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Building an outdoor ring (yes, another thread!)

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  • #21
    Originally posted by She's Pure Gold View Post
    LOL! Unfortunately he wasn't able to make it out yesterday, he will be out early next week instead. At this point in time, we don't have $20-30k to drop on this project so I'm hoping that $10k will be enough to make something "good enough" even though it wouldn't be perfect. Obviously, though, we don't want to drop money into something that will only hold up for a year or two. So, the project may have to wait a bit. We'll see- I'll update after his visit in a few days (after I pick myself up off the floor )
    Good enough isn't good if you end up having to redo it.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      Well the excavator came out tonight and I'm still standing . We don't have hard #s yet, he wants me to give him a firm description of what and how much material I want but he's thinking we can get this done somewhere in the range of $12-18k. More than we wanted to spend, but possibly doable.

      So my next question to people who have done this: What did you use for your base/sub-base and how much of it (pre-compression/rolling) did you put down? Our soil is pretty sandy beneath the surface (we're only ~20 miles from the ocean) and already drains quite well- the only time I have mud/puddles is when the ground is frozen (or not quite thawed) and we have snow melting or a lot of rain (so basically Nov-Mar); the rest of the year it drains beautifully (and we aren't in a particularly wet area to begin with). I'm thinking of just putting down stonedust and compressing it and then topping it with 2-2.5" of a sand/sawdust mix, but I'm not sure how much stonedust is required/adequate- 6"? 8"? Less? This will be packed down and rolled (and graded). Assuming we go ahead with this, I think we are going to wait until the spring so as to not rush into it and make sure we have everything planned properly (and it gives us a few more months to save $$). I definitely appreciate all the feedback so far, please keep it coming (reality checks and all! )!

      Comment


      • #23
        I have 10 inches of stonedust compacted to 5 inches. We let that sit for several months and several hard rains until we were sure that there were no low spots then added two and a half inches of VDOT A sand and 2 tons of GGT.
        Why are you adding sawdust?
        I wasn't always a Smurf
        Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

        Comment


        • #24
          ditto sawdust? that will make it very dusty - why people pick the poop out of their arena footing, same reason you should use large coarser sand also.

          Boy am I grateful for the nice arena I have in my backyard! Our neighbor did the grading au gratis, we let the base set for a few months of decent rain. added sand and got free rubber from the local park district!! It's had 16 yrs of hard use, only had to add sand once. It drains wonderfully. And it has helped our horses stay sound and made learning to really ride (my DDs) possible. And it is great for those spring time pent up energy too wet to use the pasture turnouts!!
          Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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          • #25
            With Class I sand, which I think is also called screenings or stone dust in other areas, you can leave some loose on top and actually ride on it for a year before adding your sand. I didn't do this, but a good friend did. It will compact with rain, but if you keep it dragged it will work. So you can go through a freeze/thaw cycle and watch for any drainage issues. Our base is 6" compacted, I don't know how much loose material is required for this. Also, some people mix loose base material with sand for their final footing and it can be really good footing. We have 1 1/2" of washed concrete sand and added 1/2" of crumb rubber. Start with less footing - much harder to take it away if it is too deep than to add more if it is too shallow. The sand fluffs up and our 2" has been PLENTY.

            We took advantage of a zero-interest credit card offer to pay for the footing and the arena drag. We already have a tractor, but we paid for that with a zero-interest loan through John Deere over 4 years. Of course you have to make sure you can pay it off or it can get you into trouble.

            I think a chain harrow works well for the loose base material if you decide to do it that way.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
              Starting with flat land instead of carving it out of the hill, as I did, will help a great deal. The extensive grading and construction of retaining walls for my arena probably tripled the cost. Material cost will vary so much from region to region, you will really need to seek those out locally, and having a contractor out is the first step. Make sure your contractor has experience with arenas and check out prior work. Here, we have rain to contend with from Oct through Jun so good drainage is essential, but rarely have significant snow or hard freezes, which I suspect might be more likely where you are (Massachusetts?). I don't think you could apply my cost to where you are at all, given the difference in material availability and the likely design differences.
              Emphasis mine.

              Same area as horsepoor (at least regionally...horsepoor, where are you? ).

              My trainer is renting a second facility from a super nice lady, I mean seriously I would nominate her for martyrdom if I were Catholic. This woman has gobs of money and has built a lovely facility, first class smaller barn for her horses (four rescues who do nothing and want for nothing, one horse for grandkids, and a mini), Centaur type fencing, large lovely lean-tos for trainer and I, etc etc... And an arena. Not sure why she put in the arena to begin with because she doesn't ride and I don't think it had ever been used prior to us moving out there. At least I hope not, because the footing was 6'' deep and unusable.

              She had drainage down pat; the arena had been built up and then large drains installed with concrete and rock, two built-up drives into the arena, etc etc. It was NOT a horse person who installed it, just someone who billed himself as one and charged accordingly. When we moved in, I was like "nope, not using, nope, needs to be fixed." Trainer and owner got with a local contractor who came out and put in some sort of clay/rock mixture and tamped, we watered and dragged, picked rocks, dragged some more...it was a long process, but the ring is mature and wonderful now.

              Total cost? Umm, I think she is close to or above $100k. For serious.
              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                Total cost? Umm, I think she is close to or above $100k. For serious.
                I also know of an arena that was close to that and it is total garbage. $100k did also include football stadium lights and jumps, but still. $80k for 120x240' of garbage. Not pretty.

                Comment


                • #28
                  No lights, and all the jumps minus two pair of standards are mine. But yikes. At least we can use ours!!
                  COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                  "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    The sawdust (or shavings maybe??) was recommended by a couple people to help retain moisture (after rain/watering) to reduce dust, since sand doesn't really hold water. Does anyone have any better additive suggestions? While crushed rubber would be great, it is not in the budget (particularly since we are already going over budget!). That could be an option for down the road, though.

                    The excavator we are working with has done farm work and a couple arenas before- while he is quite knowledgeable (in general) he is not a know-it-all and wants detailed feedback/requests from us and we are making a plan together, which is why I'm trying to gather as much information as possible.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                      Same area as horsepoor (at least regionally...horsepoor, where are you? ).
                      SW Washington. Same side of the state as you!

                      For OP, get the footing and arena construction manual from USDF, titled "underfoot" I think and available from USDF for cheap. It is a good basic guide and really helpful information in it, and applies whether you do dressage or other disciplines. Even though we weren't doing the actual work ourselves, it helped understand and monitor what was happening.

                      I have not seen it myself, but friend of a friend has a sawdust and sand ring here locally that I'm told is fabulous even with our rains. Wood products break down eventually, so would have to replace, but still might not be a bad option if you allow for that eventual replacement.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
                        SW Washington. Same side of the state as you!

                        For OP, get the footing and arena construction manual from USDF, titled "underfoot" I think and available from USDF for cheap. It is a good basic guide and really helpful information in it, and applies whether you do dressage or other disciplines. Even though we weren't doing the actual work ourselves, it helped understand and monitor what was happening.

                        I have not seen it myself, but friend of a friend has a sawdust and sand ring here locally that I'm told is fabulous even with our rains. Wood products break down eventually, so would have to replace, but still might not be a bad option if you allow for that eventual replacement.
                        I have seen Underfoot recommended in other threads- just ordered it. Yes, I would expect that no matter what footing we go with, it will need replenishing/replacing over time. I just want to make sure the excavating and base we use will last a long time. (How long can you expect a proper base to last??)

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/ub038.pdf

                          This is a great resource - they use a mix of sand and sawdust. The article discusses different footing options and even goes into detail about different types of sand.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            So we're still waiting for our excavator to come back out to do some measuring (leveling) and give us some firm estimates but DH and I were discussing this project again tonight and I was wondering about a possibility. Underneath the topsoil it is pretty sandy and drains well as is (we dug down with our excavator out before and dumped a bucket of water in the hole to test it- he was very pleased, several inches of water drained in a couple minutes)- what would happen- worst case scenerio and most likely scenerio- if we just dug out the top foot or so of topsoil to get rid of the dirt/mud and level it and it is indeed just a sandy base? Would that be good enough to ride on (1-2 horses/day max) if it was dragged regularly, and maybe we stay off of it after heavy rains? Would it hold up? Just wondering if that would be worth trying first before spending $$$ on materials for base/footing (that would be sand anyways). Thoughts? We are in eastern MA fwiw.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              You need to remove that top soil as a first step anyway, so you'll have the opportunity to evaluate what's under there and how acceptable it might be to ride on for awhile. If you are really lucky, it might be something that's "compactable" to an acceptable degree and that would also cut down on your material bill.

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