View Full Version : Footing fiasco at boarding barn--please help! (long)

T-storm chick
May. 1, 2010, 07:08 PM
Hey guys! I need some opinions/advice/ideas to solve a footing fiasco in the arena/round pen at my boarding barn. Nice facility with decent basic care for my two horses. Barn is owned by a golf and country club/resort and primarily offers trail rides to onsite hotel guests. They also offer boarding to country club members. Manager of facility is a PGA pro who knows nothing about horses. Supervisor is OK horse guy, but sometimes seems like he would rather work on the tractor than anything else. Currently, there is one other boarder besides myself (she has a fine boned 15.1hh QH mare). I have a 7 y.o. well broke but green jumper gelding and a semi-retired 21 y.o. gelding who I don't ride much. Both of these are 16.3 Warmblood crosses in the 1300/1400 lb range (bigger guys.)
Here's the thing--when I moved to this barn, the arena was filled with deep, loose sand--about 7-8 inches deep all over, and the round pen was deeper than that. The barn had been run by vendors for the last 5 years and was just taken over again by the golf and country club, and I was told the arena was top of the list to fix. OK. I have not pressed the issue because last fall I had to cope with strangles and could not really ride--and this winter was, well, this winter. With some labor issues at the barn no one had time to plow out the arena and I was OK with that.
NOW--they have removed some of the sand from the arena. It is still, on average, 4-5 inches deep all over. DH talked to the manager the today because they started this process two weeks ago and asked how much longer until it is done? His reply was it WAS almost done--some county extension agent told him 4 inches deep would be fine, and they want it to be a multi-discipline, multi-use arena. (I had asked for it to be taken down to 2 1/2 inches and we could go from there.) Also, the other boarder complained and said it was FINE THE WAY IT WAS!!!!! (ARRGG:mad:) When I left the barn today she was happily lounging/riding the poor little mare in the ROUND PEN which has not been touched and is WORSE THAN THE ARENA (easily 8 inches deep in most places).
I do not want to be a PITA boarder, but the first paragraph in the twelve page boarding agreement says they will not be responsible for any injury. I think this is a blown suspensory waiting to happen. I am nowhere near jumping grand prix fences--I am going to be trotting rails and jumping a lot of grids, etc--but I know what my vet already said about it, and I think its still too deep. The problem is the PGA golf pro manager is getting differing advice from different places and doesn't know who to listen to.
I know my vet will weigh in. She refers a lot of people to the VA Tech vet school and can probably come up with an independent source for me to use from there. I have the University of PA's article on footing and I can get the USDF footing guide. Does anyone else have any ideas for sources of info I can use to get them to reconsider this depth of footing? Do I need to be worried about 4 inches deep? Can any multi-discipline/Western riders help me out with why it needs to be deeper than 2 1/2 inches? (The other boarder basically rides W/T/C western pleasure.) I have already told them if it doesn't change I'll have to move--but I really have NO CLUE where I would go. I would really rather fix the situation where I am! Any help is appreciated and TIA! (especially if you stuck it out and read the whole post:))

May. 1, 2010, 08:37 PM
Maybe the issue isn't whether it needs to be deep or shallow (2.5 inches seems way too shallow to me, you'll be going into the base easily at that depth) but whether it needs to be compacted/not so loose.

T-storm chick
May. 1, 2010, 09:20 PM
Compacting it might be a possibility--something I can ask the vets about. This is straight sand made up of a decent mix of round/angular particles, though, and it DOESN'T seem to compact on its own much at all. (Maybe they drag it too much?) All the articles/opinions I've been able to get so far are in the 2.5-3 inch range (for sand, that's what the Penn State article says). My vet, who has looked at it, said in her opinion, the footing should not cup at all.
The management does maintain a golf course at this place, so I would imagine there's a roller around there somewhere. If anyone has any more ideas where to look for good info, please share! The arena's still like riding on the fluffy part of a beach that never gets wet, and the round pen is like quicksand.