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Proper base for riding arena?

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    Proper base for riding arena?

    I have heard of laying down gravel first, but screenings seems like a better option to me.

    What's the make up of your riding arena?

    #2
    A minimum of six inches of stone dust (also known as bluestone or #10 screenings) compacted to between 96% and 98%.
    Whoever said money can't buy happiness never owned a horse.

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      #3
      My all weather outdoor has a base of 6 inches of 5/8 minus compacted. The earth beneath it is good draining soil that was cleared and graded.
      The arena has been great for my rainy weather - it has frozen a few times - but no puddles with all the rain we get!

      Comment


        #4
        You should NOT use gravel unless you have a really, really compelling reason to create a solid, stable base. Most people don't live in areas like that

        What is your sub-base? That's what gravel would be, if you needed it. If it was just your base, then your footing WILL end up settling into it, and rocks surfacing in your footing - gravel cannot compact enough.

        So, back to sub-base - needs to be something that can compact like concrete. Red clay is awesome for this - finally, something it's good for LOL! Made a great base for our house too

        Your next material can vary a bit. Screenings was mentioned - great. You can also use washed sandrock, which is what I did. Either one needs to be compacted with a vibrating roller - needs to be near-concrete like.

        I think I had 6-8" (loose) compacted down to about ohhh, I forget - enough LOL. I tried about 2" of loose washed sandrock on top of that as my top footing, and for a while it worked great. But then it started getting too crunchy too fast, and I just couldn't drag every day. So, hoping the day would come later rather than sooner, it was just a few months later that I had that compacted as well, and then added my screenings.

        Doing something like that is a viable option if you're looking to spread some of the cost out a bit. Save the last 2" of loose base material to have as your top footing for a while, and drag it and ride on it. Then you can drag and level that, again, and compact it, then put the top footing on.
        ______________________________
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          #5
          After preparing the meticulously leveled area, we did 4" of inch and a quarter rock, then 4" of quarter inch minus (compacted MANY times over!), then 2 1/2" of sand.

          I'm in the rainy PNW and I can ride in my arena 365 days a year.
          __________________________________
          Flying F Sport Horses
          Horses in the NW

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            #6
            Grass

            Comment


              #7
              We have gravel but it is definitely not a conventional arena; the gravel houses drainage pipe that exits through drainage channels into the creekbed nearby. Our soil is very heavy clay that will hold water for a very long time - as in you could lose a truck in it when wet - so the gravel replaces the subbase in our case. It's deep....don't recall how deep. Then stone dust, then sand. Geotextile fabric between the clay & gravel, and again between gravel & stonedust. Drains like a sieve but it's definitely not how you would want to build it if you didn't have to!

              Comment


                #8
                We are getting ready to do ours and I spoke to 2 different arena footing companies at Horse Expo. Both recommended 3-6" compacted (rolled) stone dust.
                Epona Farm
                Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for your replies everyone. JB we do have a clay base, and most of the topsoil is gone anway, so I figured all we would need would be stone dust. mandalea I agree about the grass, but it gets very wet here sometimes, especially in the winter!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                    Thanks for your replies everyone. JB we do have a clay base,
                    LOL, when I posted I paid zero attention to who was posting I'm not surprised you have that red clay too

                    and most of the topsoil is gone anway,so I figured all we would need would be stone dust. mandalea I agree about the grass, but it gets very wet here sometimes, especially in the winter!
                    Just because the topsoil is gone doesn't mean you can just put stonedust down - not sure if that's what you meant.

                    You DO need to grade it so that it slopes 1*, preferably 2*, in at least 1 direction. 2 directions is better IF the lay of the land allows it, as you get faster drainage. But, 1 is doable - it's what mine is because of it being on the side of a hill.

                    Then, you still REALLY should vibrate roll the clay. You want it hard and impermeable as concrete - you NEED the water that makes it down there to run off, not sit, not soak in.

                    Then your base is compacted as well, like concrete again. But, it's permeable "concrete", so water will partly run off and partly drain to sub-base.

                    Then of course your top footing allows drainage straight down to the base and sub-base which will divert water to drain off in some directly.

                    What is the lay of your land like?
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by JB View Post
                      LOL, when I posted I paid zero attention to who was posting I'm not surprised you have that red clay too


                      Just because the topsoil is gone doesn't mean you can just put stonedust down - not sure if that's what you meant.

                      You DO need to grade it so that it slopes 1*, preferably 2*, in at least 1 direction. 2 directions is better IF the lay of the land allows it, as you get faster drainage. But, 1 is doable - it's what mine is because of it being on the side of a hill.

                      Then, you still REALLY should vibrate roll the clay. You want it hard and impermeable as concrete - you NEED the water that makes it down there to run off, not sit, not soak in.

                      Then your base is compacted as well, like concrete again. But, it's permeable "concrete", so water will partly run off and partly drain to sub-base.

                      Then of course your top footing allows drainage straight down to the base and sub-base which will divert water to drain off in some directly.

                      What is the lay of your land like?
                      I know we need to grade. It's kinda lumpy right now anyway.

                      I can grade it 2 degrees to the big ditch, or grade it both directions, although grading one way would be easier. I'll have to see what the contractor thinks, what is more doable.

                      This would-be arena is a flat area at the bottom of a small to medium-sized hill.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                        I know we need to grade. It's kinda lumpy right now anyway.

                        I can grade it 2 degrees to the big ditch, or grade it both directions, although grading one way would be easier. I'll have to see what the contractor thinks, what is more doable.
                        Cost is certainly an issue. Like I said, sloping 1 direction works, just takes a bit longer to drain if there's a heavy rain. Just slope it from one long side to the other, NOT from short end to short end - too far for water to drain in a reasonable amount of time

                        This would-be arena is a flat area at the bottom of a small to medium-sized hill.
                        Make sure that there are swales cut into the uphill side to divert uphill water runoff. You don't want uphill water coming down into your ring to drain in addition to the water that fell in the ring!
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I had an excavator do my ring. He leveled it, no water sits in it at all, even after a very hard rain. I put 4-6 in of stone dust, and have let it sit now for almost a year. When the economy recovers, I will add sand and Eurofelt to it. I can ride on it though now but in the summer it is too hard.

                          Having a sound excavator get it ready and level is important.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            We just put in an arena. We had a nice, basically flat, treeless area right beside our barn (a little over 100' by 200'). It was being used as a pasture, but we just took the fence down (3-wire electric) and put the sand right on top. My husband's going to put up a pipe rail with horse fencing around it. Some neighbors down the road did the same although they tilled up the soil and mixed the sand in with it. We were going to do that too, but the guy we got the sand from said he has lots of people that just put the sand right on top. So far, it is great. It will be interesting to see how it holds up.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              2 things

                              1. Clean # 57 stone (gravel) is fine... if you choke it off. that way you don't lose your expensive fines... as pointed out it does filter.. if its not choked... so if you don't have a good subbase... use gravel, if you have clay great.

                              2. Grading is not what was suggested. well it was but that was the second part. The material needs to be compacted, which with clay means at a certain optimal moisture will compact and hardned to something akin to concrete. YEAH. But grading won't do that. A vibrating roller or a big ass truck (not likely but can work) will achomplish that.

                              Op. moisture for clay can be indicated by rolling in your fingers or making a ball. (the more you can roll it into a snake like you did as a little kid the more silt it has... nasty stuff) if you can make a ball and toss it in the air about 6 inches for 2-3 times and let it hit your palm... if it breaks before it gets in the air on the first toss... no good. if it breaks on first imact... no good... if it stays put long after two or three tosses its usually just that side of wet. thats the basic... hmmm what do i think of this right here right now method. =)

                              Having your arena slightly pitched to drain will aid... if you can crown it like a road then you are fabo... I would suggest at least 2 angles, again depending on the lay of your land... 1 tends to encourage rutting as it tends to all drain to one place.... its a watershed idear right there.

                              and what the compaction to 95-98% well... debatable... usually thats reserved for roads and traffic and buildings. For an arena I would say 85 and up is good. 85% is what we use for off site areas on shopping centers... landscaped paths etc etc. Shooting for 90 I think is fine... but most people won't have a gauge to check that sort of thing so a proof roll with a truck will serve just fine!

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Asphalt as base

                                I just got a contractor to come out and give a quote on putting in an arena...I was going to post a new subject but so many knowledgeable people had just posted on arenas. The USDF Underfoot book says that crushed asphalt can be a base but not recycled. My contractor said that it is a much cheaper material than stonedust. Anybody heard of this or any ideas on it?

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by LucyMay View Post
                                  I just got a contractor to come out and give a quote on putting in an arena...I was going to post a new subject but so many knowledgeable people had just posted on arenas. The USDF Underfoot book says that crushed asphalt can be a base but not recycled. My contractor said that it is a much cheaper material than stonedust. Anybody heard of this or any ideas on it?
                                  crushed asphalt works fine... I know nothing about the USDF book, but we used crushed concrete and crushed asphalt all the time. Of course it goes through an approval process but we do use it... I actually have right here on my tiny desk an approval for a recycled/crushed concrete subbase to put under the entire 200,000 sq ft building. LOL the company that hires my company to do our work is REALLY REALLY anal about their floors, so it took a little while to get it approved. It was kind of a big deal for them for some reason.. but yes it works.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    We used pit gravel as a base on top of clay and limestone (at the recommendation of our ring builder). Then 6 months later added 3 inches of fill sand. Some rocks/gravel do work up to the surface, I pick them out by hand. I do kind of wish I'd added a layer of screenings on top of the pit gravel, but it would have upped the cost a lot. It does drain really well though and is lovely to ride on.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Digging up this old thread....

                                      Question for those that know.
                                      The base or sub-base, whatever is just under your sand, shouldn't that be perfectly flat (with the 1-2% grade) and concrete hard-compacted before sand is added?

                                      Im at that phase in construction, told the guy
                                      to stop as he wanted to add sand.

                                      Base wasnt smooth enough IMO, grade looked a little off and seemed more like a giant speed bump down the middle, after it rained I walked a horse on it and sank up to coronet bands

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        SCF01 I am not an expert but yes, your base should be flat and compacted before you add your sand. I did add sand to my ring and have never had a problem with it - mine is level all around the ring and it's been 5-6 years now. I have added more sand since.

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