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Old 11-19-2004, 07:53 PM  
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Best Indoor Arena footing

I am looking for advice on good, economical footing for a new indoor arena that will be used for lessons and low level jumping. It needs to be able to handle the cold, as it gets really cold up here in winter!

We are thinking of building an indoor arena next year, so any advice on types of arenas would be great as well.
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Old 11-22-2004, 07:40 PM  
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I like river sand mixed with screened gravel(crushed) it is good footing and not as dusty as sand alone.
One thing I would not recomend is shreaded rubber, I went to a clinic at a very posh barn that had it in all threr arenas and after three days I could hardly breath not to mention the black dust that covers everthing,It is also very hard to walk in due to the rebound effect.
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Old 12-01-2004, 11:26 AM  
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I know I have seen rubber footing that works (clean and mixed with sand), and stuff that doesn't as you mention! I like the idea of screened gravel and sand. There are gravel and sand pits around here so that should be economical and it should work indoors or out. Of course it would be sand from old lake beds and not river sand...I wonder if there is much of a difference?
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Old 12-01-2004, 02:55 PM  
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I moved from the western side of WA state (rainy) to the eastern side (desert) about three years ago, and found a huge difference in the way arenas were looked at. Due to the weather out here, indoor arenas are pretty much unneccessary, whereas in NW WA even people who only have one or two horses have indoor arenas. Also, almost everyone over there uses "hog fuel" or large wood chips as their footing, whereas everyone here uses sand. It seems strange to me that sand is so predominant here, since all it does is dry out and cause SERIOUS dust problems. Irrigation is a must, which seems like a waste of money, and doesn't solve the problem for more than a couple of hours. Hog fuel is my favourite footing, I like the way it breaks down-- it's soft, not grainy like sand, which is hard on the horses' feet out here where it's so dry. It's also cheaper out here than sand (why I have no idea, this is the DESERT for goodness' sake) and drains better (no mud!) I have been told that the problem with it here is that we have clay under our sand, and that the horses can go straight through hog fuel to the hard clay, but with a proper base under your footing (which any arena should have) I don't see that being a problem.

Don't know if that helps any, just my thoughts on footing!!

Lily
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Old 12-01-2004, 05:24 PM  
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Interesting. I have only seen hogs fuel here used in turn out pens, never as footing. Isn't it slippery to jump in? Hogs fuel is very cheap so I would love to give it a try if I could have confidence in it. Do you mix it with anything? How does it handle the extreme cold?

I hate the dust in sand too...a local barn oiled their sand with canola oil to keep the dust down...it works but it smells awfully rancid! I have sand in my outdoor round pen and have not had an issue with dust, but then that is outside.

Best footing I have ridden in is chopped running shoes, but that is way out of my budget!

Thanks for the imput!
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Old 12-13-2004, 01:03 PM  
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footing

My parents use salt in their indoor arena, they are close to Calgary, so we get the extreme cold sometimes as well. We water the arena before the first frost, and then put salt in it. That way it stays damp and the salt prevents it from freezing all winter. We are very happy with it. Our arena footing is a packed clay base with a sand and sawdust mix. Whatever you do don't use oil, a once popular trick that is so bad for your health, as you stand in their and teach, breathing in chemicals all day. Canola oil I suppose would be fine except for the smell as you said.
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Old 12-13-2004, 03:49 PM  
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Interesting idea to salt it in the winter...any special type of salt? I have heard of people doing it for outdoor arenas, but not the specifics: how much per square meter and such.

Sand and shavings does seem to be popular here as shavings are cheap. What type of shavings do you guys have the most luck with? How much in shavings per inch of sand? This arena will be light use, but I would rather not have to replace the footing very often.

This will be a big investment for us, I would rather start right!

Our ground in clay under the dirt, so a clay base will be easy for us to manage (I hope). We will have to level off some hills and scrape the black dirt, but hopefully we can use the natural clay.

Thanks for the imput!
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Old 12-14-2004, 12:37 PM  
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The salt is regular table salt, we just buy it in bulk, the feed store sells fine salt. For our arena which is 60 feet wide by 160 feet long we use between 20 and 30, 20pound bags. The footing is mostly high quality sand with a touch of fibre in it. The sand cant be too fine or packs, and can't be more than 2-3inches deep or it's too deep. Depending on the type of sand you can experiment on depth. The sand has to be floated at least 3 times a week because all sand will pack if it is not properly maintained. If your sand is really good quality you don't even need anysawdust. It is so important to shop around for the best sand, what you want is coarse washed sand.
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Old 12-14-2004, 01:03 PM  
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I like the sand we have in our round pen, so I think that would work, I am just worried about the dust, as this will be our only arena so we need it to work year round and I don't want to have to water every day if I can help it. Arena's around here that use sand seem to have issues with dust, and although the salt idea should work in the winter, i am not so sure about the summer months.
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Old 12-15-2004, 09:18 AM  
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No dust?

It is wishful thinking to think that you are going to get any footing that is going to provide no dust at all. Especially if it is your only arena. The only footing I have ever ridden in that had almost no dust was mixed with rubber shreds (from tires) It is extremely expensive, so unless you have a very l;arge budget I am assuming that is out. You have to maiuntain an arena, we harrow, and float ours three times a week, and in the summer it gets watered every morning. Whatever you do DO NOT put oil in your arena, it is incredibly bad for your and your horses health to breathe it in. Maintenance is the key as I mentioned and there really is no way around the dust if you are on a budget.
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:16 PM  
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Don't worry, I am already sure about the no oil thing!

I think with maintenance an arena should be able to be reasonably dust free, and I have ridden in such arenas, sadly I wasn't paying enough attention to what was under our feet! The cost of rubber may be offset by the reduced time spent watering. There is also stuff out there called Fibar/Fibrar? that claims to only need minimal maintenance, anyone heard of it?
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:37 PM  
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The barn where i ride at has wood shavings in their indoor arena.We have done some small jumps in there and it was pretty good. Hope I helped.
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Old 01-02-2005, 03:21 PM  
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Does the sand and shavings mix work for an outdoor arena? The place I am trying to buy currently is housing goats so it will be about a month before I get to ride in it anyway. It will probably be a year or so before I'll be able to get the arena covered. Here in Texas, we have about 8 months of heat and dry, and the other four months of rain, no cold weather or winter to speak of. So I need my footing not to get muddy or slippery. Any ideas?
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Old 01-03-2005, 11:14 PM  
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Not to jump this back to the top or anything but will the sand and shaving work for an outdoor arena?
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:06 AM  
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I have seen it used here. The one issue is that the shavings break down much quicker when used outside, so you would need to replace them more often. The harder the wood the shavings are made of the longer they will last though.
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Old 01-21-2005, 04:46 PM  
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I went to Midway college down in Kentucky and they used shredded fibar/tire/sand mix...something like that. that was two years ago so I can't quite remember the mix. they used this in the english barn and western. Roode and Riddle Equine hospital in kentucky uses the same thing when I went to visit the clinic, they used it in their breeding/testinf area.
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