Unfortunately, there is not a single set of guidelines that can be followed to create the ideal surface or footing material for an arena. The cost of footing materials is determined by the availability of resources in the area as well as the cost of transportation. The features of the footing material, such as traction and the depth of loose material, are also influenced by the activities that are planned to take place in the arena, such as jumping, reining, or driving. Options that depend less on the accessibility of local materials and provide a greater guarantee of uniformity in material qualities include those that use industrialized or trademarked materials. Quarries are able to give raw materials or combinations that have predetermined properties of particle size and content. These include natural inorganic materials (such as sand and other similar substances) that are offered by quarries.
Your horse will be able to perform to the best of his ability in an arena that has been adequately maintained. The greatest riding surfaces provide your horse with just the right amount of cushion, good traction (that is, it is neither excessively slippery nor uneven), and very little dust. A quality arena will normally be constructed with three different layers of material and will be situated in such a way that it is not near any runoff. The lowest layer is called the “sub-base,” and it is composed of the native soil. This dirt has been graded as well as leveled (or slightly topped for drainage), and then it has been compacted using heavy machinery.
The transmission of light
It is essential to have a lot of natural light since it makes the indoor riding arena more enticing for the horse and rider, it assists the veterinarians when they are performing inspections, and it allows for savings just on electricity that is required for artificial lighting.
It is common for the steel or wooden sides that have traditionally been used to surround indoor riding arena to decrease the amount of natural sunlight that is permitted to enter, resulting in a setting that is somewhat dim inside.
As an alternative to erecting solid walls, the mesh Rollerscreens and Bayscreens offered by Galebreaker could be utilized to facilitate an increase in the amount of natural light that is permitted to enter the structure. They can be utilized to make the upper half of the side walls, and for added safety, the lower half of the side walls could be formed using a solid kickboard. Light Ridge from Galebreaker is constructed out of toughened and waterproof PVC roof panels, and it is also installed on the top of indoor riding arenas to increase the amount of light that enters the arena.
Dust control is vital in all types of arenas, but it is particularly important for indoor arenas. Because there is not enough natural water as well as the area is closed off, it is much simpler for the dust to become stirred up and pollute the air. According to an article written by Margaret Evans for HorseJournals, the amount of dust that is kept in an indoor arena “will immediately affect the quality of health of your horse, yourself, and many others who also use the arena – not only riders and instructors, but observers, assistants, and others likewise.”
Achieving Both Traction and Stability
In any indoor arena, ensuring that the horses have adequate traction and stability is one of the most crucial considerations. The bottom layers of the arena, notably the base, are responsible for a significant portion of the arena’s stability; nevertheless, unstable footing can completely nullify the base’s stabilizing effects. Your horses will be reluctant to make difficult maneuvers or turns if there is insufficient traction. Or, even worse, they could hurt themselves in the process. Each and every indoor riding arena needs to strike a balance between the two of these aspects.
Because the materials used for arena footing do not last forever, the majority of arena surfaces will require adjustment at least once every couple of years, regardless of the kind. Plan on a total footing replacement every 5 to 10 years, or at the very least, a major reworking of the structure. Even when properly managed, even the greatest and most carefully chosen footing materials rarely keep all of their favorable characteristics for an indefinite period of time. The important thing is to get good at managing what you already have throughout all stages of your “life.”
The process of dragging and watering
The use of a hand-held arena rake makes it possible to drag an arena with relative ease. However, more frequently than not, some form of heavy equipment is required. The “drags” used in arenas occur in a variety of forms, from the most basic to the most complex, and their primary function is to relocate footing to the appropriate location. Some drugs can be towed behind a pickup truck or utility vehicle, while others necessitate the use of a tractor equipped with a three-point hitch.