the surface’s stability and shock-absorption qualities. However, they may not be suitable for all types of additives, particularly textile footings, which can require specialized equipment to avoid damaging the material while still ensuring an evenly maintained surface.

In the next sections, we will delve into the top arena drags on the market, focusing on their features, benefits, and limitations, to help you make an informed decision for your sand arena maintenance needs.

For a detailed comparison of arena drags suitable for sand arenas, we’ll focus on two primary types: the specialized arena drags designed for equestrian use, including the Arena Drag by Conterra for Performance Footing, and the more traditional, versatile option of a chain harrow. Additionally, I’ll introduce a general-purpose drag that can also be adapted for use in sand arenas, providing a broad spectrum of options to consider.

Comparison of Arena Drags for Sand

1. The Arena Drag by Conterra for Performance Footing

  • Adjustable Tines: Yes, allowing for customizable grooming depth.
  • Weight: Heavy, ensuring effective penetration and leveling.
  • Footing Additive Compatibility: Yes, compatible with FoamFooting and Levitare, but not suitable for textile footings.
  • Primary Use: Specifically designed for equestrian arenas, optimizing performance and safety for both horse and rider.
  • Cost: Higher, reflecting its specialized design and versatility with different footing additives.

2. Chain Harrow

  • Adjustable Tines: No, tines are fixed, offering a uniform grooming effect.
  • Weight: Light to moderate, which may require multiple passes for effective leveling in deeper sand.
  • Footing Additive Compatibility: Limited, best used in pure sand arenas or where additives are not a concern.
  • Primary Use: General agriculture and field maintenance, adaptable for basic sand arena maintenance.
  • Cost: Lower, making it an affordable option for those with budget constraints.

Selecting the Right Drag

When choosing the right arena drag for a sand arena, consider the following factors:

  • Arena Usage: Frequency of use and the level of competition will influence the need for a more specialized drag.
  • Footing Type: Pure sand or sand mixed with footing additives determines compatibility requirements.
  • Budget: Cost considerations may dictate a choice between a specialized drag and a more affordable, versatile option.
  • Equipment: The capability of the towing equipment (e.g., ATV size) may limit the choice based on weight and size.

This comparison aims to provide a starting point for selecting the appropriate arena drag. While specialized drags like the Arena Drag by Conterra offer targeted benefits for equestrian arenas, options like the chain harrow provide a budget-friendly, albeit less specialized, alternative. Considering the specific needs of your arena and the balance between cost, compatibility, and desired outcome will guide you towards the best choice for your situation.

Case Study: Transforming a Backyard Dressage Arena with the Arena Drag by Conterra


A passionate dressage rider, with a modest backyard arena, struggled to maintain an even and responsive sand surface. The arena, a crucial part of her daily training routine, began to show signs of compaction and unevenness, negatively affecting the quality of training sessions. Initially using a simple chain harrow, she found it inadequate for her needs, especially after incorporating Levitare, a popular footing additive designed to enhance cushioning and reduce dust.


Seeking a more effective maintenance solution, she invested in the Arena Drag by Conterra for Performance Footing, attracted by its adjustability and compatibility with footing additives. Her goal was to achieve a professional-level surface that would support her and her horse’s training needs.


The Arena Drag was incorporated into a regular maintenance schedule, with sessions before each training to ensure optimal surface conditions. Adjustments to the tine depth were made based on the arena’s use and the weather conditions, aiming for a balance between aeration and compactness that suited dressage training.


  • Enhanced Surface Consistency: The backyard arena’s surface became noticeably smoother and more consistent, facilitating more precise and safer dressage movements.
  • Improved Horse Performance: The horse showed improved performance and seemed more comfortable and confident on the more forgiving surface, with better shock absorption thanks to the even distribution of Levitare.
  • Positive Riding Experience: The rider experienced a significant improvement in the quality of her training sessions, attributing this to the better footing that allowed for more focused and effective work.
  • Efficient Maintenance: The ease of use and adjustability of the Arena Drag significantly reduced the time and effort required to maintain the arena, making it feasible to prepare the surface before each training session.

FAQs on Arena Drags for Sand

Q: Can I use the Arena Drag by Conterra on different types of sand?

A: Absolutely. The Arena Drag by Conterra is versatile enough to adapt to various sand types, from finer grains typical of beach sand to the coarser varieties found near rivers. By adjusting the depth of the tines, you can customize the drag’s action to suit the specific texture and compaction level of your arena’s sand.

Q: How often should I use the Arena Drag in my backyard dressage arena?

A: The frequency of use largely depends on your arena’s level of activity and the weather conditions. For a backyard dressage arena that sees regular use, dragging the surface before each training session is ideal. This ensures a consistently even and safe surface for both horse and rider. In periods of less frequent use or during dry, windy conditions, adjusting your maintenance schedule accordingly can help maintain optimal conditions.

Q: Is the Arena Drag compatible with all types of footing additives?

A: The Arena Drag by Conterra is designed to be compatible with a wide range of footing additives, including FoamFooting and Levitare, which are popular choices for enhancing the performance of sand arenas. However, it’s important to note that it may not be suitable for use with textile footings, as these materials require a specific approach to avoid damage. Always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific type of footing additive to ensure compatibility.

Q: Can I adjust the Arena Drag to suit different maintenance needs?

A: Yes, one of the key features of the Arena Drag by Conterra is its adjustability. The tines can be easily adjusted to vary the depth of grooming, making it suitable for different maintenance tasks, from light leveling to deeper aeration. This flexibility allows you to tailor the grooming to your arena’s specific needs and conditions, ensuring a well-maintained surface that supports safe and effective training.

Q: What makes the Arena Drag by Conterra a better choice compared to a chain harrow?

A: While chain harrows can be effective for basic leveling and smoothing, the Arena Drag by Conterra offers a range of features that make it a superior choice for equestrian arenas. Its adjustable tines allow for precise control over grooming depth, essential for managing the compaction and consistency of sand surfaces. Additionally, its compatibility with footing additives and its ability to evenly distribute these materials without damage are significant advantages for maintaining high-performance equestrian arenas. The Arena Drag’s design, focused on the specific needs of horse arenas, ensures a safer, more consistent surface for training and competition.

Take the Next Step Towards Perfect Arena Conditions

Ready to transform your backyard dressage arena or equestrian center into a top-notch training and competition environment? The Arena Drag by Conterra for Performance Footing is your key to achieving an impeccably maintained surface, ensuring safety, performance, and satisfaction for both horse and rider.

Don’t let uneven, compacted surfaces hold you back any longer. Elevate your equestrian experience with a tool designed to meet the specific needs of sand arenas and compatible with a variety of footing additives. Whether you’re preparing for a competition or focusing on daily training, the right arena maintenance equipment makes all the difference.

Contact us today to learn more about the Arena Drag by Conterra and how it can benefit your arena. Our team is ready to answer your questions and help you select the perfect product for your needs. Plus, explore our website for more insights and success stories from riders who’ve made the switch to better footing management.

Your ideal arena surface is just a drag away. Unlock the potential of your equestrian arena with the Arena Drag by Conterra for Performance Footing.