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Removing/ Keeping Arena Sand From Collecting at Edges

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  • Removing/ Keeping Arena Sand From Collecting at Edges

    The arena at my barn was built over 4 years ago. Sand/ Limestome, not sure of the base. It also has a very BIG crown , to the point where you can see and feel it when you are riding. So natrually our sand falls to the sides. The middle of the arena is rock solid and the edges are 4" deep.

    We have a TR3 arena drag which helped somewhat, its at the point now that we HAVE to get the sand off the sides, and do our best to keep it there.

    So, anyone have any tips on pulling all our fallen sand off of the edges intially and then any dragging tips to help keep the sand in the middle?? I am visualizing not dragging around the track, but making frequent cut-ins. The TR3 is behind a John Deere with a front loader, so our manuverability is minimal. Also, the arena is 120' X 240' with 2 board PVC fencing around it.

    All tips/ tricks welcome!

  • #2
    When making a turn, even a small one, go s-l-o-w. Momentum makes the tires and the drag itself push footing to the outside.

    I don't know enough about the TR3 to know if it has or can be attached with an implement that can angle, but that would be the best thing to get the footing off the rail. If you have to, use a separate blade, which you CAN angle, to pull it off, as the first step.

    Footing also starts building up when you ride on the rail over and over, so the more you ride on the rail, the more frequently you'll have to pull footing off it.

    You don't have to ignore making a full pass along the rail - that's not what puts footing there But all non-straight lines need to be done slowly, especially with a crown like you're talking about, as that's what pushes footing.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #3
      is it better to have an arena with a crown or for it to be level with a good drainage system under it?


      • #4
        A "good drainage system" is very, very expensive.

        Whether you have a crown in the middle - sloped in all 4 directions - or some other slope system, entirely depends on where the ring is located. If it's on flat ground, then the crown in the middle is the most efficient (and economical) way to get water out of it.

        If your ring is on the side of a hill, then crowning only directs some of the water to the uphill side where it just has to come back down the hill again, so don't crown. Mine is cut into a hill, long side on the uphill and downhill sides, so my ring slopes (2* grade) from the uphill side to the downhill side, so all the water drains across the short side.

        You really do not want a truly level arena
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          My outdoor is crowned and has a 2 degree slope. The drag does not pull the footing away from the kick boards, so about once a month I use slave labor (teenagers) with rakes to go out and pull it away by hand. It takes 4 of us only about 15 minutes to do this job in a 90x160 arena. Then I drag the arena very slowly in both directions.

          About once a year, I drag the arena and then go out with a measuring stick and measure footing depth in many places. I mark the thick areas with a dot of green spray paint, and mark the thin areas with a dot of red. Then we gently shovel footing from the thick areas in to the tractor loader and move it to the thin areas. Then drag again. This is my poor man's way of leveling the arena and it works pretty well! Takes about 2-4 hours.


          • #6
            You can use the front loader bucket to pull the sand away from the rail and toward the center by dropping the bucket point at the fence and backing the tractor to the center. You could also get someone good with a rear blade to blade backwards (to keep blade from digging in) with blade angled to send sand inward.

            If the TR3 is on a 3 point hitch, it is rigid (no drop pin hitch pivot point) and will move sand outward on tight turns. I would start at one end and harrow a full width 120 foot circle, then keep making 120' circles one row in until you get to the other end. This pulls the sand inward from both sides and has no sharp turns for the TR3 drag to throw sand outward.
            Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


            • #7
              I don't know if you can aford to add more equipment, but when I ran my farm I had a 25 HP riding mower from Sears. It had a wide mower deck, but it also had a number of add-ons. One of these was a disc, one was a plow, typical garden equipment. And one was a 4 to 5 foot wide rear blade that could be set straight or at an angle. I almost didn't get this, but it turned out to be a godsend. Once a week I used the plow, set very shallow - not more than an inch or inch and a half, to loosen footing along the rail. Then I would use the blade, set at an angle, to move footing from the rail toward the center. You might want to look into getting something like this. I couldn't have kept decent footing in my dressage arena without this. You do have to do the maintenance more oten but it is really worth the effort.


              • #8
                I use the blade, set at an angle, to move footing from the rail back onto track...............followed w/ a nice dragging of ring...........


                • #9
                  Yea, I'd also opt for a rear blade set at an angle and setup off the level to pull the wayward footing back away from the edge. I actually use mine to do the same on our driveway from time to time.

                  I picked up a rusty used one a number of years back and reconditioned it to like-new.


                  • #10
                    The TR-3 company sells a blade that attaches to one side of the TR-3 to pull the footing in from the edges. I have one and it works fairly well. It does require some "precision" tractor driving, as you need to get close enough to the edge to get the built up footing, but don't want to snag it on the edging or fence around your arena. Even with this blade a small part of each corner still needs to be done by hand.

                    I completely agree that you have to pay a lot of attention to your pattern when dragging because making those sharper turns definitely causes the drag to dig in deeper.


                    • Original Poster

                      thanks everyone!

                      We experimented this weekend with the frontloader backing up towards the center of the arena. It worked fairly well, but some rows were deeper than others and it took a while to correct with the drag, but it's a start!

                      ACP - you have a PM.
                      2Foals - I saw that, it looked kind of dingy. I'll give them a call and see if the cost is right for what it is.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                        So about once a month I use slave labor (teenagers) with rakes to go out and pull it away by hand. It takes 4 of us only about 15 minutes to do this job in a 90x160 arena. Then I drag the arena very slowly in both directions.

                        About once a year, I drag the arena and then go out with a measuring stick and measure footing depth in many places. I mark the thick areas with a dot of green spray paint, and mark the thin areas with a dot of red. Then we gently shovel footing from the thick areas in to the tractor loader and move it to the thin areas. Then drag again. This is my poor man's way of leveling the arena and it works pretty well! Takes about 2-4 hours.
                        That's what I was going to say also. There is really no substitute to just getting in there and doing it by hand every now and then. I have a boy that I hire for such tasks....he's 16, stronger than me, and really wants the money.


                        • #13
                          The TR3 side blade attachment really isn't that impressive of a piece of equipment for the price. Nonetheless, it does do the job quite well. Since I don't have access to slave labor (yet, kids still too small ), spending the couple of hundred bucks on the attachment and pulling the footing in with tractor is much cheaper than paying an hourly rate for employees to shovel the arena edge manually every couple of weeks.


                          • #14
                            You might also try a York Rake set at an angle to 'pull' the sand in from the edges. I use this in both my indoor and outdoor ring about every other time I drag and it works well.


                            I would suggest seeing if your local equipment rental has one and rent it for a day or so to see how you like it. That's what I did and then bought one. You can often even buy the one from the rental place.

                            I also use the rake to drag my sacrifice paddocks in the spring to level out all the hoof prints etc and to drag the manure piles in my pastures when I mow as it attaches right to my zero turn mower and my riding mower as well as my tractor.
                            Last edited by msj; Mar. 9, 2012, 09:35 AM. Reason: added last paragraph.

                            I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.