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The Olympic riding arenas are on rubber matts

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  • The Olympic riding arenas are on rubber matts

    The Olympic riding arenas are rubber mats ontop of gravel, the mats have a kind of pattern to the top (the riding surface, not the side down on the gravel).

    They have a series of fairly deep square indentations all over their surfaces (they look a little like geogrid), then there is a mixture of textile fibers and sand ontop of the mats, sitting down in these square indentations.

    Are there any arenas like this in the United States? Any in the midwest? This is supposed to be a popular product in Europe.

    Has anyone here ridden on an arena like that? What are they like to ride on?

    How are the edges of the mats kept aligned and closed, and the gravel kept from working its way to the top?

    How does the surface work, with the square indentations and the sand/fiber mix top layer?

  • #2
    This sounds kind of like what the "World Famous Lipizzan Stallion" show used when they were in town. A bunch of us went down to the floor during the break to check out their footing! No gravel base, but a gridded mat with footing on top/in it.
    That's all I know though, so I'm hoping you can get more information than what I'm posting!!
    Sheri
    www.onthemuscle.com
    www.cafepress.com/onthemuscle

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, Debbie McDonald and Klaus B both have this arena at home.
      \
      The company says what arenas they have created in their ads,
      one oak, lots of canyons

      http://horsesportnews.wordpress.com/

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I looked at one company - Otto Mats. I would have had to sell TEN children on the asian slave market, and i just can't get that many.

        They install a deep gravel bed, then smaller gravel, with different stages of compacting, then the mats, the mats are rolled down (with a gap between them for drainage, that's where i start to get nervous) then pea gravel is put down, then sand and textile additives, and there are optional humidifying systems.

        I understand why the miniscule grade they use drains...because there seems to be xty million tons of gravel under it, and the mats have gaps between them.

        What blows my mind is how does one level this setup and maintain it, how does one keep the mats from getting churned up when the inevitable tearing around occurs, how does one not catch an edge of a mat and lift it dumping mixed gravel, sand and pea gravel all over, how does one keep the different materials from mixing over time, how does one keep the mats lined up and level, and what does one do when the materials inevitably do start mixing, and how does one predict what absorbing 40%, rather than 3% of the force of the hoof landing, does for stability, tendons and long term soundness, and if the first time a foot lands on a spot 40% is absorbed, and the second time 30% is absorbed, what happens the fifth time a foot lands on the spot? Do you have to drag it every time a horse is in it for a few minutes? What happens when the arena isn't dragged often enough?

        and I think the answer is, who cares, money is no object.

        Comment


        • #5
          http://www.equiterr.com/, http://www.hoofgrid.com/, http://www.stable-grid.com/, http://www.terrafirmenterprises.com/...questrian.html

          like those?

          I saw them in person at Equine Affaire last year. The company had mats that locked together and could be put down on a level grass area, or on a level gravel area. Then the "spaces" were filled either with soil (if putting grass down) or stone dust &/or sand. They had cleats on the bottom to grip into whatever surface they were put on. They seemed pretty solid but I'm not sure how they'd work out in turnout areas that horses rip around in.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CLB15 View Post
            http://www.equiterr.com/, http://www.hoofgrid.com/, http://www.stable-grid.com/, http://www.terrafirmenterprises.com/...questrian.html

            like those?

            I saw them in person at Equine Affaire last year. The company had mats that locked together and could be put down on a level grass area, or on a level gravel area. Then the "spaces" were filled either with soil (if putting grass down) or stone dust &/or sand. They had cleats on the bottom to grip into whatever surface they were put on. They seemed pretty solid but I'm not sure how they'd work out in turnout areas that horses rip around in.

            The second of the two makes me wonder, this does seem a rather costly envestment for a rather shoddy facility!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by snoopy View Post
              The second of the two makes me wonder, this does seem a rather costly envestment for a rather shoddy facility!!
              The second link actually makes me wonder why you would install some expensive grid like system, when you could put a geo-fabric under the 6 inches of gravel, and achieve the same results.
              geo-fabrics are WONDERFUL.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Not where I've been.

                I do recall at one place, the owner of the place was out in the outdoor arena with a 6' long piece of rebar holding it like a post setter and vigorously slamming it into the ground, pulling it out, jamming it back in....while standing in 6 inches of muddy water.

                'Whatcha doin'?' I yells out.

                'Punching holes in my geotextile fabric, so the water can drain!' yells back he with a big smile.

                I have also seen it drift to the surface, had my horsey put a hind leg thru it and fall down, etc etc and yah.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by slpeders View Post
                  This sounds kind of like what the "World Famous Lipizzan Stallion" show used when they were in town. A bunch of us went down to the floor during the break to check out their footing! No gravel base, but a gridded mat with footing on top/in it.
                  That's all I know though, so I'm hoping you can get more information than what I'm posting!!
                  I saw one of their shows back in February, and they were riding on what looked like cardboard that was duct taped together and down? It was odd.
                  "The higher you hold your pinky, the more dignified you be." -Patrick Starfish

                  "Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance" -Coco Chanel

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                    What blows my mind is how does one level this setup and maintain it, how does one keep the mats from getting churned up when the inevitable tearing around occurs, how does one not catch an edge of a mat and lift it dumping mixed gravel, sand and pea gravel all over, how does one keep the different materials from mixing over time, how does one keep the mats lined up and level, and what does one do when the materials inevitably do start mixing, and how does one predict what absorbing 40%, rather than 3% of the force of the hoof landing, does for stability, tendons and long term soundness, and if the first time a foot lands on a spot 40% is absorbed, and the second time 30% is absorbed, what happens the fifth time a foot lands on the spot?
                    Guess the folks who use these products ride better than us commonfolk, precisely choreographing their horses' foot patterns to step on every spot precisely the same number of times to ensure even wear and impact absorption, and they perform whatever dressage moves (half-pass, pirouettte, etc.) are necessary to redistribute the various layers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is nice too.....
                      http://www.tapetafootings.com/
                      Anne
                      -------
                      "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have this stuff in my dressage court and my paddocks.

                        http://www.hoofgrid.com/

                        I only had to sell 2 children into asian slavery and they were bugging me anyway.
                        I ride 2 horses several times a week in the arena and there is always a horse or two in the paddocks. It is works very well-no problems at all. It has been great because I live in Southern California and my horse like to be out all the time. Putting this stuff in the paddocks means mud has become a non-issue.

                        In the arena it is under several inches of footing but in the paddocks it is pretty close to the surface. It doesn't get churned up.
                        See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          What kind of sub base do you have to have with that.

                          Only one thing disturbs me....they say the horse cannot harm it unless the horse uses power tools.

                          My pony knows how to operate power tools.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My arena is a few feet below the natural grade on one side and fill on the other with a diagonal grade of 1% , so we have excellent drainage naturally (hope that makes sense). We graded down and found a natural DG bed which really facilitates fast water percolation after a heavy rain. This was done many years ago so it compacted naturally before I put real $$ into the arena. But I think it should be possible to achieve something similar with other soil types with proper grading and a sub footing of compacted road base. What makes this material work, I think, is the fact we back filled the hoof grid with more DG and compressed it a couple of times. The compacted material in the individual cells gives it a lot of overall integrity and it also has excellent drainage because the cell size is pretty large.

                            In the arena, there is a mixture of sand and shredded athletic shoes for actual footing on top of the hoof grid. I have railroad ties surrounding it to keep the footing from floating away in a downpour.

                            So far (3 years into it), so good

                            P.S. If your horse can use power tools, forget asian slavery and start paying his union dues.
                            Last edited by nhwr; Mar. 19, 2008, 12:48 AM.
                            See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              www.equibasearenas.com

                              This is the specific product being used. Two dressage instillations in the US are at River Grove Farms (Debbie McDonald) and DevonWood Equestrian Center in Oregon. It is also the footin installed in the World Cup (indoor) ring at HITS Thermal and has been getting rave reviews there. This system has been in use in Europe for years for a variety of disciplines and gets rave reviews. It is apparently not a maintenance challenge either--pick out the manure and smooth it, and occiasionally water, if installed indoors or if you live in Arizona. If you are installing it indoors, it can go down on top of you existing subbase. If outdoors, a gravel subbase is recommended.

                              I have not ridden on the surface, but have spoken with several people who have and the reviews are consistently excellent. I don't understand all the science, but it seems to work like a charm.
                              Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
                              Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
                              www.phoenixsporthorses.com
                              Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I was in Rome for the 1998 WEG and they used Otto mats below the sand in the main arena. The footing worked impressively well, considering it rained rained rained the whole 2 weeks almost incessantly.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by slc2 View Post

                                  My pony knows how to operate power tools.
                                  You need a dumber pony.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    a smart pony is better than a dumb pony any day. besides, he only uses power tools to drill to the hay on the other side of his stall.

                                    nwhr, how bad really is the price, i mean just mats, not counting any prep?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If memory serves, it was about $2.20 per square foot.
                                      See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        So that's 30,000 without the understone/over sand and installation.......which would likely then be 50-75k total??
                                        I.D.E.A. yoda

                                        Comment

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