I currently drag my arena with a harrow attached to the back of an ATV. I don't drag it as often as I would like to as I have a full time job, a family, and too many horses...
My problem is that the harrow smooths out hoof prints, but it doesn't really fill in the tracks. Rather, it follows the dips in the sand instead of filling them in. I've tried to add weight to it, but that didn't really help.
Does anybody have any suggestions? Is there something else I could use with an ATV to "smooth things out?"
Attach a board to the back... or a log, 4X4, fence post... something like that. I use the same thing, a little harrow behind a 4 wheeler and I understand you can't add too much more weight for the ATV to pull. So that's what it will depend on. How much power the ATV has. You could do it 3 times.... harrow, heavy board, post, small log, whatever, then harrow again.
We just bought a box blade to do our driveway, and I'm hoping to learn the fine art of box-blading and turn my sacrifice paddock into a riding area. It's a lot more aggressive than the flexible harrow and although I don't have any ruts in the paddock (because I rarely ride in there) I do want to move some surface dirt/sand around.
Adding 100 pounds or so to the flexible harrow with the teeth "down" can help, but for permanent "ruts" the best bet is to get a big rake, rake stuff into the rut and then harrow. And don't ride 'round and 'round the edge of your arena!! My trainer yells at us if we do that--teaches the horse to be lazy and the rider to use the edge of the arena as a replacement for precise steering aids.
No, and I have a proper DR arena drag. It has teeth at the front, then a blade then pulls a sort of mat thing behind it. It follows the damn dips too, so if you have a wavy arena the tractor goes up and down and pulls the drag up and down and it looks lovely, but still has the dips and that's with a weight on the drag. I have resorted to using a shovel to take the stuff out of the high spots and drop in the low spots and then re-drag - and that is a DRAG!
I sent my DR power rake (I think was the name) back with 1 month left on the no-fault 6 month guarantee. Not only did it not help keep the arena level, if there were areas that were more compacted (like in the center of circles where there aren't as many horses and people sometimes stand to lunge), it would bring sand to that area and pack it down. Riding over it felt like a roller coaster. I eventually had to get a spade and dig up all of the footing down to the base to get it an equal consistency as the rest, and use the tractor bucket to move footing around.
When I asked about returning it, I explained the problem, and customer service wrote back saying it was not intended for arenas! I still had a brochure that showed it being used for this, but they have changed their website, I bet they had a lot of returns from finicky riders! They did take it back and process the refund efficiently, I must say.
I'm back to a home made railroad tie drag that smooths and slightly compacts. The problem I have now is deep areas to the inside of the track, about 3 feet wide Makes it hard to smoothly leave the track for a circle or do a shoulder in. I've had to rake to the center to try to fix it.
OP might have more luck filling in the track with less hand raking by using overlapping circles instead of only going parallel.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is an effective drag for under $2500 that doesn't need a 3 point hitch.
It's called the 'little red harrow', it has teeth and then a roller and it does a nice job on everything but the ruts around the side. I use a box blade made for leveling out the driveway for those. But it did cost $3,500.00
But you do have to use a tractor with a 3 point hitch for the box blade, though the Mule pulls the harrow.
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Can I use my lawntractor - 17hp - to pull a harrow in my indoor?
TSC has a sweet looking 4' chain harrow on sale now.
Footing is 2-3" of sand that is starting to need dragging.
Not so much for a track as I am the only rider, but for general evening out of the surface.
(about time after 6 years!)
I tried driving the tractor through the arena last Fall hauling a dumpcart full of compost & got bogged down.
Will the drag of sand through the harrow do the same?
Probably not. I have a 22HP lawn tractor and all I can pull is a 4' chain llink gate with a few cinder blocks tied to it. And I sometimes get stuck in the deeper spots when the footing is really dry.
Seriously, you have not dragged your ring in 6 years??? I am the only one riding in mine and I drag it about once a week!
I am 'real' tractor shopping right now since 7 years of dragging it with 'make do' equipment has about trashed my ring. As mentioned above, it sort of rides like a rollercoaster now...and needs major work.
To really get my arena level, I need to take the york rake to the ring, which involves the tractor. That is done 3-4 times a year. To maintain the ring in between, I put a couple cinderblocks on top of my chain harrow and that does a pretty good job getting into the footing.
It was $415 with shipping; they make it for 3pt hitch or ATV.
I used to use a york rake but it would drag my footing along when wet, and skip across the top when dry.
But this cuts through and drags deeply (so be sure you can go that deep). It really helps to drain/dry it quickly; we had a week of rain and my arena is already dry but my concrete barn floor is still wet on the side the rain was pounding the doors.
I drag my arena all the time. It's only 80x100 but love to do it. I also have "quick hitches" for my tractor so I literally just back up to the rake and it mounts itself -- SO worthwhile!!!
Just editing to add: it's not a rototiller, so it may not adequately groom your arena just going around once, especially if it hasn't been done in a while. After a hard rain (or the first couple of times after the snow melts) I usually drag in concentric circles one time through, then do something different -- go back and forth across the short side or do figure 8s; so you break up the pattern from the teeth. After it's been groomed a few times (assuming no pounding rains) you can drag it once around and it's fine.