View Full Version : Fiber mix for outdoor footing?

Jul. 29, 2011, 07:49 AM
I am currently constructing my dream outdoor. It is a regulation dressage arena and will be used almost exclusively for dressage work with the occasional playing over small jumps to keep the horses fresh. I have been working with a footing additive company and my footing options are:
2" sand plus 0.5" rubber
2" sand plus 0.5" rubber/fiber mixture

I had planned on doing the rubber/fiber mix as I love the support that the fiber gives and the cushion from the rubber, but after talking more with the rep, she says it can be difficult to keep the fiber incorporated as it floats to the top after a rainfall. She recommended a harrow that is over $2k, and after dumping nearly $40k into the arena, I'd prefer not to have to make a purchase like that. I have a chain harrow that I had planned to drag the arena with, pulled behind my ATV.

So COTHers, does anyone have any experience with a fiber additive in an outdoor? How well does it stay incorporated? And do you really need a big fancy drag to "fluff" it? Am I better off just doing sand/rubber for an outdoor? I have only seen the fiber additive in indoors (and love it) but am wondering how it does "in the elements." Any wisdom/experiences would be greatly appreciated!

Jul. 29, 2011, 11:15 AM
Once I get my base draining correctly I'm going with a mix of GGT and sand.

I got a sample of rubber chips and they float. They would be great in an indoor but I'm afraid they would float away in a storm

Jul. 30, 2011, 09:56 AM
carolprudm: what is GGT? I'm about to resurface my dressage arena and looking for better footing.


Aug. 1, 2011, 11:57 AM

Aug. 4, 2011, 08:52 PM
Carol: What do you plan to maintain the GGT footing with? This is similar to what I am looking at but I have been warned that a normal harrow will not maintain this type of footing well and I have to consider the cost of the expensive "fluffing" type of harrow in the cost of the footing.

Aug. 5, 2011, 11:27 PM
Hubby uses the Parma Arena Groomer both to install GGT (he's the Arena Rehab Specialist (http://www.Arena-Rehab.com))

and to maintain footings. Perfect machine, not at all as expensive as some, rugged, easy to use, ADJUSTABLE for different jobs. A chain harrow will merely redistribute your footing (and the fiber as well) and will drag a good bit of it out the gate each time you use it.

Yes, rubber floats, as do most of the soft and lightweight polypropylene fibers (look like shreds of poly rope chopped short and separated?) and yes in an outdoor they WILL float off. Mr. AdAblurr quit installing rubber, wood products and lesser fiber stuff a long time ago - he found the GGT material and has never looked back.

Feel free to PM for more detail if you care to!

Aug. 6, 2011, 02:29 AM
The fiber will blow away - we have sand/rubber/fiber (nike footing) in our outdoor and there's barely any fiber left. It's beautiful footing when first done, but you need to keep adding fiber as it blows away.

As for the harrow, we use a chain harrow upside down (so it's just the bolts dragging it flat, not churning it up) and it works fine. If your footing specialist suggested a 2k harrow and you're already spending 40k on the ring (ours cost about the same, but we didn't build it - the previous owners did) I'd just get the harrow!!

Aug. 6, 2011, 08:20 AM
I got a quote from GGT yesterday and was very pleasantly surprised that it is in my price range! I already have the chain harrow but have been told by multiple people that I will need the Parma Groomer or the special GGT Groomer. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do the GGT now that I've heard that the regular fibers will float/blow away, but I'm very concerned about the drag as I'm not sure the expensive groomer will be in the budget after spending so much to install the arena. Has anyone been successful at altering a normal chain harrow to make it work well? My husband is an engineer and can weld- anyone else try to do something like this?

Aug. 6, 2011, 12:28 PM
The Nike Airfoot fiber footing (Footings Unlimited) is totally different than GGT. The advantage of GGT iis that it will hold more moisture (one source I talked to said, in a dry climate, up to a week between waterings), but still have enough structural strength in the sand to support hooves when the arena is soaked, assuming good base drainage. The Nike will not hold near the water, so dries out quicker and does sift to the surface and blow away when the footing is not kept wet enough. GGT would also sift to the surface and blow away if an outdoor arena was allowed to dry out and then be ridden on, but that would take more drying time. The Nike, in combination with MagCl, does work very well in an indoor dressage arena for one of my consulting clients.

While I am a big fan of small crumb rubber in an outdoor arena, if you are going to use any fiber at all, you need to use enough so that it will hold max moisture and stay down in the sand. This also means having a groomer that can remix the fiber down to the footing base. Seems defeating to me to spend $20-40K on an arena and not spend a small percentage more to have a quality groomer.