Archive for the ‘Arena Construction’ Category

Barrel Racing

May 18, 2017

Let’s talk about barrel racing. Barrel racing is a huge sport where we are located in Central NY. I have lots of friends that race, and many times multiple days a week. If you don’t know the point of barrel racing, let me break it down for you! The horse and rider are timed for how fast they can get around the barrels. They run through a gate where the timer starts, run around one barrel on the left or right side of the ring, then run across the ring to the other, then to the end of the ring to loop around the last barrel and race for home! It is such a fun sport to watch!

Barrel racing is a sport that demands a lot from the footing. The fast acceleration and explosive turns are what makes up barrel racing. The horse needs grip to do all of these fast, tight turns. The wrong footing conditions can cause catastrophic injuries to barrel horses. It can’t be too slippery and it can’t be too hard, or too stable. Some riders like a deep footing, others like a more solid ground. A ground that isn’t firm enough can contribute to soft tissue injuries, and a ground that is too hard can lead to bone injuries.

When building an arena, we recommend 3-4 inches of a large aggregate stone, a layer of geotextile fabric, and 3-4 inches of a compacted stone dust for the base. This base will allow for water to properly drain from the arena. The footing would go directly on top of the compacted stone dust. With barrel racing, we normally recommend 4 inches of either TruStride or LiteStride. The recommended base, combined with the footing, provides the perfect grip and support that is needed to barrel race. The base has the solid foundation that the footing needs, and the footing is not too deep and not to shallow, so that the horses can dig their hooves in to quickly turn around barrels.

If you ever get the chance to attend a barrel race I encourage you to do so! Watch the footing while they race, and how the horse’s body reacts to turning around the corner and running for home. Is the footing too slippery? Is it too deep? Is it too shallow? What would you recommend to the barn owner after reading this blog on how the footing should react?

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Attached Arenas Create Dust in Barn

May 17, 2017

Building or renovating a barn can be fun, but also very time consuming. You’ll want to design a barn that promotes good health for both the humans and the horses in the barn!

Although building your barn with an attached arena sounds like an ideal situation, it could severely affect your horses’ health. An article from The HORSE takes a look at Indoor Arena Dust and the damage it causes to horse and rider. The air quality was tested in four different indoor arenas, each with a different barn layout. They noted that the dust levels were highest in the arena that was in the same building as the stalls.

The arena dust can easily migrate to the stalls, as the dust from the stall bedding as well as hay, can increase the dust levels. Many local barns have been building arenas, with stalls lining the inside of the arenas. This can be the worst combination if the traditional sand is used. With the stalls being located in the arena, the horses in the stalls are breathing as much dust in as the horse doing the riding. Dust is not only harmful to your horses but to you too. It can cause many bronchitis issues as well as sinus infection.

Instead of worrying about dust from your arena migrating into your barn, install a footing that is completely dust-free. Our dust-free footing products will relieve the headache of dust levels being high all over your barn. Not only will you never have to water your arena again, but you’re also providing your horse with the best product for them to train on that will properly cushion their every hoof fall.

How Does Your Arena Handle A Rain Storm?

May 17, 2017

Don’t you hate when the weather ruins your riding schedule? The other day I was all excited to work my horse really good when Saturday came. Well Saturday came, along with a huge rainstorm; which then put the outdoor arena out of commission Sunday also. How does your arena hold up after a rainstorm?

There are a few steps you can take to make sure that you don’t end up in a muddy or washed out situation. Location is a huge play in how your arena will react to rain. If you have the luxury of designing your own outdoor arena, be sure to choose a spot that is on higher ground, and away from where your barn rain will drain. Adequate base and drainage play a crucial part in draining the arena too. When building the arena, install 3-4 inches of larger aggregate stone on the very bottom, then 3-4 inches of compacted stone dust with a 2% crown, and finish with 3-4 inches of footing with a 2% crown. The crown will allow for the water to drain off of the surface much better. Pressure treated retaining boards rests on top of the large aggregate stone and outside the fence posts. Retaining boards will help your footing from migrating off of the arena when the water also drains off. Perimeter or curtain drains should run around all sides of the arena around 4-6 buried; the large aggregate stone should also surround the perimeter drains. Below you can see a side view of the base in an outdoor arena.

Footing Side View

Having regular sand in your arena makes it even harder to ride after rain. The sand is easily washed out, and can easily migrate out of your arena. Our dust-free footings are great for both indoor and outdoor arenas. When confronted with water, the wax in the footing blend actually wicks the water off of the surface. Around 80% of the rain is wicked off the surface and the footing only absorbs about 20% of the rainfall. Our customers have given us feedback that they can ride as soon as the rain stops. They don’t have to give their arena time to finish draining the rest of the water. Don’t postpone your scheduled workout again! Choose a footing that can handle heavy rains.

Benefits of a Round Pen

May 17, 2017

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of requests for quotes for round pens. So I decided it would be a great time to write a blog about the benefits of a round pen for you and your horse. Round pens are very versatile and create a controlled environment where you can evaluate, train, and bond with your horse.

The last time that I went with a friend to look at a horse to buy, the barn had a round pen. We were ecstatic! Bringing a horse into a round pen is a great area to evaluate the horse. You can free lunge the horse through the gaits to see how they move without anyone but the horse having control. This allows their full movement. It can be determined by watching the horse if they are lame or have behavioral or physical issues. Free lunging will let you see the horse’s natural abilities.Benefits of a round pen

A round pen can also be used as a good place to train a horse. One of my favorite exercise is to despook in the round pen. Have him walk over a tarp or poles. This way if he does spook, he can’t get far away from the object and can’t hide in the corner of an arena. It also is a great area to bring him in to free lunge before a ride. By free lunging before a ride, his muscles will warm up and get all of the “kinks” out before you ride.

Last but not least, it is a great place to bond with your horse. A round pen provides a non-threatening area. The horse can run around in circles until he has calmed down and realized that you are not a threat to them. He also will be able to focus on you and the commands you are asking of him. Spending time on ground manners, grooming and saddling in the round pen can strengthen your bond together, all while doing this in a safe space for your horse.

There are plenty of companies that sell round pens where you can purchase them, as well as create your own. There are lots of recommendations for height, materials used, etc. You can find some great information in this article by Stable Management.

When looking for footing for your round pen, don’t hesitate to give us a call for dust-free footing with great performance!

Ultimate Arena Guide

May 17, 2017

Over the years we have answered numerous questions about how to build an arena from start to finish. You can imagine how lengthy that conversation or phone call can be. For this reason, we decided to build The Ultimate Arena Guide that has everything you need to know about building an arena! There are seven categories on our Arena Guide website. I can break them down to show you what topics are in each section.

Base Information: This section talks about, well the base. It takes a look at stone sizes, characteristics you need for your geotextile layer, what equipment is needed for installing the base, how drainage should be added, and the difference between an indoor base and an outdoor base.

Installation: The Installation category focuses on how to remove old footing and how to dispose of it, how your footing should be installed, andUltimate Arena Guide delivery costs and options.

Footing: Sand is the main components of 95% of the arenas in the world. The footing category explains every aspect of sand from the sieve analysis to shape of the sand. It also explains additives, different coatings, longevity, replenishment, and what footing is best for certain riding disciplines.

Maintenance: Maintaining an arena is just as important as building the arena. This section explains the different types of groomers and relative prices for each.

Arena Dust: Dust can be dangerous for both the horse and rider to inhale. Coatings that help or stop dust are specifically explained in this category.

Water: If you decide to fight dust with water instead of coatings, the Water category explains sprinkler systems, evaporation, and the correct moisture level to achieve maximum performance.

Additional Things to Consider: There are a few odds and ends that go into this section such as insurance for your contractors, what to ask about MSDS Sheets, and consulting for your facility.

We’d love for you to check out our Ultimate Arena Guide, and feel free to leave a comment!

Geotextile Fabric

June 16, 2016

I always talk about how important the base of the arena is. If you install the base incorrectly, you could spend large amounts of money trying to fix it later down the road. One layer in the base that is often overlooked is the geotextile fabric. There are two different types of geotextile fabric: woven and non-woven fabric.

Woven geotextile fabric is a bit cheaper of an option that is created by actually weaving individual threads on a loom. Woven geotextile is strong, and pretty stiff. It is primarily used for steepened slopes, retaining walls, wind erosion, or for cushion. The downfalls of woven geotextile fabric are that it can be easily opened by angular aggregate and does not drain well.

Non-woven fabric is created when the material is bonded with chemicals or with heat to create the consistent surface. This fabric is created for ideal filtration and drainage. It is mostly used for erosion control, separating layers, or drainage fabric. Non-woven fabric is a bit more expensive than woven, and is slightly thinner but can be made at different thicknesses or can be reinforced.

Non-woven geotextile fabricWhen explaining the ideal base that you need for your arena, we always recommend 2-3 inches of large aggregate stone, a layer of geotextile fabric to separate the stone layers, 2-3 inches of crushed stone on top of the fabric, and your footing directly on top of your compacted crushed stone. The geotextile fabric that should be used is a non-woven fabric. This allows for all water to be able to move freely through your base, so that you don’t have any type of water buildup in your base, leading to water buildup in your footing. The reason we also recommend non-woven is because it is stronger than the woven fabric in that the large aggregate stones can’t break through. This ensures that you don’t have stones migrating up into your footing.

We love to help people who are planning their arenas. If you have any questions about what we recommend for your base construction, please feel free to give us a call!

East-West Arena Construction

June 16, 2016
East-west arena construction horse arena IGK Equestrian footing installation

A gorgeous arena with footing installed by East-West Arena Construction

IGK Equestrian has dealers all over the country. These dealers have all installed our footings in various settings. Our biggest dealer is

Mike Waidlich from East-West Arena Construction, located in Millers Falls, MA. Over the past few years, Mike has been building and installing many arenas with our dust-free footings. I wanted to catch up with Mike and ask him a few important questions about the excavation and installation process so that others can better understand it:

How do you choose an appropriate arena site, for both an indoor and outdoor arena? What do you look for?

“The best site for both an indoor and outdoor arena is a place on the property that is elevated above the surrounding land with places for water run off. The better the site, the less excavation work is needed to complete the project. This varies from site to site and is one of the most important parts to quoting a project.”

Do you need to excavate a site?

“For new facilities there is always some excavation work that needs to be done. Usually this involves removing the topsoil and grading the natural sub-base layer.”

What type of fill do you use for the sub-base and base?

“At places with good natural material, we can use the existing material as our sub base. At places that are wet or need to be elevated to promote drainage, we use either a screened bank run gravel or in some cases processed gravel to build the site up. This may vary based on pricing and availability.  For the base, we usually use stone dust. The material is usually 1/4″ and smaller in size. It compacts well and seals out any rocks or gravel beneath it from coming up into the footing.”

What is the best drainage design to use for an indoor vs. an outdoor arena?

“Outdoor arenas need to be elevated above the surrounding land and also pitched in order to get the water to run off the arena surface. With wax coated footing like IGK, we usually use a half percent slope or six inches of pitch over a hundred feet. Depending on arena size, we use one plane or a crowned center. Indoor arenas should be elevated and have good drainage around the outside of the building so water is not able to flow inside.”

What is your opinion of the grid system vs. stone dust for an arena base? Is one system better in an outdoor vs. an indoor arena?

“In my opinion stone dust is the better option. The cost is significantly less and I haven’t seen much of a difference in performance or longevity.”

How do you install the footing layer?

“We grade every layer with precision laser guided equipment. I use a Level-Best grading box on a tracked skid steer. We set the desired pitch with a laser and remote receiver and the machine automatically adjusts the cutting edge of the blade to cut the slope. We’re accurate to within a quarter inch. We install the footing with this equipment as well.”

Why do you/ your customers choose IGK Equestrian’s Footing?

“We’ve been very happy with the products from IGK. For our customers, the low maintenance is very desirable. There are no irrigation or watering routines needed. For a lot of facilities who don’t have someone to do that maintenance, IGK dust free footing is the perfect solution. The mixture of sand, fiber and wax is just right. I like that it’s consistently the same product because it comes straight from the source in NY. Good sand is a hard to thing to find in many areas and IGK takes the guess work out.”

What has been the feedback from customers about IGK Equestrian’s Footing?

“We’ve had a great response to the footing. Since we started offering it to our product line it is consistently the most desired product we offer. Our customers who have purchased it from us are thrilled with the results.”

How do you like installing IGK Equestrian’s footing?

“The fact that it comes pre blended and ready to be installed saves us a lot of time. I like having the option to ship in bulk or by the bulk bags because some sites are difficult to access.”

How long have you been doing excavation work?

“I grew up on a farm with extended family (aunts and uncles) in the dairy business. I’ve been running trucks and heavy equipment since I was tall enough to reach the pedals. After college I started in the trucking business. We hauled fertilizer to farms, landscapers and lawn care companies throughout the northeast. I slowly started buying heavy equipment and doing small jobs on the side. In 2011 hurricane Irene came through our area and we had record flooding; which eroded farm land and river banks through our area. I spent the next 8 months working to repair hundreds of acres of land; which propelled me into the excavation market. As far as the arena work goes, my wife Naomi has been a life long equestrian and convinced me to try installing horse arenas as a side market. One thing led to another and now we have a consistent arena building business.”

To contact East-West Arena Construction for a quote or for more information, check out their website: http://www.eastwest-construction.com or take a look at some of their beautiful arenas on their Facebook Page!

Kick Walls in Indoor Arenas

April 5, 2016

Gorgeous Indoor Arena kick wallsI’ve mentioned before, that my favorite part about selling footing is being able to go to lots of different barns and look at how each barn is designed differently. A trend that I have noticed a lot recently is more and more barns are installing kick walls in their indoor arenas. Let’s take a look at the importance of kick walls!

Kick walls are both aesthetically pleasing and serve a purpose. A kick wall is a wooden boarder around the base of the indoor arena walls. Normally a kick wall has a bit of a slant to it, around 15°, with the bottom being the most wide. You can build kick walls, or some companies such as Equitrend, has kick walls can be easily mounted.

Although kick walls make an arena have a nice, clean finish, they do have a purpose to them too! One main reason for having a kick wall is that it forces the horse away from the wall. Since the bottom of the kick walls are further away from the walls, the horse doesn’t ride right on the wall, which can save your legs if you have a naughty horse! Another major advantage of the kick wall is to keep footing from building up against the walls of the arena. Your groomer can get closer to the kick wall than the indoor arena wall because it won’t get snagged against a pole or beam. You don’t have to worry about the footing getting between the different poles in the barn and not being able to get it out from those areas.

Almost all indoor arenas that install our footing choose to install kickboards. For the fact that it is so popular, we designed a side-view of how the base of your arena in an indoor arena should look when kick boards are installed. Just like outdoor arenas, you have your base installed. The base consists of 2-3 inches of large aggregate stone, a layer of geo-textile fabric, and 2-3 inches of compacted stone dust. If you are going with the traditional wood kick wall, you would build them directly on top of the stone dust. Other types of kick walls may be mounted to the arena wall after footing installation is done. After the kick walls are installed the correct depth of footing is installed depending on what type of discipline is performed in the arena. Choosing one of our dust-free footings is the perfect addition to your new arena installation. If you have any questions on base installation, or footing installation don’t hesitate to call us! You can see the side-view of an indoor arena installation below!

indoor arena footing sideview kick walls base installation

Deep Sand in Your Horse Arena

February 1, 2016

Have ever tried to run on the beach? Not on the wet sand near the water, but in the dry, deep sand in your arenadeeper sand? You have to struggle just to walk through it; running is even harder! Horses struggle just as much through deep sand. Having deep sand in your horse arena can be potentially dangerous for your horse.

Sand is the most popular footing and is relatively inexpensive. The issue is that you want it deep enough to give your horse traction and provide cushion, but you don’t want it to be so deep to the point where your horse is struggling through it. Sand should only be about two inches deep in your arena. If you are practicing reining, or something else along those lines, you may want it a little bit deeper but not by much. There should not be one-inch deep horse prints in the footing after riding, and the sand should never cover the hoof while standing in the arena.

Deep sand in your arena can lead to various injuries, but almost all of these injuries have to do with the tendons and muscles in your horse’s legs. They can develop wind puffs, or fluid filled swellings, which are almost always chronic, strains and sprains in the legs, which can consist of either just a strain or a complete rupture of a tendon, and lastly a pulled shoulder or hindquarter. Pay close attention to your horse and their actions. If he seems to be sweating more or seems to be working harder, he could possibly have a strained muscle in his legs.

Instead of having to worry about if your deep sand in your arena is going to injure your horse, put one of our dust-free footings in your arena. The fiber in our footings creates a web-like surface allowing for your horse to spring off the surface and not sink into the footing. The lattice-like footing also eliminates tracking in your arenas so you will never see those deep horse footprints in your sand again!

Do Your Research Before You Build!

February 1, 2016

Researching horse arenas is your very first step in building one. And then do more research; and then even more. I always suggest looking at forums, such as Chronofhorse.com and seeing what problems others are having with their arenas, and see what they did wrong or how they fixed it. It’s important to be aware of potential issues if the arena is not installed correctly from the beginning.

One major problem I always see on forums is that horses are “punching” through the footing to the base. Most of the time when this occurs, it is from an incorrect installation of a base. A base for your arena should consist of compacted subsoil, then 3-4 inches of large aggregate stone, followed by a geotextile fabric, and then 3-4 inches of compacted limestone with your footing on top. Clay should absolutely not be used as a base material. Your base will take a beating from riding on top of the footing. If you use clay as your base, it will eventually break down from the beating and from constant moisture. When the clay breaks down, you will have uneven spots in your arena where the clay has collapsed, and dust from the smaller particles.

IMG_2185
A second issue that I see a lot in forums is standing water in your outdoor arena. This can be caused from a few things. Your base needs to be slightly crowned so that water moves to the outside of your arena. On the outside of your arena, buried about six inches deep should be perforated drains that run the perimeter of your arena. These drains will carry water away from your arena so that your arena does not hold water. It is very important to make sure your outdoor arena has drainage, even if the arena is located in a higher section of your property.

Lastly, I see a lot of issues with dust. Everyone has different ways to fight dust in their arena, whether it be watering the arena daily, adding different kinds of salts, or trying different sands. I’ve seen everything from pond sand, to river sand, to pool sand; but no matter what type of sand if it is not coated, you’re going to have dust. Our dust-free arena footings are all 100% dust-free. Our footings consist of silica sand, different additives based on what type of footing you choose such as fiber and rubber granules, and then both the sand and additives are coated in wax. The wax acts as a binder to hold all of the products together, and also coats the sand so that you will never have any dust! Choosing a footing that is dust-free is much more cost effective than fighting dust, year after year. Add one of our dust-free footings to your arena, and enjoy it for years to come!

Did you do research before you built your arena?


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