• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Footing That Doesn't Freeze Easily

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Footing That Doesn't Freeze Easily

    I am located in central PA and have sand in my outdoor ring that freezes solid even with the slightest cold. The sand was a naturally occurring white sand that I got when they did the escavating for our local YMCA building. There was a vein of this perfect white sand with hardley a rock in it...but I don't know the actual name of the type of sand.

    Are there any suggestions as to what I could add to this sand to keep it from freezing so easily? I thought about black rubber to break it up a bit and hopefully the black would absorb the sunlight and help a little.

    Anyone have experience with this mixture? What temps did you think it froze at? I dont think I would add much rubber as I have heard that it's not good to use a lot.

    Thank you so much for your help! I am desperate. I can't build an indoor at this point. Maybe in a coulple years....

  • #2
    I'm in PA as well. My footing is dark grey and almost black when wet so the sun helps me a lot.

    BUT, I still add either rock salt or calciun chloride and drag it in. I keep it dragged and I can ride all winter and even jump it's stays that soft. I haven't had any leg or foot reactions from this AT ALL.

    Good luck it can be done.


    • Original Poster

      How about other people? Has anyone else used the Calcium Chloride or rock salt? Advantages/disadvantages? Is it safe? Where can you find these two chemicals?


      • #4
        Im in TN, so not as cold as you, but I had a trainer a long time ago who had sand mixed with rubber and hers never froze.. Back then we actually got some snow too! She just kept it dragged and it was fine all winter
        ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
        R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor


        • #5
          Question for QM2 if you see this... or anyone...
          If you add the rock salt/calcium chloride to the riding ring and it seeps out with a good rain, does it hurt the grass/vegetation around the ring? I'm asking because my ring will be (when we build it this spring) situated on a higher part of the property and any runoff would end up in the large pasture. I'm thinking of running landscaping fabric and/or boards along the bottom of the low part of the ring where it will drop off to contain the sand/screenings so this might be a moot point anyway. Hopefully I won't get runoff.


          • #6
            I would be concerned about that, unless you ring the, ehr, ring, with pvcdrain pipes (with holes in them) and drain the run off into a proper sewer. Which could get overwhelmed in a flash storm, and yes, the salt would injure the grass, and I wouldn't want horses grazing right there, if there was Calcium Chloride on or around the grass they were eating.

            Also, check with the State, for example, here in CT you are very restricted as to what you can have dumping even into the road sewers, because everything drains to Long Island Sound. Most substances leech clean if allowed to leach through soil, but can be bad pollutants run directly into the sewers. Here in CT they have stopped using Calcium Chloride or rock salt on the roads and use something else, I think, so I if I was doing that here, I would check with my town regarding wetlands and runnoff and such.
            Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


            • #7
              I look for magnesium chloride. If I remember correctly, it's easier on animals' feet than calcium chloride. that's about as much as I know, however.


              • Original Poster

                I talked with a woman from Footings Unlimited today and she recommended either magnesium chloride or potassium chloride instead. She said it was better for the horse's feet and for the environment. Can anyone vouche for this? Does it still do the job of keeping the sand from freezing?


                • #9
                  Interesting, I found this:
                  "Magnesium Chloride is used in the manufacture of Magnesium Hydroxide Mg(OH)2 for further preparation of antacids for relieving stomach ailments and ulcers."
                  Which, of course, is not the same as just Magnesium Chloride... The magnesium chloride is also used as an anti-dust agent on dirt roads. THAT would be nice, something that de-ices and un-dusts a ring. probably too good to be true.


                  • #10
                    Mag Chloride is supposed to be great, but it is the most expensive of the salts. And, like all salts, it will wash away with the rain (unless you have an indoor, and then I'd say spend the money).


                    • #11
                      Mr. AdAblurr re-did a big outdoor arena for a nice lady with a barn in an area of our state where they get REAL winter - he used the GGT Footings felt fiber additive in a sand footing, and she's been very pleased with it. It works well to keep the footing from freezing up hard - it's "workable" with her drag even in subfreezing temps. Helps with moisture retention in the summer too!
                      Homesick Angels Farm
                      breeders of champion Irish Draught Sporthorses
                      standing Manu Forti's Touch Down RID


                      • #12
                        What's freezing is not the sand but water in it. It's a DRAINAGE problem; putting poisonous chemicals on it is not the answer.


                        • #13
                          True, but when the base layer is frozen, no water on the surface can drain... be it rain or melting snow. Unless you heat the ground underneath the ring, there will be water collecting on the top of the ring even if it is sloped. My parking area by the barn is, unfortunately, the perfect example.


                          • #14
                            I have 2"sand 1" black rubber in my ring, and it thaws by early afternoon so I can ride, unless it's coverend by snow, or the sun doesn't come out. My ring has a base of 6" of stone dust, with geotextile fabric on top of the soil. It has a less than 2 degree slope, and drains well. Check out the horse turf product available outside of Harrisburg. PM me if you want specific contact info.

                            Putting chemicals in your ring isn't the best idea, for your horses, your water (are you on a well?), or the environment.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by oldpony66 View Post
                              when the base layer is frozen, no water on the surface can drain
                              The "base layer" will only freeze if it's wet. And a SLOPE allows drainage whatever lies underneath.


                              • #16
                                The mag chloride works well. I put some down three years ago and haven't had to touch up yet... not even this winter when we were below freezing for most of a month. I do have an extra rail at the bottom of the fence to keep footing in place though.

                                I have a compacted clay base, with compacted bluestone over it and a top layer of sand.

                                A friend told me the local riding school tried putting some down in their ring during the cold snap and that it turned the footing to sloppy, slick mush. I'm not sure exactly what product they put down but their ring is bluestone with no sand topping so that might have something to do with it.
                                Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by nightsong View Post
                                  The "base layer" will only freeze if it's wet. And a SLOPE allows drainage whatever lies underneath.
                                  Very true, but unless you're in someplace like Arizona, the base layer is often moist naturally. Dig a hole somewhere in the summer and see. I have a 60x60 parking area in front of my barn that is sloped enough that you can visually see it... when raining you can see the water running down the slope. All winter it is frozen and right now at least 1/3 of it has up to half an inch of ice on top. The slope only saves us from worse fates!

                                  And I agree, randomly dumping chemicals around animals and plants (and my well) is a bad idea unless you know what they are. Without getting into a long scientific discussion, just because something is a "chemical" does not automatically make it bad. I mean, everything is technically made up of chemicals. That's why I would research it specifically. I'd be just as worried about manure leaching into my well if it were near the horses. Bacteria can be just as nasty as chemcials.


                                  • #18
                                    Yikes! A lot of misinformation in this thread and a little bit of fact too.
                                    Originally posted by oldpony66 View Post
                                    ...just because something is a "chemical" does not automatically make it bad. I mean, everything is technically made up of chemicals. That's why I would research it specifically. I'd be just as worried about manure leaching into my well if it were near the horses. Bacteria can be just as nasty as chemcials.
                                    Yes to that oldpony! Thank you.

                                    First, not all forms and brands of magnesium chloride are suitable for arena freeze-proofing and dust stabilization. Only one brand in the world is safe, neutral pH, with food grade purity that is sold for and used for arena dust stabilization that carries a full money-back lifetime warranty. I encourage everyone to do their homework before they dive into ANY material that will subject their horses' and their own lungs to exposure without the facts.

                                    Potassium chloride will not provide any benefits for dust abatement, and only provides marginal benefits for freeze-proofing but it is more toxic than other materials that work better. On the plus side of using "potash", you will have the greenest chia pet inside the arena if you plant one because potassium chloride is 0-0-60 in fertilizer terms. It's the main potassium ingredient in fertilizers but is a lousy humectant with little hygroscopic tenancies and therefore will do nothing for dust abatement.

                                    All water soluble salts will wash away with rain and snow in an outdoor arena no matter what anyone tells you.

                                    CT has absolutely not stopped using calcium chloride and salt on roads and that is totally incorrect.

                                    With regards to the original question, while you can bomb an outdoor ring with repeated treatments of freeze-point lowering materials such as deicing chlorides, there are adverse consequences that you will face in doing so: runoff contamination concerns for adjoining and all downstream pastures, loading up your aquifer with sodium and chlorides which feed your wells, and, the damage to your pocketbook because constant re-treatments will be required after each rain/snowfall for it to remain effective.

                                    At the end of the day, and believe me when I write this, there is no economical method of keeping an outdoor ring open and free from freezing up during the winter in most of the northeast US states. We get too much rain, sleet, snow, and ice and the only affordable method in my experience is to cover it.

                                    Get a dry winter and yes, you can get along a good way by treating it with whatever material that you believe is safe and effective. As far as safe and effective goes, ask for references on anything you plan to put in your arena and check them. If you are considering a freeze-proofing material, or dust control material, do your homework and ask for specific details on the chemical make-up of what you are buying and ask if there are any guarantees that go along with it. Ask for references of people in your region who do the same type of riding and have the same type of footing so you can hear from fellow stable owners about what is working and what is not, and not take the "guy's word for it".

                                    Have the supplier/applicator provide you with a certified statement on their letterhead showing you as the recipient of what they are selling to you or applying on your arena. Don't take take the salesman's word for it!

                                    You wouldn't go and start using a feed additive you knew nothing about or start adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to your grain because you read on the internet that it would prevent flies, so why would you take huge chances with materials without a firm understanding of what you are buying, what it will do, and what the facts are.

                                    One final note of caution: not all magnesium chloride is alike, so asking for magnesium chloride to treat ring is like pulling into the gas station and asking them to fill your diesel hauler with whatever fuel they have be it gasoline, kerosene, diesel, or some other concoction. All chemical compounds are not identical and specifically, not all magnesium chloride is suitable for arena use. There are many materials that are safe and proven; come with a lifetime guarantee; and have decades of proven performance, references, and testimonials to back it up. Make sure you know what you are buying because Phineas T. Barnum was not wrong.
                                    Last edited by The MAG Man; Jan. 22, 2010, 05:37 PM. Reason: spelling


                                    • #19
                                      In VA, the ring here has a lot of pea sized (maybe even smaller) rubber in it and it is still rideable when its 15 degrees outside!
                                      Back in PA, we have a ring that is not very usable in the 20's, but if its sunny and heats up to 30 guess, or maybe if its cold but sunny, its usable. We never use it in the winter so I dont know how it would be with proper dragging. But we just have coarse yellow sand.