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Indoor Arena Footing

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  • Indoor Arena Footing

    Surprisingly I haven't found many answers to this. But what are you guys using for your indoor arenas for footing? Playground mulch? Sand? What have you found to be the best bang for your buck?

  • #2
    You don't say where you are located, and that will make a difference in what we recommend. In our area, most arenas have one of two kinds of footing: shredded cedar mulch or sand/rubber mixes.

    I've ridden/boarded/shown on both kinds and they have pluses and minuses. Shredded cedar must be of very good quality (shreds, not chips so it will mat together), spread very evenly and kept damp and rolled. You cannot really "work" a shredded cedar ring. Too deep and loose, it is a disaster, too thin and it's slick.

    Sand needs to be angular so it sticks together and doesn't roll under foot, and again, too thin it reveals the base and too deep it gets cuppy and slick. The addition of rubber or another amendment (like Eurofelt and the like) adds loft and softness.

    There are professional ring folks who post on here, who can offer better advice, but those two footings are my favorites. Both need careful maintenance and installation, as well as replacement or addition at regular intervals.

    Not sure what "playground mulch" is, but if it looks like chips, it will be wickedly slick.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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    • #3
      I think the best indoor (footing and maintenance wise) I've ever ridden in had a stone dust 'foundation' (is that the right word? I watched them set it up) that was SUPER compact and fairly deep -- followed by a layer of some sort of dirt/heavy sand and recycled rubber bits.


      It was just the right amount of give, while still firm. It is very low maintenance and holds up very well to regular (20-40+ rides a day) work.

      Maintenance includes dragging and hosing it a few times a week.
      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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      • #4
        Our arena has a stone dust base with a few inches of coal ash. It works really well. Don't know the cost as it came with the property.

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        • #5
          We have cedar wood chips in our arena.
          http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
          The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
          Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
          Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            That is what we have is the cedar. I had always heard great things about the cedar. But to give some background... about a week ago we because of all the horrid weather we had a huge water pipe burst that flooded the arena. WE have been working it to get it back and yesterday it looked great but when we rode it was still slippery on the end of the arena where the water went through. IS our footing trashed are we better off replacing it or will working it more help out to dry it out.

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            • #7
              The footing in my indoor is mason sand and rubber. It's going on 24 yrs and still good but the arena has never had a lot of use either. From 1990 to '07 it was probably used about 5 days/wk from Dec thru March for one or 2 people riding at the most. It was ALWAYS used for turnout for the same time for a couple of horses for about 20 minutes to stretch their legs on decent footing when it was muddy, frozen, ice or snow-covered in the sacrifice paddocks. From '07 to current it's only used from Dec to March for turnout for the 20 minutes for 2 horses unless it's too nasty to be outside. Then it's used about 4-5 times/day for the 2 horses for about 20 minutes or more/time.
              Sue

              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.

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              • #8
                OP, why not ask around in your area? That'll be the best bet .

                I've ridden in several arenas in our area, and I've never heard of a mulch footing. There are a couple mulch arenas in the area that are outside, and they suck (IMO). There is one that is fetlock deep or better at the slightest provocation if it gets even slightly damp. Buuuuut...two of our horses are currently being kept on mulch paddocks while some construction is being done, and it's pretty firm now that I think on it.

                Right now DH is boarding at a contractor's barn (which is AWESOME), and he has a huge indoor. I thought the footing was maybe a little deeper and stickier than what I would want for jumping, but it's actually not bad now that I've ridden a couple times in it and hauled my two over. And I think it's got quite a bit of regular ole dirt. I know the guy waters it regularly and probably works it too. I can ask him when I see him though??

                Here's what it looks like on what I consider the "firmer" side of the arena, the other side is a titch deeper/looser, because it's where the roping boxes and steer chute are located, so lots of 0-60 over there, keeps it deeper. But I rode in it and didn't have any issues, and lunged over it as well and saw nothing concerning.
                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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sloeryder View Post
                  That is what we have is the cedar. I had always heard great things about the cedar. But to give some background... about a week ago we because of all the horrid weather we had a huge water pipe burst that flooded the arena. WE have been working it to get it back and yesterday it looked great but when we rode it was still slippery on the end of the arena where the water went through. IS our footing trashed are we better off replacing it or will working it more help out to dry it out.
                  Well, wood does get slick when wet, which is why it doesn't work so well outside. I'd give it a bit more time before I completely give up on it. Might just need to dry out more and wood absorbs so much moisture, that will just take time. My worry would be what did the water do to the base? Is it just the footing that is slick, or has the base been compromised somehow...if it were mine, I wouldn't ride on it until dried out as I wouldn't want the horses' hooves tearing up the still wet base.

                  If you do have to shop for footing, as others have said, finding out what is common and liked in your area is the best bet. Too many factors such as material availability and climate and cost and riding discipline and etc. to really give a one-size-fits-all answer.

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                  • #10
                    The arena I use has a packed and rolled stone dust base, with a couple inches of coarse sand and what was rubber tires. Over time a lot of Mag Chloride has been added so it is never watered,just dragged regularly.

                    Pretty good footing.
                    Taking it day by day!

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