View Full Version : How do you feel about grass rings?

Jun. 26, 2009, 11:35 AM
Our club has an outside grass course. Some of the members think we need to get rid of it and put something else in.

I'm arguing for keeping it. First, I think it gives us an edge - how many places can you go and ride a nice outside course on grass these days? Also, we offer driving at some of our shows - it's a good surface for those classes.

You can see pictures if you go to the link in my siggie and click on the showgrounds link on the home page.

Any opinions?

Jun. 26, 2009, 11:41 AM
I LOVE grass rings when the weather is good! We ride a lot on grass in Alberta and as long as you have caulks in shod feet they are much more fun to ride in than plain, old boring sand rings! It's also good to have one to practice on, as if you go to a show on grass and your horse has never been on grass, it can feel different to them!

Keep the grass ring & tell them to stuff it!!! :lol:

Jun. 26, 2009, 11:55 AM
I hate grass rings when it rains. I much prefer a sand ring with nice drainage. I do love riding on grass though, I think it's fun. As long as I've looked through and know there are no holes :lol::yes:

Sparky Boy
Jun. 26, 2009, 11:58 AM
I LOVE a grass ring, as long as it's not too wet. Your grass course looks great!

Jun. 26, 2009, 12:02 PM
I prefer a grass ring anyday (assuming it's dry and well kept).

Jun. 26, 2009, 12:06 PM
I love riding on grass and would vote that you try and preserve yours, there are too few of them around any more, at least in my area.

Jun. 26, 2009, 12:29 PM
i hate grass rings. just not enough good conditions to make it fun.
too wet, too slippery
and too dry, way too hard.
i had a bad experience in a grass ring. horse went to jump and his hind end slipped out from under him and he fell down at the base of the jump.
sand is just so much more useable!

Jun. 26, 2009, 12:48 PM
Grass rings are wonderful when there is an additional option in case of inclement weather.

If it is your only option, it can be a royal pain to wait for weeks while the ring dries out, because the footing will stay wet longer after is has stopped raining.

That said, in good weather I will choose a grass field everytime.

I grew up riding in places that had indoors and tons of grass areas to ride and did not really do sand rings until I started riding places that did not have the space for a big grass field.

Jun. 26, 2009, 12:55 PM
I know that ring:) I think it looks great, and I remember one over in Mechanicsburg near the TPK and that was great also. Quentin had a great one that we used for the Hunter classes over fences - 3'6" divisions. Even with the Green horses, we didn't have problems and we didn't have studs either. The drainage was great, and they spent a great deal of time keeping the rings up. In VA we had lots of grass rings at the A shows as well. Warrenton, Keswick, U'ville, Rosemont. Of course this was during the dinosauer age, but we loved them. They were running outside course classes then. :lol:

I think as long as the areas are graded, drained, tiled and cared for properly they are much nicer than some of the sand/stonedust rings I've ridden in. Not every show or barn can afford perfect footing, and even when they have it, if it's not taken care of it can be hard as a highway and bad for the horses.

I have had both. At my former place I spent a great deal of money getting the tiling, base, footing and kept it dragged and taken care of, and it took lots of time, but it was a really nice arena. Now I have a large 20x60 meter grass arena. I am still very careful about keeping it up and not using it when it has been a torrential downpour for the day(s). It is tiled, and it has never been under water, and I do have other fields to ride in that I keep mowed and cared for so it's like riding on a lawn.

One of the benefits of having a grass arena is that when I go to a show where there is a perfectly level area with Perma Flex footing or great footing, it's a breeze for us, and one less thing we have to focus on. :) (the surface of my arena is level but the entire area has a bit of a slope-to me a plus that has helped us learn to balance and engage and collect more easily).

Fortunately I can take care of my arena, and fields, and don't have potholes or divots and am in an area where the grass is nice and thick and the turf is old and established. In five years I've never had to irrigate or sprinkle the arena because we've had a dry spell and it's been too hard to ride in.

We have a well-known event and CIC** in our area that has grass arenas. I've ridden in all of them. They are all grass. They were always lovely and never hard or pitted. The stadium was in a field on the side of a hill and also on grass. It's all in how you take care of the footing.

Just another opinion.

Jun. 26, 2009, 01:11 PM
I absolutely love grass rings. I would take a nice grass ring over sand any day for most months out of the year. That said, it has to be well-drained, mowed, and obviously during the rainy months a sand ring is preferable. I think it's a lot more fun to ride on grass, and of course my horses prefer it too. As long as people pay attention to the conditions it should be fine. I've had two horses' hind ends go out from underneath them while jumping courses on grass after rain, but we probably shouldn't have ridden on it while it was a little slick or put studs on. As long as riders and show organizers are cognizant of that, it probably will give riders a little chance to get out of a sand ring (*gasp*). I find it funny when people hate riding in them at all -- what about trail riding? Do you ever jump jumps outside of a sand ring? Cross country? Anything like that? Like all riding that takes place with unpredictable footing, you have to pay attention to conditions. Just takes some awareness and of course being choosey on certain days.

Jun. 26, 2009, 01:55 PM
LOVE a WELL MAINTAINED grass ring when the weather is nice and the grass is not wet or too slippery. and when there are not mud patches or holes. (hence, well maintained) i can't see the pics, but i'll give the benefit of the doubt since the rest of the pics suggest you run a nice place :) so i'll assume you have a nice grass ring. i really enjoy riding on grass when the weather is perfect and when the grass is maintained (no holes, cut to a good length, good drainage, no weird uneven spots--a slope is fine, but to have little mini hills and seriously uneven spots can be dangerous)

however, whenever there is a lot of rain the week before/days before, or the day of, i HATE HATE HATE showing on grass. i will make exceptions and suck it up, only if it looks safe enough. usually that means i'll go ahead and show if it's a very hot day (hot enough that there is almost no water left in the grass and such, i will tolerate a few muddy spots as long as they're avoidable) but if the grass is slippery? hell no! not worth the risk, to me.

that being said, i don't know what the climate of your location is. is it very rainy? very humid? or is it more of a dry heat in the summer? if it rains more than most places, i would honestly suggest that it is replaced with some other kind of footing, because grass is awful in the rain and you will not get nearly as many entries.

Jun. 26, 2009, 02:33 PM
I love grass rings/fields! That is basically all we had years ago - nothing beats an outside course and I wish they were still around! I would love to find places with true outside courses to show in - I just prefer them so much more than the small sand rings. :)

Jun. 26, 2009, 03:17 PM
I love a well done grass ring!
We have one at the farm. It isn't just a mowed area. The ground was properly prepared before it became a ring. Sand was added and mixed with the soil before the grass was planted, so it has excellent drainage and never gets muddy. It is a pain to make sure it's mowed regularly and I suppose it isn't as soft when you fall off as sand, but it's not as hot (and that's a big deal down here). It's soft enough, but not too soft for the horses.

Queen Latisha
Jun. 26, 2009, 03:20 PM
I hate grass rings, they're either wet and slick, or dry and hard~:eek:

Jun. 26, 2009, 03:33 PM
*Coming from someone who showed there 2 days ago... PLEASE keep the grass ring! My horses loved and so do I!

Maybe you can put some of the money they are proposing on spending to make a sand ring into leveling off the grass ring and reseeding that might be something to look into! That way there isn't a puddling at the gate end of the ring and it won't get as slick.

Jun. 26, 2009, 04:03 PM
*Coming from someone who showed there 2 days ago... PLEASE keep the grass ring! My horses loved and so do I!

Maybe you can put some of the money they are proposing on spending to make a sand ring into leveling off the grass ring and reseeding that might be something to look into! That way there isn't a puddling at the gate end of the ring and it won't get as slick.

I'm battling hard. I love the grass and don't understand why there's a contingent that wants to get rid of it instead of improving it.

If you aren't a member, join - and vote!

Jun. 26, 2009, 04:27 PM
I'm battling hard. I love the grass and don't understand why there's a contingent that wants to get rid of it instead of improving it.

If you aren't a member, join - and vote!

I just joined on Wednesday! I'll be sure to cast my vote.

Wizard of Oz's
Jun. 26, 2009, 08:27 PM
When well-kept and in good weather conditions, grass rings are great. The problem is that you can't count on the weather, even if it is well-kept. They get really slippery when wet, which can definately be a hazard if that is your main show ring. They also get really hard when they get dry, although you can use sprinklers to keep the ring not too dry. There is a grass ring at a local show facility in my area and since we are in a drought, their ring has become so hard and gross that half of the grass is gone and now it is like a ring made of rock with spots of grass. It's awful!! My horse threw two shoes during our first class there last month. Needless to say, I scratched from my remaining classes and will not return there again.

Wizard of Oz's
Jun. 26, 2009, 08:29 PM
I forgot to add the biggest pro for me--no dust! Dust is a big problem with sand rings for me because my horse has dust allergies, so when we come across a show facility with a nice grass ring, we go there more than other sand rings.

Jun. 26, 2009, 08:36 PM
I love a grass arena, as long as it can be maintained properly. It is a tough task to keep it in good condition...However, with a good soil base, and as long as it can handle the horse traffic, bear the weight of horses jumping over the same areas, and it drains well, it's well worth keeping.

The area of the country you are in plays a part in the decision too....

Jun. 26, 2009, 10:23 PM
My one Tb is faster on the grass. He seems to need the drag of the sand to slow his pace. I think he is a bit to fit!

Other than that I love them. As long as the footing is good.

Jun. 27, 2009, 11:42 AM
I personally love, love, love them and seek out the few horse shows that still have them (FCHC, Hampton Classic . . .). But they're definitely going out of style. I'm always shocked by how many people complain about grass footing.

I'd say that if you're able to maintain it properly and there are other riding options for the muddy day, you should keep it. It's something special that will make your facility stand out.