• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

How to deal with arena base problems? *UPDATE* now what??

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How to deal with arena base problems? *UPDATE* now what??

    I'm having some issues with my outdoor arena and am frustrated. I had the thing built almost 4 years ago and it has been usable, but not trouble free. Right now I am worried because with the unbelievable amount of rain we've had in VA this spring I am experiencing spots where hooves are punching into the clay subbase in one area (not the whole ring, but still). There is no standing water in the ring ever, so it's not like this is happening in puddles.

    A bit of background: it is 100x200, clay subbase with 4" rolled bluestone on top, originally 2" of loose bluestone over that but I ultimately had that rolled also and added 1+ inch of angular sand on top. It has a 1" crown and is bordered by railroad ties. The first year I had some issues with drainage and the contractor came back out and worked on it. After 2 years I added the sand, and last year it held up very well, but this year I am having these base problems. I use a chain drag with a tractor to drag.

    From the beginning the western 1/3 of the ring has always been slower to dry out, holds more water in the footing. The contractor told me that he now thinks there is a wet weather spring underneath it, but I'm not sure I believe him. Now that I have sand on it I know that a repair is going to be much harder, but how would you guys suggest I go about fixing this thing, and can anyone recommend a good ring contractor who services Loudoun County?

    This is a private ring, so it does not get heavy use. I am careful about waiting to ride or drag after a rain - I don't think it should be too much to ask for the base to hold up.
    Last edited by hoser1; May. 11, 2011, 04:09 PM.
    Second Fiddle Farm

  • #2
    No real suggestions, but I kept my horses at a place in Clifton that had a lovely ring ... built during a drought ... then a rainy period came. They had a wet-weather spring underneath half the arena. When the water table rose, the spring came in contact with the sub-base and the horses did start punching through the bluestone footing into the base. It was not good.

    The solution their builder recommended was to build a pond near the arean, build a drain system and draw the water from the underground spring into the pond. As I recall, that was a costly and labor-intensive project and they opted not to go through with it at that time. Not sure what may have happened since.

    Not sure if that is any help at all, but the idea of having a spring under there that isn't apparent all the time is not an off-the-wall suggestion. Hope you can work it out!
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus

    Comment


    • #3
      Major bummer. Did the contractor test compaction rates when the base was built? It should be compacted to 95%+ at bare minimum; you can have someone check compaction rates on it after the fact. An improperly compacted base can be the source of your drainage issues. Lack of enough slope is another thought. I went with a nearly 2% slope in mine to speed drainage, but 1% is standard for a dressage arena.

      Was geotextile cloth installed under the base?

      An acquaintance had an arena built that had poor drainage, and it did turn out that there was an unknown spring underneath. Something to consider. You'd probably have to bring in a soil engineer to look at that.

      Also, if you drag it and "slick it off" ie drag something smooth and firm over it to seal off the sand footing into a smooth surface prior to a rain, it will supposedly shed water better. Basically you don't want to do you "fluff" drag prior to heavy rain.

      When I built our arena, I did tons of research and found that the stories of failed and very expensive arenas were many. Of those failed arenas, several were due to improper compaction of the base. My neighbor wound up doing something called cement-treating her base as a fix.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ditto Watermark. I too did tons of research before doing my arena. I couldn't afford to have to do it over later!!

        I used to live in VA so I know the clay you are dealing with. Sticky. The clay here in OK is different--rock hard.

        Here are cheaper things to check before you get into lots of money.
        Recheck the slope/crown on the arena. When we had ours done, by a professional, we told them want we wanted. SO has done alot of dirt work in his life but felt for time sake it would easier to leave to an actual "pro". Big mistake!! He had staked it out, did all the transit work (I get to hold the rod. lucky me), etc. When the guys started digging it looked like they were taking alot more down than he had figured. Asked them about it but swore that what their lasar level/transit said. So we went with it. When the footers were poured (indoor) and we had the next rain we had a lovely swimming pool, sloping to the end SO had felt was being dug too deep. He rented a dozer and spent 3 weeks fixing it. Moved a s-load of dirt!!
        So moral to that story--double, triple, quadruple check the grade, esp now that there is a problem. Plus it may have "settled".

        Was the grade also checked after the blue stone was compacted? Was the blue stone wet down before it was compacted? A 6" base may not be enough, esp now with the wet season.

        We wound up putting french drains in around outdoor portion of ours (you have to see it to understand what I mean) even though we had the recommended drop. The edges don't seem to compact as well as the center. Esp with railroad ties as a boarder. That is what we have. Found that between the lesser compaction and the RRT holding water, we got wet at the edges. The french drains fixed it.

        When compacted, it should be as hard as asphalt. When the trucks came in to dump our footing SO was so worried they would hurt the base. My answer: if they do, we need to re-do the base!!

        Be sure your drag is not getting down to the base. With chain drag this shouldn't be a problem but check.

        If all that checks out it is, unfortunately, time to get experts in.

        Good luck, cuz that really sucks.

        Comment


        • #5
          such construction would not have held up even a year in our wet PNW climate. 4 inches of rolled stone over clay would have us p[unching through in weeks after the fall rains started.
          Here we usually do 6 inches of drain rock, 4 inches of road base, with or without geotextile fabric, then either 3 inches of sand or bark chip for footings. We also, if we wanted to ride in the winter, would have put a curtain drain around the entire perimeter, buried 18-24 inches deep in drain rock.

          One local riding stable which did not include the curtain drains, and had only 4-6 inches of road base on top of clay, then 3 inches of bark chips- ended up tearing up their entire arena after 6 months for the same problem. They spent an additional $10K to fix the original arena, retrofitting the drains and putting in proper drainrock base.
          "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks, guys, for the advice. CH, I think I remember when you were at that farm - that is a scary story, those poor people! I don't think my arena is nearly that problematic...in fact I had no trouble with it all year last year. It has just been since the extreme rains this spring that it has been actually going into clay in the one area.

            As for checking the crown, I did ask him to when he compacted the bluestone for the second time and I assume he did, but maybe I should have been more insistent. I do not believe he watered it when the arena was originally built. My thought from the beginning was that the base was either not thick enough or not compacted enough, just because of the little troubles it has given me here and there. I am sure I will be getting the experts to look at it, just can't afford a huge repair right now. I think it's time for a second opinion though - I like the contractor alright but I just don't think he is doing a good job fixing the work. It IS a major bummer.
            Second Fiddle Farm

            Comment


            • #7
              I can't imagine going to that expense and not putting landscape cloth down before anything - otherwise, its only a matter of time before the dirt/mud/clay works up into the base you put down. Shame.

              Also, french drains are a no brainer.
              Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

              Comment


              • #8
                A few hundred bucks to get an expert opinion or a hydrologist from a local college might be a good investment of peace of mind.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm going to forward this thread to my BM, she is having BIG problems with her ring!

                  I was planning to post a separate thread on this, but here is HER problem (might be similar to what's happening with the OP's ring.) The ring in question has been footed and re-footed several times over the past 6 years or so, the most recent time they removed ALL of the old footing, and have put down a bluestone base (over clay, I believe), but I'm not sure how MUCH they compacted it. (I am just a boarder there.) They added river sand to top it off, and the footing has been TOO DEEP ever since, barely rideable. The horse's hooves just sink all the way in, all the way to the bluestone. They have taken a BUNCH of the sand away, and now the edges of the ring are too hard and the footing too shallow, while the middle remains too deep (and is holding moisture.) My BM says there are now only about 3 inches of sand over the bluestone. They keep working and re-working it (and dragging it), but to no avail. We have gotten a lot of rain recently (and this is also in Loudoun County), but I doubt there is a spring running under this ring because it has tended to get pretty hard and dry in the past, when it was differently footed.

                  Any suggestions for her? Sorry to hijack, OP, but my poor BM is kind of at her wit's end, here! Maybe some of these suggestions (and the wisdom of the board)can help both you and her...
                  "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                  "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Dr Dolittle, inconsistent footing depth sounds like a big part of your problem. It's pretty amazing how fast you can get too deep and how too deep or too shallow changes the way the arena rides. For dressage 2-3" of footing is standard, 3-4" for jumping. (Ours is 3").

                    Getting the material level is really important. To start, get a contractor in there (a really good one) with a laser-guided blade or some other way of leveling the material to a uniform depth.

                    Our arena footing was leveled in this way, but every 6 months I drag the arena and then go out there and use a yardstick to measure footing depth in various areas of the area, since footing shifts with rain and horses rolling. I use spray paint to mark the thin and thick areas (a different color for each) and then get several teenagers to help me shovel footing from the thick areas into the tractor bucket and transport to the thin areas. Then drag the arena again and check levels again. And fix some more areas. Takes a day but it's cheaper than hiring the laser grader to come in!

                    I also hand-rake the rail frequently to keep footing moving around in that area. My drag doesn't pull the footing away from the kick board. Good luck

                    PS: This is a WONDERFUL article from University of Pennsylvania that deals with arena footing and how it functions. Really explains what you are after and how to troubleshoot. http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/ub038.pdf

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks much, Watermark Farm! Will forward your response (along with the thread) to my beleaguered BM. The poor bastard who has been working this ring, over and over, was out there again today, trying to level it by hand Oy!

                      We have teenagers (mostly my students) at the barn, but their time is so crunched that I doubt they would be able to spend hours helping out with that, unfortunately!

                      I'll click on the site you linked to (and will of course recommend checking it out to my BM...)
                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It is a clay base? Those cannot be ridden on when very wet. Clay absorbs water if exposure is prolonged, even after compacting, unless a polymer is added to the clay. Just have to wait it out until the base dries, as a trade off for the lower cost to build it.
                        Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                        www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I suspect the cause of all your headaches is the clay base. Most arenas I have seen have been done with a coarse gravel sand base, then the compacted stone dust goes over that. Any moisture will go through the compacted stone dust and drain into and through the gravel. The finish sand/rubber/ felt or product of choice goes on top of the compacted stone dust. Wood chips/bark seem to turn slippery after awhile.
                          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            this
                            Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I am not familiar with the weather in Virginia but where I live in Washington State there is no way that we could ever ride in my trainers outdoor pen until the rains were over for quite sometime. If we are out there by June we are lucky. Riding in it any earlier would trash it!!!!
                              RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                              May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                              RIP San Lena Peppy
                              May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                                My neighbor wound up doing something called cement-treating her base as a fix.
                                Never heard of this, can you give details?

                                Would this be in place of geotextile fabric application?

                                Getting ready to try to fix a bad ring job done by a so called "pro" and can use all the info i can get my hands on.
                                Last edited by KnKShowmom; May. 12, 2011, 12:57 PM. Reason: edit

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KnKShowmom View Post
                                  Never heard of this, can you give details?

                                  Would this be in place of geotextile fabric application?

                                  Getting ready to try to fix a bad ring job done by a so called "pro" and can use all the info i can get my hands on.
                                  That may be what I did in my ring a few years ago. Had a guy till in powdered portland cement into the clay/sandy base and then compact (just with the dozer - not a compacting roller). it made it nice and hard - lasted for about 5 years, and may have lasted longer, but over time the base settled and I had many low spots, so am now in the process of redoing the entire thing.
                                  Donerail Farm
                                  www.donerailfarm.com
                                  http://donerailfarm.wordpress.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Arena Base Problems

                                    The first issue you need to deal with is the clay. Ideally, budget permitting,you would put a GeoTextile Fabric over the clay and then add 4-6 inches of compacted stone dust over that. Both the native clay surface and the stone dust should be compacted to 95%. To make that happen the contractor needs a 10 Ton Roller. Do not buy into the story that he has a 3 ton and will go over it 4 times -- that is not how compaction works.

                                    That is the ideal - now let's talk about some possible ways to fix your arena without ripping everything out and starting over ( which budget permitting is not a bad idea). If your arena only has problems in certain areas you can do something simple like buy a pallet of Mortar Mix at the local Loew's or Home Depot. You can use that to patch the troubled areas much like you see asphalt being used to patch potholes on the highway,.

                                    I would dig out the effected areas to a depth of 3 inches and dump the Mortar Mix in it. In addition to setting up as a patch the lime will react with the clay to form a bond. Lime Stabilization of clay is a time tested procedure but it has to be done right. For additional information you can visit: http://www.lime.org/uses_of_lime/construction/soil.asp.

                                    I would not recommend you do that in your area because I doubt there is a contractor with sufficient experience to pull it off. The procedure is much more prevalent in the Western State where stone dust is not available. I would stick with just using the Mortar Mix for patches.

                                    Another option is to put a GeoTextile Fabric down over the clay and dump 3 inches of fine sand on that. It is not an ideal situation since you will occasionally punch through and once you rip the fabric the danger of a catastrophic trip goes way up.

                                    Bottom line clay never makes an ideal Base. No matter how hard you think it is it will loosen in you climate. What you need to be particularly careful about now is getting too much of the sand mixed in with the clay. Once that sand enters the clay it is going to make it very hard to compact again.

                                    Life with a clay base means you need to baby your arena. Stay off it after a rain - be sure the clay below is dry before you start riding. Keep it level and consistent so the hoof has enough footing below it to stay up. Look for a dense sand or a mixture of sand and stone dust for the surface.

                                    Additives can help keep the hoof up as well but I would be hesitant to go to the expense of putting them in this type of arena. If you can afford the additives then fix the base! You can always amend the top later.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      not to hijack the OP's thread, but arenadoctor...what about when all you have is sand.....until you get to water! Coastal Carolina here, we have no bottom. Any help for that??
                                      "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                                      carolprudm

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Ditto on arenadoctor. I'm no footing professional, but have dealt with a lot of rings over clay (adobe) bases. Typical protocol is at least 12" of decomposed granite (which packs to half that), watered and rolled and compacted, and then sand. And you still stay off of it for a few days after it rains (see assorted threads on why California barns close their rings after a rain).

                                        I have seen chunks of adobe rise to the surface in arenas, up through the sand.

                                        A friend fixed hers in places by digging down, re-adding base, compacting it, and using some sort of fabric. Not sure if the fabric was between the adobe and the base or elsewhere?
                                        The Evil Chem Prof

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X