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Wood chips / sawdust as footing?

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  • Wood chips / sawdust as footing?

    Anyone use wood chips / sawdust or a blend for their outdoor ring?

    If so, what consistency? How thick? How big are the chips? Did you mix with sand?

    Any thoughts are appreciated. Hoping to mix wood chips or sawdust with sand for outdoor footing. Our footing tends to get very compact and hard, thinking the wood would soften it up. My trainer has wood chips in her indoor ring, mixed with sand, but would like to hear if anyone uses them outside.

    Rural Property Specialist
    Keller Williams Realtors

    Email Me for Horse Property!

  • #2
    I live in Ireland and have a woodchip pen which I HATE. This was specially made for riding arenas and after a year it's only now just breaking down a little. Considering all the rain we've had, not great.

    I find it can be a very false surface at times and big moving horses have issues with the ground breaking away. My big warmblood filly in particular hates it. She has the odd small slip and gets very grumpy if we work in it often. Take her out to a field or take her to a sand arena and she's a different mover all together. The smaller handy horses don't have as many issues.

    I won't be using a woodchip surface in future that's for sure. As far as mixing, I don't know. My chips were rectangular, all the same size, maybe 3 inches by 1 inch. If you live in a dry area best to make sure they get damp too.

    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


    • Original Poster

      I was thinking smaller bits.. like 1 inch x 1 inch? (like shavings) Or sawdust? And most likely mixed with at least 1/3rd sand. Do you think that would be more successful? I need something to keep my sand from packing down really hard. After a rain it tends to dry into a hard surface that you cant even drag.
      Rural Property Specialist
      Keller Williams Realtors

      Email Me for Horse Property!


      • #4
        It gets slippery when it's wet. It gets dusty when it's dry.


        • #5
          My barn used to have wood chips in one outdoor and one indoor. It was a mutual agreement that it was a bad idea, If you can avoid it I would.

          We had small wood chips, I'm not 100% sure if it was mixed with anything and the sizes varied. The biggest being 3 Inches X 1 Inch.

          Now we have sand in all 3 rings, It's mixed with rubber to make it softer when raining and easier to drag, normally we put in a new load of rubber (cut up into very fine pieces) about 1x a year and it is the best!

          Good luck!


          • #6
            My old ring was stone dust (manufactured sand) and packed down hard. I did mix some sawdust in with it and it helped soften up the footing a lot. It does get slippery if you use too much sawdust, though. And when it rains, the sawdust floats to the top, so you must keep it harrowed to keep everything mixed together properly. Overall I found it to be a very inexpensive and easy to maintain combo.
            Man plans. God laughs.


            • #7
              Rode for a few years in an indoor with a woodchip surface. It was ok. Like said above dusty when dry and slippery when wet. It cannot get very wet or it really is very slippery (I wouldn't do it in an outdoor for that reason).
              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


              • #8
                Our indoor has some sort of sand/shavings/dirt mixture which is actually really lovely but it was specifically designed to be footing.

                You can't use it outside because it turns to mud if it gets really wet.

                This is what it looks like.
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