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Footing for indoor riding track?

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    Footing for indoor riding track?

    As you can see I am building an 'indoor riding track' around the outside of my barn -- actually an entire new building has been built over top of my existing 30x50 barn. There were very specific reasons for this -- but don't ask! -- way too complicated to explain.

    Anyway, this type of 'shedrow' riding track is similar to how barns are set up at TBred racetracks. Track is 14' wide (long sides) and 16' wide at the ends. Track is only 65' x 114' -- for walk/jog -- maybe collected canter -- bad weather exercise and turn-out when paddocks are frozen ice, etc.

    Right now I have a stone dust base which I could keep 'as is' and maintain as is -- or I could put a few inches of sand on top -- or I could put down 2 inches of sand and then a few inches of Fibar wood chip surface.

    Would love to put down a dust free material like Tru Stride or Thor Turf -- but those are out of the question due to cost. So I have to stick with the footing choices I mentioned.

    I know I will have to water to keep dust down -- but my biggest concern is 'shelf life' of the material. Since this is my first indoor EVER -- I have no idea how long these materials last before they break down and need to be removed/replaced.

    In an outdoor situation it's a lot easier to move footing around -- add more, etc. But in my situation the job of removal and replacement would would a real pain.

    Also, the riding track won't get a ton of traffic (my own private farm) so material should last a pretty long time.

    What would your choice be? Traction -- since the turns are tight -- is hugely important.

    If it were me, I would add some sand. Bluetone gets compacted so easily and I've never been a fan of wood chips as a riding surface. I assume they would also degrade and need replacement sooner than inorganic materials. As long as you keep the sand/stone clean by picking the track regularly before manure gets mixed in, I would think it should last a long time.

    Really cool setup! I love the new building, especially the clear panels on the sides for light.
    Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm:


      If you can, do rubber. It is the least dusty. Sometimes local running tracks are tearing up their rubber or racetracks are replacing their footing and you can get a steal of a deal.
      If you go with sand, you may want to use a larger particle size than usual. I rode on one last weekend where they had used slightly larger sand particles (They almost looked like mini pebbles, there is a name for this, but it escapes me) and it was not dusty at all.
      There is nothing worse than dusty footing in your barn


        Original Poster

        Originally posted by StormyDay View Post
        you may want to use a larger particle size than usual. I rode on one last weekend where they had used slightly larger sand particles (They almost looked like mini pebbles, there is a name for this, but it escapes me) and it was not dusty at all.
        I think it's called Squeegee Gravel. It would work really well -- but I doubt I can't get it in NY. Looks like a western states product.


          My trainer's barn has similar arrangement to yours. Most times, he stores his bedding on the track, most of it banked against the outside wall. When the stalls get low, the bedding comes from the aisle/track. If the footing in the track is thin, it's pulled from the wall. When needed, it gets sprayed down with the water hose. He works a dozen horses a day on it with no issues. The barn might be as wide as yours (it is about 200' long), but I wouldn't put money on it.

          There is some dust, but not really a lot.
          Visit my Spoonflower shop


            Originally posted by danacat View Post

            I think it's called Squeegee Gravel. It would work really well -- but I doubt I can't get it in NY. Looks like a western states product.
            I have seen it in Southern PA as well. Maybe it is being called something else?


              Original Poster

              Originally posted by StormyDay View Post

              I have seen it in Southern PA as well. Maybe it is being called something else?
              Could also be something called Washed Clean Stone Grit -- or 1/4 inch 'chat' ...but both of these are not rounded pebbles like pea gravel. They are more flat/angular. Look like the xtra large pieces you see in stone dust inbetween all the 'dust'.

              I'm going to go look at samples of this washed grit -- seems like it won't pack like stone dust, isn't dusty at all -- and might work really well mixed with some anglular sand. Would harrow up really nicely I think -- minimal watering and I can give my horses a quick bath right on the track -- water will just soak through.


                Good luck! Let us know what you go with.


                  Original Poster

                  Here's a picture of the 'washed clean stone grit' I mentioned....'s 10 bucks cheaper by the yard than stone dust. Can also use it on the paths and driveway that lead in/out from new barn.


                    Original Poster

                    After doing some footing research it seems that 'gravel arenas' are fairly common -- especially liked by dressage people, so long as the gravel is angular, tiny pieces -- not round pebbles like pea gravel which apparently doesn't offer good grip, it rolls out from under hoof and can be slippery.


                      It sounds like it might be a really great option then!


                        Following so I can find this later. This is a super cool set up!
                        *I have a pinball machine of a mind. I apologize in advance if I leave someone behind. Sometimes I can't even keep up*


                          Original Poster

                          My 'stone dust' delivery guy was able to source this mini-sized clean washed gravel for me -- turns out it's what they use on harness racing tracks. Made sense that he could find it because there are a lot Standardbred farms near me with training tracks. Same stuff! Who knew!

                          For extra cushion it does need to be mixed with sub-angular sand which I was also able to source.

                          So my footing set up will be stone dust base with 2 inches of top footing: 1 part mini gravel to 1 part angular washed sand. Easy to keep 'fluffy' and level by making a few passes with my flexible harrow.

                          Not including cost of 5 inch stone dust base (which was pricey - 36.00 a yard) my top footing will cost about 1000.00 total in material. As a comparison: A Fibar (wood chip) riding surface would have cost me about 3000.00, No dust/no water Lite Stride footing 7000,00.


                            Please post some pics when it is all done!


                              would love to see the final pictures


                                Original Poster

                                Footing is coming end of next week -- and new barn is almost finished. Will absolutely post pictures of completed project.


                                  Here, that material is called "non-spec road base material".

                                  You may have a bigger rock in in there you can rake off, but most makes good footing for horses.
                                  Is what our vet recommends for horses that are in drylots and for under sheds.
                                  Seems to help with their foot quality and adds sole depth, according to him.


                                    Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                    Here, that material is called "non-spec road base material".

                                    You may have a bigger rock in in there you can rake off,
                                    The gravel company that makes the material I'm getting guaranteed me that the 'chips' range from 1/8 to 1/4 inch. It's a special type gravel just for the harness racing tracks -- not for road base. Shouldn't have any bigger rock pieces in it -- hopefully!

                                    I tried pea type gravel in one of my run-in sheds -- yes it is very good for feet and my horses loved standing in it -- amazingly comfy -- but it quickly got clogged up with hay fines and manure and turned into a solid rock base no matter how meticulously I cleaned it. The worst part was that occasional larger pieces of gravel floated on top and were super painful to the horses when stepped on.

                                    I ended up taking all the gravel out and went back to stone dust. I think 'gravel' in sheds/dry lots is a very good idea so long as the areas are not in use 24/7 -- and/or can be regularly harrowed.


                                      Hey Danacat — how is your footing working out? I bought a farm with an indoor track like yours but the footing (old rubber) needs to be replaced.

                                      Also, how do you blow out your aisle without it all getting mixed into the footing?


                                        danacat See Navada's post above and let us know how your track is doing ok?