View Full Version : Arena excavation

Mar. 1, 2012, 09:07 AM
There is an excavator out here for unrelated work, and got to talking to him last night about an outdoor, and he can do a 100x200 area fairly cheap for us right now because the equipment is right next door.

Problem is we won't have the money to finish it for some time - basically a couple truck loads of material (base, etc) per month until we got it totally filled packed and finished.

My concern is the fact we would have a lot of open "dirt" area for quite some time, I wonder if the weather/rain, etc. would be a huge problem as far as undoing the excavation work. They would do it with drainage in mind but rain + bare dirt never seems to mix well.

I would love to start progress on it....footing out here is miserable when it gets wet, the grass on the clay soil we have is rediculously slick. But I don't want them to dig up a huge area that will become a big mess with one good rain storm....


Mar. 1, 2012, 09:22 AM
If the base underneath the grass is clay and only clay, I'd wait. If there is some topsoil or sandy material, if the contractor slopes it appropriately, you'd probably be OK in the interim while you are adding material to make it what you ultimately want it to be.

Another consideration... if the existing material is sandy enough to get you by for a while, do you have the equipment to keep it groomed? If you don't, then again, I'd wait until you have everything you need. Sandy material can pack, and then you have a whole other set of issues.

MrBlueMoon just plowed up our arena, removing the grass and exposing the topsoil. He's a grading contractor himself, so he knew how to grade it so it would drain as best it could. It still has its bad spots, but he's diligent in keeping it groomed for us every weekend.

Hope this helps. Good luck with it!

Mar. 1, 2012, 09:44 AM
More than a few folks have gotten the sub-base done - graded, leveled, compacted, etc, and then let it sit for a season to make sure the freeze/thaw/rain cycles won't cause any puddles. If they do, they get those addressed.

You could also get the sub-base done, then add the footing you're going to use as the base, adding it as you can (but do at least get full layers down, you don't want half to have material and the other half not). Once you get enough of that base material, uncompacted, you could actually do some light riding on it, dragging religiously. Keep building up that base, because at some point, you'll want that all leveled/graded and compacted as well, when it comes time to put the top footing on.

It's going to take more than a couple of truckloads to put an even layer on a 100x200 area, so make sure you get a full layer on the whole thing each time.

Mar. 1, 2012, 10:45 AM
In the process of putting in an arena here - 180 x 90 - my understanding is that you can do the sub base AND base, then leave it at that stage to settle and go through a freeze/thaw cycle. If you need a lot of grading it could be worth it to get that part out of the way now. You can ride on the base, but I believe it packs down quickly and requires frequent dragging. It can also get very dusty.

On the subject of cost - I looked into different ways to finance this. AgCredit does offer loans for riding arenas, FYI. I didn't go that route because I was able to refinance our farm which freed up the funds. I hate the idea of financing part of it, but my horse and I aren't getting any younger.....

Mar. 2, 2012, 01:39 PM
One thing to be careful about is any local/state regulations about disturbing ground over a certain amount of square footage without proper drainage remediation, etc. How you are zoned may affect that, too. Be sure you know the rules, if there are any, because the fines can be really hefty! ($10K a day around here)