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Fixing arena footing -- deep on short sides/corners

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  • Fixing arena footing -- deep on short sides/corners

    I'm at a small private barn with a ring that's a bit bigger than a small dressage arena. (I'm terrible with eyeballing measurements but it's at least 20m across, that much I know.)

    It's sand footing, no rocks, and is quite good when it's the right depth -- usually on the long sides and in the middle. I've noticed that it tends to get deep on the short sides and especially in the corners, and I want to try and fix this so it's a bit more even all around.

    We have a chain-linky type regular arena drag (I don't know the exact terminology). I'm wondering if the way I drag the ring is the reason why it's deep -- I usually go counter-clockwise (on the left rein ) up the side, down the middle, then up the same side but in closer to the center, then down the next "long" middle, etc.

    Any suggestions? Should I try and rake the deeper footing toward the center of the ring, then drag it again? Or do I need to drag it in a different method? Thanks!
    Road to the T3D
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

  • #2
    There are two things that work.

    The first relies on manually lifting the drag so that its end is flat against the short side wall, then pulling forward. The same technique works in the corners.

    The second is to manually with a pitch-fork go into the corners and hurl the footing well toward the center and then do the same with the ends.

    Either way is hard work.. Best done frequently depending on the amount of area use. Even better if done with teenaged muscle.
    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.


    • #3
      How frequently is this arena watered or irrigated? I have the same problem with my arena and I've found that watering it helps.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Prime Time Rider View Post
        How frequently is this arena watered or irrigated? I have the same problem with my arena and I've found that watering it helps.
        Every time it rains.
        Road to the T3D
        fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
        skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk


        • #5
          I'll use the tractor bucket to pull it out of the corners than drag and water.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparky Boy View Post
            I'll use the tractor bucket to pull it out of the corners than drag and water.
            Ditto this, and do it by setting the point of the bucket in the corner and backing up while dragging.

            You might also be piling the sand on the short side/corners when you do the short turns with your drag - you are moving it sideways. For a long skinny arena, better to start a circle at one end and do adjacent circles until you get to the other end, so no very short radius turns. This is really important it anyone has a fixed drag, like a TR3, which does fling footing sideways on turns.
            Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


            • Original Poster

              Yes, I've definitely noticed the "flinging" effect from this drag -- also could be my rudimentary tractor handling skillz. Using the bucket seems like a much better idea than attempting to throw my back out by raking it.

              I think we have one of those fixed claw-like drags in the back of the barn somewhere... I'm wondering if using that to drag footing towards the center might help as well.
              Road to the T3D
              fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
              skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk