Whether you are looking into building an arena or merely maintaining one, there are several things to consider that can impact your horse, horse trainer, and rider’s safety. Your arena consists of layers that can create a safe and enjoyable riding experience when combined correctly. Some of the factors that can impact an arena to consider are geographic location, whether your arena is indoor or outdoor, and the materials you use.

You must consider your arena’s geographic location, as this impacts the base, drainage, and footing. Factors such as temperature, weather, and type of soil will all play a big part in how you construct your arena, from the base up. For example, if you are located in a dry, sandy location, you may not have the same drainage issues as you would in a more wet, clay-based area.

Ensuring that you have everything you need to build or maintain your arena will go a long way to preventing injuries for you and your horse. Below, we will look at some potential arena hazards that can occur when it is not built correctly.

Potential Horse Arena Hazards

Faulty Base

The base is the foundation for all other components of your outdoor or indoor arena. If it is not adequately prepared and installed, you will see and experience the impact on your arena surface.

For example, suppose you live in a location with more fine soil, such as sand. In that case, your base is liable to shift whenever it is under weight and pressure causing unstable footing for your horse. If you live in a hard soil location, such as clay, your base is liable to compact. This causes drainage issues and puddling.

It is essential to find the right balance between soil types, as this will impact filtration and erosion prevention. Without a solid foundation, your horse could be injured either from shifted footing due to erosion or mushy footing due to a lack of proper drainage.

Ineffective Footing

There are many different factors involving footing that can cause injury to your horse. Too shallow or deep, too loose or too hard, too dry or too wet…all these things can negatively impact your horse. It’s essential to have a balanced blend of footing materials, or “top dressing” to reduce impact and injury and allow you to ride in comfort. Because there are so many options out there, it is crucial to know how to choose the correct footing.

Poor Air Quality

Riding in an arena will always cause dust to get stirred up into the air. This can be very unhealthy for horses, riders, and trainers. Horses can develop heaves later in life from breathing in so many footing particles, and humans can develop a respiratory illness as well. It is possible to do things like dampening your footing with water to help reduce dust, but there are other additives you can use as well.

Prepping Your Horse Arena for Safety

Now that we have considered some of the potential arena hazards, let’s take a look at preventing them. Preventing arena hazards comes down to proper construction and maintenance.

Lay a Solid Foundation: Prepare the Base

When preparing the base for your arena, it is vital to lay a solid foundation the first time around so as not to have any issues later on. It is a good idea to use Geotextile and Geocell products to help spread the load over the whole arena, allowing for filtration and preventing dry rot and erosion.

This allows you to build a stronger foundation with even fewer materials, as these products will prevent your base from shifting or erosion. Utilizing Geotextile and Geocell will significantly increase the life-span of your arena and footing.

Ensure Solid and Low-Impact Footing

It is essential to use footing that will be both resilient and able to retain water. Foam Footing is an excellent option for a footing additive, as it can easily be mixed with sand to provide a comfortable ride that reduces impact and injury. It retains water well so that you can water less and minimize dust. 

Due to the resilience of Foam Footing, it should last in your arena for several years. Combining it with a proper base foundation and regular maintenance will only help elongate your arena’s life-span.

Keep the Air Clean: Minimize Dust

For preventing excessive dust in your arena, Dust Halt is an excellent option. It is a footing additive that can be mixed in within just a few hours. Dust Halt binds itself to the footing and attracts the dust back to it, without causing clumping or excess water retention. Because it is an eco-friendly and pet-friendly additive, it is safe to have around all your animals.

A single application will last up to 16 months, making Dust Halt an affordable option for protecting both your and your horse’s respiratory health.

Increase the Life-Span of Your Footing: Regular Maintenance

Keeping your footing level is crucial for your horse’s health and safety, reducing the chance of both impact and injury. It is essential to drag it regularly to level it out to maintain your footing. Doing this allows you to maintain the quality and maximize your horse’s performance.

We recommend that you drag your arena every 2-3 days if just one horse is using it. The more horses that use it, the more often you will need to drag.

Performance Footing Offers a Complete Solution

At Performance Footing, we care about you and your horse’s wellbeing. We want you to have a stable and safe riding experience. That’s why we offer a complete solution and are proud to provide unparalleled service and pricing for your project needs.

We offer products that will protect you and your horse. From the base of your arena to footing, maintenance, and clean air, these products will elongate the arena life-span.

Do you have questions regarding our footing solutions? Please give us a call at (877) 835-0878, and we will help point you in the right direction.