I board at small barn in PA and we really do not have a ring to ride in. We do have a very flat, level and dry grass field that a few of us are hoping to convince the BO to let us use as a ring.
Currently it is just grass and used intermittently for grazing. It is already fenced off and about 50 yds x 50 yds.
We could use it as is - with just the grass, but we are hoping to improve the footing.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to keep it decent if it is to remain just as grass? And then also, what would be some things we could do to it to improve the footing? And if you had any estimates on costs that would be great!
Someone had suggested harrowing a couple of truckloads of sand to improve it. Has anyone done that? Would you recommend that?
I am wondering the same thing about sand, so I hope you get some replies. I am designating the highest point on my property "the arena" and hoping to keep it in grass for now (I'm the only rider and it's 100 x 250 so I'm hopefull if I avoid mud days it will work).
I am in a cold climate, so my grass may be a different type (will be seeding this spring), but I'm eager to hear any tips too.
no input on the footing, but I rode at a barn for a few years with a grass arena that was used maybe once a day for an hour, tops. As long as people stayed off it when it was soft or muddy, it looked fantastic all year round.
One thing to remember is to avoid just going around the rail, or you will wear a dirt track there pretty quickly.
What is your soil and subsoil like?
When I was in central NJ we got away with riding on the grass all the time because our soil was very sandy. Ride on the grass long enough and you pretty much made your own sand arena. Same thing when we lived in coastal GA. Darn it, moved to this part of PA (north-central) and found out that it doesn't work here. There's muddy clay (not to mention rocks) that is underneath. We tried riding in our designated grass area the first year but there were more days of slippery dangerous riding than safe.
We scraped off the topsoil (a.k.a. dry mud) down to the clay (nice base!) and put in quite a few tons of bluestone screenings. It's a very very small "ring" and I'd say it ended up costing between $1000-$2000. Besides being a very small ring, the quarry is just a few miles away. For us, sand would be more expensive.
I went to a lot of trouble to install a good hard base at my farm. Then put sand on top. It was a beautiful sand arena for a while, but I don't ride enough to keep the weeds and grass away. So over the years I just let it go back to grass. When it gets thin or hard I add a mixture of compost and sand. It is fine because of the base, and I have to make myself not worry that it is not "lawn like" there are spots with grass and spots without, but the horses do fine on it even for jumping the small jumps that I do.
The main problem is that you really can't drag it. If you do, the sand gets pushed up into the grass/sand interface and its gets very uneven.