Properly designing and building your equine riding arena requires significant planning and unique designs. While the initial construction is essential, consistent arena maintenance is just as crucial for keeping your horses and riders safe and satisfied. This post will provide some advice concerning arena equipment and general maintenance tips for your arena.
Every horse arena has three primary layers to keep in mind: the sub-base, the base, and the footing. The sub-base is the compacted soil or natural materials upon which the arena is built.
The base is usually about 6 inches deep. It consists of crushed rock or another similar substance. The footing is usually made up of a mixture of natural and synthetic materials.
Following are a few important pieces of advice to consider when maintaining the quality of your arena.
Keep the Surface Moist
One of the simplest, most important aspects of maintaining your arena footing is watering. Without consistent watering, your footing can become loose. Having loose footing erases the stability and grip that the horses need to perform well and causes dust to rise when the horse’s hooves hit the ground. Even if you have synthetic footing, dust can still become a pervasive problem without consistent watering.
If you have an indoor arena, you will not have natural water to work with, which can be a blessing and a curse. A lack of natural water can be a challenge because you have to spend more money and time watering your arena. Still, it’s beneficial because you can easily regulate how much water the surface gets. For outdoor arenas, it’s harder to measure how much water the arena gets.
There are two primary ways to water your arena, either with a hose or a more regulated watering machine. Of course, a hose is cheaper, but it’s harder to be consistent and exact in water distribution. With a sprinkler type system, you can efficiently distribute the water equally and effectively.
Invest in a High-Quality Equine Arena Groomer
To keep your arena in the best shape, you will need an arena drag, which can also be called a groomer. A drag is an attachment that you can put on a tractor or with a tow bar to pull across your riding surface. Usually, a drag has “teeth”, or spikes, that move the surface around.
The primary purpose of a drag is to keep your arena footing even and at the desired depth. By using a groomer and leveling blade, you can easily fill ruts and redistribute high spots. This is especially important for arenas where the horses all follow the same tracks.
Once ruts become deeply entrenched, it can be impossible to erase them fully. Moving in with a drag early on is the best way to keep your footing surface in pristine shape.
How often you groom your arena surface depends on how often you use your arena. For those who host frequent riding events and use their horse arena daily, you should be dragging your arena at least once a day. Even for riders who do not use their arena as heavily, it is vital to drag the arena at least once a week.
When you are thinking about which drag to purchase, some things to consider are price, maneuverability, and how easy it is to use. The ability to control depth is one of the most critical factors.
The Base is Incredibly Important
Regardless of the type of footing, your riding arena is only as good as the base’s integrity that supports it. It is essential to take extreme caution when using arena tools on the footing, to maintain even composition and your base’s structure.
Most groomers and drags have gauge wheels, allowing you to determine the depth you want to dig into the surface. If you go too deep, you could push into the base causing all sorts of problems such as serious ruts, which is a costly mistake.
Choosing the Right Equine Arena Groomer
At Performance Footing, we help you reduce injury for your horse and increase riding comfort by providing the best equipment and affordable options. You can enjoy the riding surface you dreamed of today with our pay later plan at checkout. Experience a payment plan built for you, get approved in minutes with financing up to 36 months, and no impact on your credit!
If you still have questions about our equipment, give us a call at 877-835-0878, and we will assist you with choosing the right maintenance equipment for your arena.