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View Full Version : Used bedding as arena footing???



tbryder
Aug. 16, 2011, 06:27 PM
Long story short, trainer at barn I'm boarding at is trying to improve the really bad footing in our covered arena but dumping poop on the dirt. Let me backtrack and give a little history: She's subleasing the barn from the owner of the farm were in, footing is not good (slick base, very little dirt on top) -I know I should have checked it out more before I moved in... Owner does not want to put $$ or effort into arena-won't water/drag-farm on the market at the moment. Trainer and I have offered to get fill dirt/work it to no avail.
I like the trainer, shes great with the horses but the arena....
SOOOO my question is poop really a good answer ?? It seems kind of icky when I think about it.. WWYD? Pony is happy, other than this I like the place, the damned arena is hard/slick/terrible dusty...... God I HATE boarding! Where's my powerball winnings so I can buy my own place :)
Would you move? I may be moving if it sells and she looses her lease anyway?

goodhors
Aug. 16, 2011, 07:51 PM
Poor idea. The bedding, poop itself, dries and gets turned into dust by horses going over the arena. Dust gets to be very fine particles which hang in the air. Then you riders and horses working in there are going to be breathing all that dust. Real hard on the lungs, unhealthy. Especially bad long term breathing it. Body just can't manage the dirt load in the lungs, which will cause problems and infections like pnuemonia in both of you, maybe heaves down the line. Wetting it down will make floor surface even MORE slippery, as the bedding and poop compost under the horses working.

Can trainer just buy some dirt to put in there and water it down? Maybe invest in her own small drag and machine to pull it with?

Dropping the bedding in the arena is a BAD idea.

msj
Aug. 16, 2011, 08:58 PM
goodhors is right on all counts. Local vet built his clinic on land his parents had a boarding business. One winter, the barn doors froze and they couldn't get the manure spreader out so for 1 month, yes, 1 month, they dumped all the manure in the indoor. A very dear friend was boarding there at the time so I know this is true.

Now, I don't know about you but there is NO REASON WHATSOEVER that a frozen barn door should stay frozen for more than a few hours let alone a month! :eek: Besides a safety issue if there was a fire, the health of the animals should certainly have been a concern.

Do I use that vet clinic? Not on your life! :no:

spinandslide
Aug. 17, 2011, 12:36 PM
Bad bad bad bad idea..:(

our local ag arena does this and one reason why I dont like showing there...

My BIGGEST issue is how compacted it seems to get after it's been ridden on..then it's like concrete..so they disk it and you get nice big chunks for the horse's to trip over.

Alagirl
Aug. 17, 2011, 12:49 PM
saw dust/shavings by themselves can be good.
but manure?
pass.

carolprudm
Aug. 17, 2011, 01:18 PM
UUUUGGGGGHHHHHH

Ridinwyoming
Aug. 17, 2011, 01:41 PM
Tried that in my roundpen. Slippery than snot when it got wet.

Used to board at a place where the manure was spread in the indoor - like the others said - very dusty and made the horses cough.

msj
Aug. 17, 2011, 03:28 PM
Even manure not picked up in the indoor will get dusty and make horses and riders cough. If you don't believe it, just blow your nose after you're done riding in such an arena!!! :eek:

TrakeGirl
Aug. 17, 2011, 03:34 PM
^^^ This. After blowing black snot out of my nose, not to mention watching black water run down the drain in the shower after a ride in the neighboring barn's indoor (they leased it out to us for $5/ride in the winter and their footing was shavings/manure) - I said…nooooooooo, thank you.

Somermist
Aug. 17, 2011, 03:44 PM
Even manure not picked up in the indoor will get dusty and make horses and riders cough. If you don't believe it, just blow your nose after you're done riding in such an arena!!! :eek:



:lol:Thank you for that very correct visual example!!:lol:

MunchkinsMom
Aug. 17, 2011, 10:22 PM
saw dust/shavings by themselves can be good.
but manure?
pass.

I agree! The last barn I boarded at, the footing was a mixture of sand and super fine shavings (a bit bigger than sawdust), and it was lovely, but we had to pick up any manure that our horses left in the arena, no exceptions.

Beentheredonethat
Aug. 17, 2011, 11:02 PM
We just put in well composted stall waste in the arena that gets very hard when dry and icy slick when wet. It's well composted manure and shavings. It is SO much better. The idea is to fluff it up a bit and then add sand as just sand would make it too hard. It also gets watered and dragged daily.

If you have no other choice, I would do it. Of course you want well-aged compost, not just fresh poop. I've had no issues with dust, breathing problems, or anything.

Rivermontfarm
Aug. 18, 2011, 11:44 AM
Seems like a really bad idea. I know footing is expensive, but money well spent for so many reasons. I use a product called "black sand" and it's the best stuff on earth. It can POUR rain and you can still ride on it with no slick spots. Only problem is that's it's not cheap! (but good stuff!)

katarine
Aug. 18, 2011, 11:48 AM
Terrible idea; it gets NASTY. Shavings, sure. Manure? Nope nope nope.

Composted manure isn't really manure, it's compost ;)

buck22
Aug. 18, 2011, 05:28 PM
Hmmm, really must depend on the type of footing thats already there, because my BO spreads her stall muckings in the dressage arena and jump ring, and on the half mile exercise track, and it improves the footing.

Her farm is on extremely sandy soil. It gets horribly dusty even in mildly dry conditions, it is near impossible to swamp (we just had 8" of rain in 48 hours and everything is completely rideable).

They just dump and spread stall muckings by the bucketload on a weekly basis and somehow it just vanishes into the footing and keeps the dust down. This year with all of the rain we've had, both areas are lovely lovely turf.



Even manure not picked up in the indoor will get dusty and make horses and riders cough. If you don't believe it, just blow your nose after you're done riding in such an arena!!! :eek:
I boarded at a place with an indoor for years and years, no one ever picked up manure, it was pulverized and turned into floating dust and it was just horrendous.

goodhors
Aug. 18, 2011, 07:05 PM
Hmmm, really must depend on the type of footing thats already there, because my BO spreads her stall muckings in the dressage arena and jump ring, and on the half mile exercise track, and it improves the footing.

Her farm is on extremely sandy soil. It gets horribly dusty even in mildly dry conditions, it is near impossible to swamp (we just had 8" of rain in 48 hours and everything is completely rideable).

They just dump and spread stall muckings by the bucketload on a weekly basis and somehow it just vanishes into the footing and keeps the dust down. This year with all of the rain we've had, both areas are lovely lovely turf.

Maybe the difference in being used outside with weather on sandy ground and inside with less ventilation and moisture, different dirt types.

buck22
Aug. 18, 2011, 10:18 PM
^^^ oh my! thank you! I just re-read the OP, covered arena? No, I can't imagine that being a good idea either.

I do agree a primary reason my BO's works out as well as it does is that its in the weather and sun helping it break down quickly.

oliverreed
Aug. 19, 2011, 11:54 AM
I boarded at a barn that did this when I was a kid. On my green mare, doing a fairly wide circle at the canter, she slipped on this crap and went down and landed on ME.

GingerJumper
Aug. 19, 2011, 12:10 PM
Badbadbad idea.

red mares
Aug. 19, 2011, 12:56 PM
You might try what my BO/trainer does - the clean shavings go in the indoor, banked around the wall if needed. His stalls are in the middle, so when clean shavings are needed, you take what is needed from the work way outside the stall. No bucket, wheelbarrow or other transport needed.

I agree w/ Buck, outside, manure on a track makes pretty good footing.

Ozone
Aug. 19, 2011, 01:01 PM
I cannot believe I am reading this thread of someone thinking about using horse crap as footing :confused:

Then again the barn down the road uses it as their footing... once you swarm out all the files and other bugs that have nested there and the mushrooms that have grown up you then think to self 'why would I want to board my horse here' and leave ;)

Then again, at my farm we remove the manure off the property daily.. so

to each their own.

foggybok
Aug. 21, 2011, 02:03 AM
Even manure not picked up in the indoor will get dusty and make horses and riders cough. If you don't believe it, just blow your nose after you're done riding in such an arena!!! :eek:

Yup, worked a few years in a place that spread bedding in the arenas.... being covered with black dust and blowing black snot out of your nose will stop you from ever doing it......

karlymacrae
Aug. 21, 2011, 02:12 AM
I cannot believe I am reading this thread of someone thinking about using horse crap as footing :confused:

:lol: this made me giggle for some reason!


Then again the barn down the road uses it as their footing... once you swarm out all the files and other bugs that have nested there and the mushrooms that have grown up you then think to self 'why would I want to board my horse here' and leave ;)

Then again, at my farm we remove the manure off the property daily.. so

to each their own.

Ditto. We rent a disposal bin and our manure is taken every 2 weeks. Some people wonder why we don't try to compost it.. my dad gives them a simple "NO, we want the sh*t OUTTA HERE!" besides.. what would we do with 9 horses' worth of compost plus grass clippings and weeds :confused:

goeslikestink
Aug. 21, 2011, 03:27 AM
Long story short, trainer at barn I'm boarding at is trying to improve the really bad footing in our covered arena but dumping poop on the dirt. Let me backtrack and give a little history: She's subleasing the barn from the owner of the farm were in, footing is not good (slick base, very little dirt on top) -I know I should have checked it out more before I moved in... Owner does not want to put $$ or effort into arena-won't water/drag-farm on the market at the moment. Trainer and I have offered to get fill dirt/work it to no avail.
I like the trainer, shes great with the horses but the arena....
SOOOO my question is poop really a good answer ?? It seems kind of icky when I think about it.. WWYD? Pony is happy, other than this I like the place, the damned arena is hard/slick/terrible dusty...... God I HATE boarding! Where's my powerball winnings so I can buy my own place :)
Would you move? I may be moving if it sells and she looses her lease anyway?


terrible idea opt for wood chippings as in anyone that does trees local tree surgeon groundsperosn as in landscape that trim brushes and trees

if cant afford a sand school

Wholehearted
Aug. 22, 2011, 09:54 AM
What a terrible idea, especially in an indoor arena!

FreshAir
Aug. 22, 2011, 01:18 PM
Very sorry about the footing situation. You might explain to the BO that good footing is an attribute for sales purposes, but to do it right takes some bucks. So it looks like you might not be there long anyways. Maybe you can ride outside if the footing is better out there.

cutter99
Aug. 22, 2011, 04:46 PM
Ever heard the expression "Slicker that s**t." Water it and then attempt to ride!

bayhorsegirl
Aug. 25, 2011, 10:55 AM
A good friend of mine and I taught lessons over the winter at a local barn while we were both in college. Every night we would come home with black stuff on our faces, especially around our noses and mouth. We figured it was dust from the ring, because it was very dusty and rarely watered despite our multiple protests.

Three months later we stopped by the barn on a Sunday morning and were shocked/horrified to see the stall muckers dumping manure into the indoor ring and mixing it into the footing with the ring drag. Turns out the entire ring was comprised of shavings and poop grinded down into such a fine mixture it just looked like dark sand. Which meant that yes, we came home from teaching lessons every night with poop on our faces.

We quit two weeks later.

msj
Aug. 25, 2011, 11:01 AM
A good friend of mine and I taught lessons over the winter at a local barn while we were both in college. Every night we would come home with black stuff on our faces, especially around our noses and mouth. We figured it was dust from the ring, because it was very dusty and rarely watered despite our multiple protests.

Three months later we stopped by the barn on a Sunday morning and were shocked/horrified to see the stall muckers dumping manure into the indoor ring and mixing it into the footing with the ring drag. Turns out the entire ring was comprised of shavings and poop grinded down into such a fine mixture it just looked like dark sand. Which meant that yes, we came home from teaching lessons every night with poop on our faces.

We quit two weeks later.


Now we know where the expression "Shit Faced" came from. :D

Sorry bayhorsegirl, not making fun of you either as I pointed this out earlier in the thread. :yes:

LetsGoSteady
Aug. 25, 2011, 01:25 PM
It's funny, but I read this thread and the next day asked my former BO what the footing was in her ring - it was quite nice and I'm now about to build my own. Come to find out I've been riding for the last year+ on wood chips, sand, and manure.

Now I have seen manure used almost exclusively as footing before and it wasn't pretty. Disgusting and slicker than snot when wet. But this mixture, pulverized and mixed together long ago in an outdoor ring, it was pretty nice.

I couldn't bring myself to dump a fresh wheelbarrow load in the arena though.

The Crone of Cottonmouth County
Aug. 25, 2011, 02:20 PM
My tiny mind is blown at the thought of using uncomposted crap as footing in an indoor, outdoor, or any other door. In fact, the cavalier attitude people have towards raw manure in general is astonishing to me. Don't people realize what's in that stuff? It's crap!

At my last two barns they never, ever picked up manure in the turn-outs. At the last place I got fed up and started doing it myself. They looked at me like I had 2 heads plus I got yelled at for my trouble because I was apparently overburdening the main manure pile. "But the pathogens!" I cried, "the flies!" Alas, my protests fell on deaf ears. "This is the way we've done it since the Civil War, and we're not about to change now," etc.

I now pay a dressage queen's ransom to board at a snooty joint with world-class footing in the covered arena, and I may be eating rice and beans every night but it's worth every penny. My horse glides along sweet as a nut in that stuff.

msj
Aug. 25, 2011, 03:16 PM
I now pay a dressage queen's ransom to board at a snooty joint with world-class footing in the covered arena, and I may be eating rice and beans every night but it's worth every penny. My horse glides along sweet as a nut in that stuff.

Now you probably understand why when people ask me about boarding I tell them board is $1000/month when most stables in the area charge anywhere from $350-550/month. I pick up all the manure in the 2 sacrifice paddocks daily. Usually it's about 3-4 times/day. If I see a pile there or in a turnout stall, it's picked up immediately. Manure in either the indoor or outdoor rings is immediately picked up. Stalls are cleaned a minimum of once/day and any manure or wet spots are picked up any time I'm in the barn. Trips to the barn are at dawn, 10-11 AM, 12 PM to bring the boys in from pasture in summers and feed lunch, 2 PM, 4:30-5 PM, 7:30 PM and 10 PM and any other time I'm walking the dog.

You get what you pay for usually. :) :) I'm sure your horse also appreciates his stabling. :)

The Crone of Cottonmouth County
Aug. 25, 2011, 05:18 PM
Now you probably understand why when people ask me about boarding I tell them board is $1000/month when most stables in the area charge anywhere from $350-550/month. I pick up all the manure in the 2 sacrifice paddocks daily.

That's a bargain if you ask me. My joint charges even more than you do. But once you've gone fecal-matter-free, you can't go back!

ArabDiva
Aug. 26, 2011, 12:06 AM
Wow. so much poop hate.

If you're a small farm without the resources to do professional-quality footing, COMPOSTED manure/shavings can be an economical substance for amending the footing of an OUTDOOR arena.

It works for my farmette (no boarders, just me). My arena is sand over really hard clay. Adding shavings/compost is a good way for me to get some extra 'cush', but with more grab and less depth than adding more sand. (Plus, it's free--unlike other additives I might consider. And utilizes the compost.)

Carol Ames
Aug. 26, 2011, 12:23 AM
This was done at Potomac horse center during the time I was teaching ;)there. It breaks down into horrible fine black/ brown dust which gets in the nostrils:mad:, horse and human, and covers all with dust DON'T DO IT1 I would suspect it is a health hazard.:eek:

Alagirl
Aug. 26, 2011, 09:53 AM
Wow. so much poop hate.

If you're a small farm without the resources to do professional-quality footing, COMPOSTED manure/shavings can be an economical substance for amending the footing of an OUTDOOR arena.

It works for my farmette (no boarders, just me). My arena is sand over really hard clay. Adding shavings/compost is a good way for me to get some extra 'cush', but with more grab and less depth than adding more sand. (Plus, it's free--unlike other additives I might consider. And utilizes the compost.)


it depends on the base.

But for an indoor it's not a really good idea.

buck22
Aug. 29, 2011, 07:40 AM
just chiming in again because I'm pro-poop in the right environment on the right base.

Where I board now all the riding areas are outdoor and deep sugar sand over a base of marl. Stall muckings added directly to the footing improves it mightily and keeps the dust down. Dry sand that is constantly getting a going over by horses gets terribly dusty and actually gives my horses watery eyes, the stall muckings help a good deal. Keeps the dust and grit out of my eyes too as I drive.

OTOH, a place I used to board years ago - while they did not go so far as to use stall muckings as footing - had no rules about picking up manure in the indoor or outdoor riding rings. So no one did, for decades. The result was nasty black dust in the indoor, so thick often times you could bare see a rider on the other side of the ring, and the outdoor was indeed dangerously slick when wet.

Not only was it nasty and gross, my horse ended up with heaves from breathing the dust for years (the horse's stalls were off the indoor and the dust would just roll down the aisles all day and night). And my horse's stifle issues started with a hyperextension while gaming in the outdoor, hit a slick spot. Over a decade of grief for us both from these issues. All from being too lazy to pick up manure.