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Old 03-10-2009, 09:29 PM  
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Round Pen / Riding Pen Footing

I am in the process of building a round pen and riding arena. Both will be outdoors and uncovered. Can someone tell me what is the best base and top layer to use. Also, where can i find these products?


Everything I have researched says coarse washed concrete sand and or rock dust. I have also noticed shredded rubber particles. I am on a very tight budget but i'm trying to get the best i can for my horse.

Thanks in advance to everyone who replies.


Robert
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:04 PM  
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What sort of soil do you have? What sort of weather do you get (rain, snow, hot, dry, windy)?

I think sand and possibly some organic material (wood chips for example) are a good combo. What you end up using may depend on what is available for your area...do you have sand pits nearby? Maybe call and see what your options are.

I would avoid the rubber for an outdoor arena. I love it for inside, but used outside there are a few issues: it displaces easily and if you get the black it will get hot and dry.

Karen
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:08 PM  
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If your soil is dense or sandy and the area is well drained, you can leave it bare for a season or two, until the grass is gone and the dirt starts to turn to mud. Once it becomes rutty or muddy you will need to grade it and stabilize it with either gravel, or crushed rock, and then top that with something more forgiving, like sand or mulch (sometimes called hog fuel)

If you mulch it from the start, the soil will stay stabile for longer and you may only have to add more mulch as it ages and works in.

Unless you live right next to a tire shredding plant, the rubber crumbles are one of the more expensive types of footing, but they are nice - little dust, very cushy underfood and they tend to stay in place.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:12 PM  
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they tend to stay in place.
From experience rubber crumb does not stay in place unless you get the grid underlay like they had at the Olympics. You also should not get it right from the shredder...it needs to be cleaned of all metals, which is usually a secondary process. Other than that I agree with T.

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Old 03-10-2009, 11:15 PM  
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if you can find hog fuel in your area then thats the way to go..I have family that lives in OR and have used this product for many years. here is a link to read up on it

http://www.laneforestproducts.com/pr...p?product_id=7
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:45 AM  
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Around here, a lot of people use either a sand/red clay mix, or something called M-10, which I believe is crushed gravel.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:25 AM  
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I got lucky, when we took off the top layer of soil, we ended up with beach sand so it was left as is.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:26 AM  
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mulch/hog fuel reminder

Be careful to clarify that your mulch/hog fuel cannot contain walnut due to toxicity to horses. They don't even have to eat it, just standing on it can cause issues including laminitis and death. Even a small amount of walnut in the mix can be a problem.

I have wood chips in my dry lot to combat mud. I have two tree services that give me free chips and they know I can't take walnut. They are good about waiting until they have walnut free chips before calling me and I always ask them again if there is walnut in the mix. They are always looking for places to dump their chips so its fairly easy to get for free if you have patience for when they are working in your area.

Some people get chips from utility companies but they cannot guarantee walnut free loads. They sometimes end up with roadside trash like cans and plastic ground into the chips too.

BTW, hog fuel has nothing to do with hogs. Hogged Fuel (Hog Fuel for short) refers to material that has passed through a grinding machine with fixed steel hammers that grinds the wood through a sizing grate.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:27 AM  
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Being on clay I had what we call blow sand which is quite a find sand but common in local pits. It was spread on top about 6" thick. When very hot and dry it does blow a bit It is on the highest ground so it drains fairly quickly. For both arena and round pen one only needs to add sand about two feet inside the perimeter as it will get worked to the outside edge anyway. I wouldn't worry about the middle for a few years. Don't let anyone tell you that you need a layer of gravel first or you will wind up with a stoney mess. I've seen this mistake made. If you have a quad, a single set of the old steel harrows will help keep the grass down and you may have to use a product like Roundup periodically.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:34 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beard102 View Post
Everything I have researched says coarse washed concrete sand and or rock dust. I have also noticed shredded rubber particles. I am on a very tight budget but i'm trying to get the best i can for my horse.

Thanks in advance to everyone who replies.


Robert
That's exactly what my arena is. It was graded, packed dirt then stone dust and then sand. My advice is to not be skimpy with the sand or your horses feet (especially if you get a wild one) will dig up the stone. Stone dust alone is a terrible ring as the dust is meant to be a base. It compacts, gets rock hard and just not workable. Sand will blow but the concrete stuff is pretty heavy and holds water well to limit dust. You will also have to watch for wash outs but it's fairly economical. Good luck!
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:10 AM  
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We have both a round pen and a high-use pad that has laid footing.

In the round pen, we put a 6 inch layer of 2in stone, then covered it with about 8 inches of crushed limestone. I know someone said that putting larger stone as a base layer was a mistake, but that pen has been heavily used for the last 5 years and VERY FEW stones surface. It drains well and doesn't get overly hard. It can be worked with a shallow harrow if it does become too hard.

The high-use pad has filter fabric to keep the footing from sinking to China, then the same stone/crushed limestone as the round pen. We put horses out on that lot daily. It does get harder, but is easily dragged to improve that.

The best part of the high-use pad is no mud. It does get soggy, but they do not sink.
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:58 PM  
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I was talking to my farrier about outdoor footing this morning, and he said to try used manure/shavings from the stalls. Cheap, cushionning, and holds moisture well. I guess a lot of the TB farms use that for their training tracks (over a clay or similar base...not over mud), and now that he mentionned it, I am sure one if the big trainers was using that for his all weather outdoor areana. Hubby was trying to get me to consider that for our outdoor to suppliment the sand we have in already...might consider it.

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Old 03-11-2009, 01:10 PM  
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EA I wouldn't. Some of the farms here use it when it snows b/c of the warmth and gives them trotting and galloping room but to make turns and circles, it can become boggy and slick. They also never spread in their arena, only in the fields or on the trail. Lord forbid you fall off, you'd be covered in manure. It would cover your boots so your saddle, pads, wraps would all have it stuck to them. Isn't it also corrosive? It would eat away/rot things in your arena like jumps.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:22 PM  
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Lord forbid you fall off, you'd be covered in manure. It would cover your boots so your saddle, pads, wraps would all have it stuck to them. Isn't it also corrosive? It would eat away/rot things in your arena like jumps.
Incentive to not fall off

I don't think it is corresive if you let it age for a bit, and it would be mostly shavings...just dirty ones! But the smell and flies might be a turn off...footing is complicated!

Karen
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:55 PM  
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You and me both. I'm not going to mention how many occurances afraid I may jinx myself but I know if I had a boarding barn I wouldn't do it. I can't tell you how easily some do fall off and what a mess. You're right though, it would be mostly shavings I guess but have you been in a dry lot where manure has built up? It's spongey and I've had one strain a tendon on it. The risk isn't worth the cost savings. Footing is a pain in the isn't it?
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