A well-groomed arena is a crucial part of maintaining your horse’s health and safety by eliminating inconsistencies, keeping materials mixed, and building confidence in your horses. Because of this, your arena maintenance schedule should include dragging the footing.
In this article, we will discuss different ways how to drag an arena by looking at the three best arena drag patterns, as well as four tips for grooming your arena. Each pattern serves the purpose of removing hardened material and leveling the ground while also keeping the footing healthy.
The 3 Best Arena Dragging Patterns for Optimal Grooming
When it comes to maintaining your arena surface, there are different arena drag patterns and pieces of grooming equipment that can be used to complete proper grooming. Some equipment options use coil tines, which are best for synthetic or fiber footings such as textile footing. While others use angled tines that can be set to certain depths to produce the perfect footing in arenas where there is sand or other additives like FoamFooting from yoga mats.
1. Standard Pattern
Start by simply dragging a line down the middle, separating the arena into two separate sides – left and right. Starting on the left side work the arena in a large circle that moves inward. Repeat this action on the right side.
2. Alternative Pattern
Much like the standard pattern, start by dragging a line down the middle. Cut the arena in half from left to right creating a top and a bottom section. Simply start at the top and work inward by moving in circles. Repeat on the bottom section. This is a great grooming technique to bring footing from the outside to the inside.
3. Spinning Pattern
Similar to the standard pattern, the spinning pattern cuts the arena in half with a left and right section. Instead of working in large circles, you start at the top of one corner and complete many overlapping circles moving downward.
Some arenas are not large enough to be split into sections, however, the techniques above can still be used by simply working in large circles while moving inward.
Grooming Tips for Your Arena
Grooming is imperative to any well maintained arena. Using the correct equipment and methods for your needs will help ensure a better and safer arena. The following tips can help enhance your arena footing and protect your horses.
Consider How the Arena is Used
It’s essential to understand what events will be taking place in the arena to know which grooming pattern will be best. Some events like barrel racing, lunging, and jumping can create divots in the footing and become dangerous to both horse and rider. These high-impact events require routine grooming to ensure the safety of participants.
Follow a Maintenance Schedule
Depending on the number of riders using the arena, the daily maintenance varies. If the arena has high-traffic days, basic grooming is needed daily. This can be moved to every few days if the arena is not in use.
Weekly, the arena needs to be emptied of obstacles so that a deeper groom can be conducted to mix the small and large particles of footing. Large particles tend to fall to the bottom while small ones are pushed to the top.
Annually, the arena needs to be “flipped.” This means that the base of the footing is scraped up and all materials are completely and thoroughly remixed. This ensures that the footing stays consistent throughout the arena.
Make Sure You Have the Proper Equipment
It is imperative to understand the type of footing you have and what equipment will work best for dragging horse arenas. Coil tine groomers are best for shallow synthetic or fiber footings while angled tines are best for arena green, dirt, sand, additives such as foam and stone footings.
Product Solutions at Performance Footing
At Performance Footing, we have a range of products to help you create the horse arena of your dreams. We have the right equipment, footings, and additives to assist in arena maintenance. If you have questions please contact us at (877) 835-0878.