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Footing "speed bumps" in arena

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  • Footing "speed bumps" in arena

    Has anyone had this problem with their sand arena? I cannot figure out why this is happening. I had the base rolled last fall (mix of sandrock and stonedust) and actually added more base then put 2+" of concrete sand on top. Before I "upgraded" my arena it was just stone dust and I didn't have this problem.

    This started happening over the winter. I thought it was the freezing/thawing pattern that was doing this to the footing material, but come spring it's still happening. It's mainly on one side and it's like a row of mini speed bumps when I drag it. It's just the sand, not the base. It does not seem to effect the horses.

    I had someone come with a box blade to remove some footing where it was deep and he smoothed these out, then not too long later they reappeared.

    Last edited by Serigraph; May. 2, 2011, 11:24 AM.

  • #2
    What are you dragging with? How do you drag?

    If it is a york rake or fixed type drag, the speed bumps
    can happen. If there is the slightest unlevelness to
    begin with, as the tractor 'climbs' the first hill, the
    drag sinks deeper into the footing then as it goes down the
    'hill', it releases footing. Each successive pass
    makes the problem worse.

    A 'floating' drag - like a piece of chain link with a chain
    hookup can help.

    The dragging pattern can make problems also. I use
    the interlocking circles moving down the arena pattern
    rather than making rows. I find the circling smooths the
    footing better.

    I spend a LOT of time dragging my arenas LOL.


    • Original Poster

      Right now I'm using 1/2 my heavy harrow drag: http://www.tractorsupply.com/3-point...-4-ft--2128626

      I took it apart b/c the footing was so deep it was getting stuck. I wonder if this is some of the issue? I also typically drag the outsides with long passes, then some circles in the middle. I'm still trying to get the footing even as possible.

      I'll try all circles next time and see what that does. Now though it seems they are in there enough that I'd need a box blade to smooth out (which I don't have)


      • #4
        Arena Footing Speed Bumps

        I took a look at the drag you are using and the problem you are having is exactly as outlined by dotneko in their post. This type of drag is highly susceptible to floating over uneven areas. Before we get to the drag however let's talk about your sand - you mentioned it is deep.

        Exactly how deep is it and what type of riding do you do in the arena? Part of the solution may lie in adjusting the depth of the footing. Take an old broom or shovel handle and mark it off by 1/4 inches or just tape a ruler to it. Walk around you arena and jab it down until it hits the base - not so hard as too damage it but hard enough to be sure you reached the bottom. If you find you are more then 1/4 inch off from place to place then you need to do some leveling. If it is over 4 inches then we need to look at getting some of it out of there - unless you are doing Cutting or Barrel Racing.

        Back to the drag -- one quick solution you might want to try is to put some weight on the drag. A couple of cinder blocks, a railroad tie, most anything that you can find will work. The added weight will keep the Tines down and may help to break up the bumps. Also try slowing up the tractor when you drive - the faster you go the more apt the harrow is to float and not dig in.


        • #5
          Any type of drag that will, or operator that will allow it to move the footing material will do this-especially if it's a small tractor and the implement is fixed in height in relation to the tractor.

          The drag gets full of footing, and every time the front end of the tractor goes up or down, so does the drag, and there go the whoops.

          The tractor needs to stay level and only the teeth of the drag should go through the footing enough to break it up, but not drag it around.

          I use a 70 hp tractor and an 8' landscape pulverizor. No one else is allowed to pull it but me. If anyone got on it and dropped it all the way down, it would turn the arena into a good motocross track section of whoops. I only put the teeth down enough to stir the footing. The teeth are mounted on a heavy I-beam. If the I-beam was dropped all the way down, it would turn into a blade.

          You want nothing that acts like a blade to touch ring footing, unless it's someone who knows what they are doing and it needs to be regraded.

          My suggestion is to get someone with a motorgrader to come smooth it back out, hoping the depth stays consistant, and not let anyone on the tractor again that doesn't know what they are doing.

          Enough damage can be done in a minute that will be almost impossible to fix with a tractor. I've seen it happen more than a few times.