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Suggestions for footing-limitations

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  • Suggestions for footing-limitations

    I miss jumping. My land is very, very hard, and even though I have a sand arena, it's still very hard. After the last horse I started over fences went permanently lame, I quit jumping. My theory is the arena is too hard, and I don't want to hurt my horses. I really miss jumping, though, and would like to try again.

    My base ground is harder than a rock. I have about 3-4" of sand on top, but it gets harder then a rock, too. I do have a small tractor. On my tractor, I have a blade to smooth everything and a drag that goes down about 0.5". I do not have anything to rip my arena and have tried various drags that will not go deep because my arena is too hard. Suggestions to create a footing for over fences with my limitations?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that you can do without spending tons of money getting new footing. Footing is extremely important and jumping horses on hard ground is not fair to them. Are there any fields nearby? or softer grass pastures? Are there any local farms with good arenas that you could work out a ship-in rate for when you want to jump? There are quite a few less expensive footing options as well but with footing like that, it seems you're going to have to get quite a bit of it.

    Maybe you could try adding fiber, rubber, water - drag it well on a regular basis... my old trainer had a beautiful sand ring. What kind of sand is yours? I could find out the name of the sand he had if you'd like. Maybe if you mixed the two it would be better.

    Comment


    • #3
      I might suggest that if the top footing is that hard, then you don't have enough. The sub-base should be like porous concrete - it has to be to prevent the base/top footing from mixing in.

      Sand does have a tendency to pack and become "dead", so it has to be added to occasionally. Since you already have sand, I might suggest adding 2" of screenings/bluestone/stonedust, AND getting something that can dig in more than 1/2". You'll want something that can go down 2" easily, at that point.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by scheibyee View Post
        there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that you can do without spending tons of money getting new footing. Footing is extremely important and jumping horses on hard ground is not fair to them. Are there any fields nearby? or softer grass pastures? Are there any local farms with good arenas that you could work out a ship-in rate for when you want to jump? There are quite a few less expensive footing options as well but with footing like that, it seems you're going to have to get quite a bit of it.

        Maybe you could try adding fiber, rubber, water - drag it well on a regular basis... my old trainer had a beautiful sand ring. What kind of sand is yours? I could find out the name of the sand he had if you'd like. Maybe if you mixed the two it would be better.
        I live in the desert (no grassy, soft fields!), and all the land here is hard and rocky. I paid a couple thousand to have the rocks removed from my arena. The only h/j places around would make you have a lesson plus pay an extra haul-in fee.

        I wish I could remember what kind of sand. There's actually two different types. The original sand was wonderful, but later, I thought I needed more and the guy ended up adding concrete sand! That was the kiss of death, and now my sand gets real hard!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by JB View Post
          I might suggest that if the top footing is that hard, then you don't have enough. The sub-base should be like porous concrete - it has to be to prevent the base/top footing from mixing in.

          Sand does have a tendency to pack and become "dead", so it has to be added to occasionally. Since you already have sand, I might suggest adding 2" of screenings/bluestone/stonedust, AND getting something that can dig in more than 1/2". You'll want something that can go down 2" easily, at that point.
          The sub-base is like clay when it gets wet, and is very hard when dry. Your suggestions are all very good. One question - I'm not familiar with bluestone/stonedust. Out here, we have various gravels that get screened. The most popular is quarter-minus, which is even worse than rock hard. I put it in my pens to help when it rained. It sure doesn't turn into mud, but is very, very hard, and I would never use it in my arena! I will look into tractor implements for digging 2". It's time to bite the bullet!

          Thank you for your help!

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't know if it's in your budget or not, but when I was in GA (red clay that could get hard as concrete) I had good success adding rubber to my sand rings. I would do that before stonedust, I think, since IME, stonedust can get super hard faster than sand does.

            If rubber is out of the question, I'd certainly consider adding at least a bit more sand - cleaned, screened angular sand if possible.
            **********
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
            -PaulaEdwina

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            • #7
              Yes, stonedust can get hard, but if mixed with sand, and especially if dragged regularly (which really should be the case, no matter the footing), it's great stuff. Mine is stonedust/screenings and yes, especially if it rains and then gets sunny and baking (ie Summer storms followed by hot baking sun), it can get hard quickly. But one drag and it's back to fluffy and wonderful.
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like you've got an arena that's trying really hard to just stay a nice base

                I have 2 1/2" coarse, washed sand (which looks kind of like tiny pea gravel mixed with sand) on top of my quarter inch minus base, and it's lovely. It never compacts at all. Of course with that being said, I live in the rainy rainy PNW where it's more about how well the footing drains than what happens when it's too dry!

                But maybe if you added a coarser sand you would have better luck with it not compacting? Or maybe adding a mix of sand and one of the footing additives (rubber, fiber, etc.)?
                __________________________________
                Flying F Sport Horses
                Horses in the NW

                Comment


                • #9
                  Manure

                  I know this sounds gross and a lot of people are seriously opposed to this.. but it works, I swear. Spread your stall/manure pickings on the arena and just let it naturally mix with the sand. Its organic material, so its much softer than sand and helps to soften things up.
                  Rural Property Specialist
                  Keller Williams Realtors

                  TexasEquestrianProperties.com
                  Email Me for Horse Property!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by IrishWillow View Post
                    I know this sounds gross and a lot of people are seriously opposed to this.. but it works, I swear. Spread your stall/manure pickings on the arena and just let it naturally mix with the sand. Its organic material, so its much softer than sand and helps to soften things up.
                    Actually, I DO mix my manure in there! Doesn't help at all.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                      Sounds like you've got an arena that's trying really hard to just stay a nice base

                      I have 2 1/2" coarse, washed sand (which looks kind of like tiny pea gravel mixed with sand) on top of my quarter inch minus base, and it's lovely. It never compacts at all. Of course with that being said, I live in the rainy rainy PNW where it's more about how well the footing drains than what happens when it's too dry!

                      But maybe if you added a coarser sand you would have better luck with it not compacting? Or maybe adding a mix of sand and one of the footing additives (rubber, fiber, etc.)?
                      I think you're right about it trying to stay a nice base! I'm thinking hard about trying to add rubber. I've never heard of it around here, but I could be the guinea pig! I've been trying all day to find a ripper attachment for my tractor, but since I have a compact utility tractor, I'm having a hard time!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by JB View Post
                        Yes, stonedust can get hard, but if mixed with sand, and especially if dragged regularly (which really should be the case, no matter the footing), it's great stuff. Mine is stonedust/screenings and yes, especially if it rains and then gets sunny and baking (ie Summer storms followed by hot baking sun), it can get hard quickly. But one drag and it's back to fluffy and wonderful.
                        What IS stonedust? I've never heard of it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by IrishWillow View Post
                          I know this sounds gross and a lot of people are seriously opposed to this.. but it works, I swear. Spread your stall/manure pickings on the arena and just let it naturally mix with the sand. Its organic material, so its much softer than sand and helps to soften things up.
                          I rode at a barn that did this and it worked great. Not the prettiest, but definitely worked like a charm.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            i have heard of mixing shavings in with the footing. its a cheaper fix.
                            but i think the best thing would be to add rubber.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JumpQH View Post
                              What IS stonedust? I've never heard of it!
                              It's literally stone dust

                              If you've seen a ring that has gray(ish) footing, that's stonedust/bluestone/screenings.

                              I would not ever mix manure in for the sole reason of not wanting manure dust flying up my, or my horse's, nose
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I am in the same situation you are. Last year we bought a tiller to pull behind our small tractor. We can set it so that it only tills 3-4 inches deep( or less ) - just enough to fluff the top, our ground is very hard so the base is not an issue. It has been wonderful, wish we had bought one sooner barring having the money to put in a real ring.
                                M
                                Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by JB View Post
                                  It's literally stone dust

                                  If you've seen a ring that has gray(ish) footing, that's stonedust/bluestone/screenings.

                                  I would not ever mix manure in for the sole reason of not wanting manure dust flying up my, or my horse's, nose
                                  Hmmm.........I've seen red arenas, but not gray. Must be a regional thing.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Monarch View Post
                                    I am in the same situation you are. Last year we bought a tiller to pull behind our small tractor. We can set it so that it only tills 3-4 inches deep( or less ) - just enough to fluff the top, our ground is very hard so the base is not an issue. It has been wonderful, wish we had bought one sooner barring having the money to put in a real ring.
                                    M
                                    I ended up looking at arena rippers. I can't have one because my tractor is a compact guy and the rippers need more power, but I did find a local guy that makes drags. He is going to specially make one to fit on my tractor that will be much better than the drags I've used in the past. He's also going to rip my arena pretty cheap. I'll see what he says about the amount of sand I have. Last time I had my arena ripped, the guy said I had plenty of sand, just all compacted.

                                    Thank you all for your help! You've gotten me off my patootie and moving in the right direction!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      rubber additive

                                      Check out Farm Tek, it is an ag catalog, and they also have a website. They sell a prepackaged additive made from recycled rubber. It seemed pretty reasonable cost wise to me. They also have a great assortment of ag implements for compact tractors and 4 wheelers, they cater to all people AG, and I have found great solutions for my farm issues there for a better price than dealing with the equine specific distributors.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It sounds like you need to let what you have now settle then add more sand on top as well as maybe shredded rubber mixed in. And drag on a regular basis as well as water.
                                        http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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