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the straight scoop on arena watering

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  • the straight scoop on arena watering

    The outdoor is 110' x 220' and is dusty but not hard. I have tried setting up impact sprinklers but with 2 of them going, it takes 8+ hours (and many sprinkler moves) to get the whole outdoor done. The sprinklers will (in theory) do an 80' circle but we don't have nearly the water pressure needed to make that happen. Using the sprinklers during the day is impractical because then no one can use the outdoor. Having watered all day yesterday, I dragged this morning and the footing was dry and dusty by noon.

    I have looked at buying a water tank to pull behind the tractor but the tractor is relatively small and the biggest I could get (I believe) is about 200 gallon. I think with that size that it would take many refills to get the arena watered satisfactorily and based on recent history, it would have to be done every day that we don't get rain.

    Is a big water tank truck the only way to go? Suggestions please!

  • #2
    If water pressure is an issue, a water truck might not really help -- you still have to fill it up. Unless you are able to get the water from off-site at a reasonable price, I suppose, then it might work. We boarded at a place that had a great outdoor ring, but no way to water it, and were trying to figure out what to do. Similar to you, not enough pressure to run an irrigation system, and trying to fill up a big tank on a truck was not going to work (I think I figured it was going to take like 8 hours to fill the tank enough to cover the ring, and that was if no one was using water elsewhere at the place -- it was a pretty piss poor well/pump). The one hope that we had was there was a fire hydrant nearby and we could apply to the PUD to use water from it -- it was actually pretty reasonably priced. I ended up leaving that barn before it ever got done, and now they just use the beautiful ring for winter turnout, so it never happened. But it was the only feasible solution for us, then.


    • #3
      What about a spray on dust reducer?


      • #4
        You say it takes 8+ hours? I'm assuming that's moving the sprinkler heads around to various positions? If you're just leaving them in the same place, could you just turn them on late at night and then off first thing in the morning? (on at 11 pm, off at 7 am?)

        Is there any way to increase your water pressure? (Buy a larger well pump / expansion tanks / whatever?) Do you have a stream or pond or anything close by?
        David A. Staples
        Pony Tail Acres | Find Us On Facebook


        • #5
          Your arena is a little over a half acre. An inch of water to cover an acre is a bit more than 27,000 gallons. It takes at least 1/4" to do any good for dust control. I didn't do the math, but you get the idea. Sprinkling isn't going to get it done, nor is even a 1,000 gallon tank on a truck.

          It's not a pressure issue, it's a volume issue. Pressure has nothing to do with volume of water delivered. 4,000 gallons at 0 pressure would get the job done. 500 gallons at 100 psi wouldn't.


          • #6
            Seems like everyone I know has a dusty outdoor. I watched a show at one venue once where you could barely see the competitors on the other side of the ring during the group equitation classes. It was like a fog! I hates dusty outdoors, but have never seen a solution, except some fancier shows where they have giant water trucks go in after every single class.

            When I was a kid everyone I knew had outdoors with wood chip footing - like the mulch people now put around their trees and bushes. It was never dusty. It might have led to other problems I'm not aware of. I still see it sometimes, for some reason particularly at saddleseat barns. I wonder if that was a regional thing, or fell out of favor for other reasons?

            Does anyone have non-dusty outdoor footing?


            • Original Poster

              Oh Tom King......thank you for that math, as depressing as it was. It was quite an eye opener! I was starting to come up with a brilliant plan of buying a dump truck bed water tank and having my husband make some kind of gravity fed boom to disperse the water. We do have a creek to pump from so my next mental challenge was how to rig a pump to suck up the water to put in the tank with no access to electricity.

              At this point, I think regular sacrifices to the rain gods might work just as well!

              Watering over night would be a great idea (at least from a time management perspective) except that the sprinklers have to be moved at least 10 times to cover the ring and as I don't live on the farm, that's not going to happen!


              • #8
                Originally posted by skyy View Post

                Watering over night would be a great idea (at least from a time management perspective) except that the sprinklers have to be moved at least 10 times to cover the ring and as I don't live on the farm, that's not going to happen!
                You know, I just thought of something. Have you considered soaker hoses? They don't suck a lot of water, because they aren't squirting it in all directions to be lost to wind and evaporation. They don't use as much water per minute as sprinklers - they distribute it more slowly.

                They aren't terribly expensive (compared to pumps and dump trucks!). You can get multiple hoses (even 20 or more of them), use splitters to divide the water from the main faucet (little y-shaped connectors - think making a "family tree" shaped series of hoses). Then each evening you spread all the hoses out around the ring and turn on the water.

                You want the kind where the water soaks out like a sponge, not the kind where the water sprays out of little holes, otherwise you lose too much water pressure in the first couple of hoses and it won't get to the last ones. (I've connected up to four in a row to run around large areas of my yard when I had new trees in). You use a regular hose to reach from the faucet to the beginning of the arena, obviously, so you don't waste any water on the way there.

                It might be worth a try. I bet it will do a much better job than the sprinklers.


                • #9
                  We have the exact same size outdoor arena in the pasture and it is basically just the native clay soil that's been leveled and dragged.

                  It's dusty for sure in the summer and this thread has been helpful. Realizing it'll take nearly 4000 gallons of water to get 1/4" depth. WOW!!!!

                  We don't have many options to water regularly or with enough sheer volume, so may just have to live with it...
                  Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                  **Morgans Do It All**


                  • #10
                    Komet gun, long range sprinkler gun

                    Has anyone3 tried a long range sprinkler gun for arena watering?
                    " TOUGH. Sound, bull headed, strong and wild horses to ride. They have a mind of their own and you just have to learn to deal with it. " My Babu Bloodline.