Keeping your horseback riding arena maintained is essential to prevent costly problems in the future. A regular routine can keep the surface level comfortable for your horses and properly drained at all times. You take the time to care for your horses by grooming, feeding and brushing them. It’s just as important to care for the surfaces they walk on. Here are some ways to keep your horse arena in tip-top shape so you can continue to enjoy riding your favorite horse arena.
Before you begin to groom your arena, make sure you’ve cleaned up any equipment. Place poles from the horse jump back in the pole bracket caddy on your fence, remove any extra gear like saddles and bridles, and get rid of any trash. Choose a grooming pattern that is different from the previous pattern. Avoid compaction and mix the sand and additives well.
Extra attention should be focused on high-traffic areas, such as the entryways, exits and tracks. Your arena has unique needs for how often it needs to be groomed. It depends on the weather, how often it’s used and the type of surface you have.
2. Blend Sand and Additives
A blend of sand and additives is crucial for maintaining a stable and safe surface for horses to maintain footing in the arena. Any movements send vibrations through the layers of the mix, which can lead to instability on the top parts and compaction on the bottom areas. Regular grooming keeps everything blended so the additives can continue to enhance the sand.
Watering the arena is a critical step in the maintenance of an arena. Water keeps the dust levels lower, binds the sand and additives together, and stabilizes the surface. The watering schedule depends on the type of footing surface, the climate, the traffic, the watering system and whether your arena is indoors or outside.
It’s important to prevent the footing from drying out completely to avoid fibers from sitting on top of the sand. If that happens, water and groom to mix everything back into the sand. Check the drainage often to make sure the surface doesn’t stay too wet.
Once you’ve figured out your maintenance basics, it’s time to create a schedule. Grooming and watering typically happen daily, along with the removal of organic matter. Weekly deep conditioning can be done in hard-to-reach or high-traffic areas and yearly flipping of the surface can preserve your arena for years.