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Why did I want a riding ring again? Or, be careful what you wish for...

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  • Why did I want a riding ring again? Or, be careful what you wish for...

    So, I was excited to commence excavation work for my arena this week. Well, now I have a MOUNTAIN of dirt in my pasture that I have no clue what to do with and a big mess of dirt around where the ring is going, that is covering a lot of my grass. They just finished the grading and hopefully will put in the french drains on Monday, base on Tuesday.

    Bad thing is, I've lost a lot of grass pasture already (ring is in a corner of my big pasture) and horses still have to go out there at night. I can't possibly have the guy spread all the dirt on my pasture or I'll have NO grass left. I'm distraught. I had NO idea I'd end up with all this leftover dirt. If I have to pay them to haul it away, I know it's going to be $$$$, it's literally TONS of dirt.

    I just put an ad on Craigslist for free fill dirt, we'll see if anyone bites. Anyone have any other suggestions for me?

    Hubby wants to spread it on the pasture, I'm like "hell no, I'd rather leave the mountain in the pasture, at least I'd still have grass." He doesn't want to do that as it looks like crap but wtf else can I do? Ugh.

    I've waited almost 3 years to get this arena in, and I'm pissed that the excavator left out this tiny detail. They never told me getting the grade right would involve digging out all of this dirt. All I know is, when they're finished, it'd better be a damn nice ring.

  • #2
    Around here, people pay for that dirt.
    Ask around, maybe some builders could help you.


    • Original Poster

      Bluey, funny thing is, I'm a VP for a homebuilder and hubby is a self employed contractor. Between the two of us, we can't even come up with anyone who'll take it for free!


      • #4
        If I were you, I would use all the dirt to build some really cool mini cross country course right in the pasture Not a real big one, but just some little "natural" obstacle that make their lives a little bit more interesting. Who know, you might find a jumper out of your pasture ornaments.

        Oh by the way, congratulation on your new ring. Bet it's lovely.


        • #5
          Originally posted by KPF View Post
          Bluey, funny thing is, I'm a VP for a homebuilder and hubby is a self employed contractor. Between the two of us, we can't even come up with anyone who'll take it for free!
          Around here, good topsoil goes for landscaping, so ask landscapers.
          If we dig clay, it goes for house pads and road/parking lot bases.

          Too bad that there you have more dirt than you can use.


          • #6
            Craigslist has become my best friend. I am sure if you list it under "farm and garden" instead of "free" someone will come and take it. I don't always look under free but I am always looking under the other for things that I really really "need".


            • #7
              KPF, where in VA are you? The rescue I volunteer at is working on getting a section of land level so they can put in an outdoor ring (instead of taking dirt out, they need to bring in dirt to build it up. )
              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


              • Original Poster

                We're in between Richmond and Charlottesville. It is clay type soil, not topsoil.

                Weighaton-- you must be like me... I check the farm section of CL daily for stuff I might "need". I'll try putting it under there as well as free if it will allow me to... good thinking.

                Hubby and I just remembered a couple of big dips in my back pasture that need filling so at least that'll take care of some of it. Also I posted it on my facebook account and another friend wants a load to re-level her stalls. So it's looking better, at least we came up with a plan for "some" of it.

                I'll be really happy when the ring is done, right now it is just a big beautiful flat spot of clay! I'll take some pics and post 'em here when its done.


                • #9
                  Yeah, we did the same thing. We filled in every divot and dip, brought a few things up to grade, carted dirt around the property and still had to pay for some of it to be trucked away. Heavy clay, not topsoil. Even we didn't want it! But it will be worth it! It will!!! My pasture has grown back great, even on the spots we just filled w/ clay (we did compost w/ old manure and overseed, and some of those areas took 2 years to look good)...but it will be worth it! You never know...Craigslist could be the answer! Good luck!


                  • #10
                    Could you use some to make a cross country type bank?

                    In one riding center, we had a whole outside course in one of our pastures.


                    • #11
                      When we built our shop we ended up with a lot of extra dirt, and we built berms to define a small "lawn" in front of the house. With some trees, shrubs and perennials it's very beautiful (IMHO) and gives us a little privacy around the house. Nice to look at in the winter, too, when everything else is just an endless expanse of snow. Can you use it for your own landscaping?


                      • #12
                        I gotta wonder, since you guys are contractors and all, where did you think the dirt from the excavation down to grade was going to go? Depending on how much they took out, but even a few inches from a ring is a lot of dirt.

                        I'm with your hubby. Use it to landscape around your ring and spread it over your pasture. Electric tape an area off so the horses won't walk all over it for the next few months and the grass will grow back up through it. That's what we did with our excavating dirt.
                        "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                        • #13
                          put under fencelines

                          spread it in a nice 2' wide strip under all your fences, where you don't want anything to grow anyway. It may seem like a mountain but just tackle it a wheelbarrow at a time and you'll get it done. Consider it your new hobby and just think of how great the muscles in your arms will look.
                          If you wait until late fall and then spread it on your fields, the dormant grass won't mind and winter rains/snows will melt it away.

                          p.s. i think you're being unfair to the contractor. that you didn't anticipate this is simply not his fault.
                          Last edited by HungarianHippo; Jul. 25, 2009, 01:39 PM. Reason: added p.s.


                          • Original Poster

                            Well, the reason I'm peeved at the contractor was that when he came to do the estimate, he was talking about scraping off just the top layer and actually said he'd have to "steal" dirt from another little hill, he said it needed to be built up. Obviously something changed in the plan once they started grading. They cut out nearly 5' in places.

                            I'm happy with what they've done so far, just mad because I didn't anticipate Mt. Dirt and having to deal with getting rid of it. Obviously we knew we'd end up with some dirt leftover that would need to be moved, but we never imagined it'd be anywhere NEAR this much.


                            • #15
                              If the contractor had to remove that much topsoil and dirt, maybe it was because when he finally began and viewed the section of the field where the arena is going, it had too much pitch. Did he put a transit on the area?

                              By cutting and filling (maybe more cutting it sounds) he was able to achieve a nice grade for the ring without too much of a cross slope. You don't want the water to rush out of there otherwise it will carry your footing and maybe even take out a portion of the base with it. A real mess I can tell you from experience!

                              Post pics when he is done, I think you will be very happy!

                              Also- maybe post a sign out front of your farm, for "clean fill". You may get some takers that way....