Posts Tagged ‘Horse Arena’

Get Your Outdoor Arena Ready for Spring

May 17, 2017

It’s a gorgeous day here in Upstate NY as it seems like Spring is finally hitting us! Do you know what spring time means? More horse riding time outside! Now is the time to get your outdoor arena ready for spring and summer riding! Let’s take a walk to your outdoor arena and assess any current issues.

What do you see?

The arena looks great! Awesome! Don’t worry about doing any maintenance and go for a ride!

A lumpy arena. Take your drag and drag your arena good. Make sure you break up the lumpy surface and fluff the top inch. Be sure that you don’t push the footing outwards when you groom, you will build up the edge and possibly lose footing out the side of the arena.

Thin areas in the arena. You may have some areas of your arena that are thinner than others. Try to drag the arena so that you are pushing the extra sand towards the thinner areas of the arena. If needed, fill up some buckets in the thicker areas and dump them in the thinner. We often use yardsticks that have the proper arena depth painted on one end, and go around the arena and check them depth in each area. Move or groom the footing accordingly.

A wet corner. Not good. You do not have proper drainage in your arena. You may be able to fix it by adding some drainage in the form of perforated drains dug 6 inches down on the outside of the arena and give them a place to drain. If you notice that that corner is still wet, you may need to add drainage directly in the base of the arena. Be sure to consult a professional arena contractor to do the work for you.

Broken Fences. Maybe the winter was a little too harsh on your fence posts. Easy fix! Grab your screw drivers and screw gun and fix the broken fence posts, replace boards that may be broken and go around and tighten all screws. Maybe even repaint them to add a fresh new look to your arena!

Switching to our dust-free arena surfaces could eliminate many of the potential issues that arise from using traditional sand. By choosing our TruStride or LiteStride for your outdoor arena, you will be spending significantly less time maintaining your arena. The footing will wick water right off of the surface because of the wax component, so you no longer have to worry about wet spots. Our footing will not create lumpy spots in the footing and the groomer that is used only fluffs the top inch of the footing. Get your outdoor arena ready for Spring faster by choosing our footing for your outdoor arena!

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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.

Riding Arena Footing For Each Discipline

May 17, 2017

So it’s time to update the footing at your horse facility. After extending the life of your arena footing in your indoor for a few years now but the footing has reached the point where it is constantly dusty, uneven, and inconsistent. But what footing should you choose for your facility?

Jumping Facilities: Jumping is the discipline that demands the most of the footing. The surface needs to be soft enough to absorb impact yet firm enough to be able to support the horse as it takes off for a jump. Sharp turns should also be able to be made without the horse slipping. TruStride footing is the perfect combination for jumpers. TruStride can be installed up to 6 inches deep without it having a “deep” feeling. Both the rubber and the fibers that help make up the footing, cushion the horse and rider when landing, yet offer a stable surface to take off. TruStride is our premium footing.

Dressage: Although dressage does not demand as much from the footing as jumpers, a stable footing is still needed. Dressage riders want the footing to have a bit of “give” to it, while not being too deep. Traction is still needed when riding dressage so that the horse can do side passes easily without slipping through the footing. Our LiteStride and our Equi-Blend are great footing options for dressage riders. Both footings offer stability, traction and “give”; which is exactly what is needed for Dressage. Equi-Blend can work for a private dressage arena but if there are many dressage riders, we would recommend the LiteStride.

Barrel Racing: Barrel Racing arena footings need to provide traction for the racers as they work around each barrel. Footing depth is set at around 4″ to allow for a bit of slide. Barrel racers have told us that they really enjoy our LiteStride arena footing. They said it has the perfect amount of grip and amount of slide that they’re looking for.

Boarding Facility: Boarding facilities or lesson barns can be very tricky. Typically here you have many different disciplines riding in one area. A facility that has a range of disciplines needs a footing that can handle many horses a day and support the range of disciplines. Typically the boarding facilities that purchase from us purchase the LiteStride footing. LiteStride is a great all around footing that can handle jumping, dressage, barrel racing, groundwork and western pleasure. LiteStride works for almost all situations; however, if you have boarders that are jumping higher than 3 feet we would recommend you to get our TruStride, which provides more cushion when jumping.

Of course all of our footings are dust-free. In addition to the footing supporting the horse properly, time spent maintaining the footing is significantly decreased. If you have more specific questions about what footing should go in your arena, please feel free to contact us!

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.

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!

Cost of Maintaining a Sand Arena

June 16, 2016

Maintaining an arena is not always easy. Depending on how much traffic you get a day on your riding ring, you could potentially be grooming it every few days. I want to take a look at the cost of maintaining a sand arena.

For this price breakdown, we are going to assume the following scenario: you have an average 66 x 130 indoor arena with 5 horses a day on the footing. With 5 horses a day, you will have to drag every other day from the ruts and holes that appear. You own a newer compact diesel tractor that has 40hp and a 5ft arena groomer. It takes you 45 minutes to groom your arena from start to finish. You ride year round in your indoor arena.

If you groom your arena for 45 minutes every other day, it equals out to spending 8,213 minutes or 137 hours a year grooming your arena. If you are paying a farm hand to do the work, say minimum wage, (here in New York, minimum wage is $9) you would spend $1,232 paying your farm hand to groom the arena. On top of the time and wages to groom the arena, you also have to pay for gas for the tractor to groom the arena. For your newer (5 year old) compact diesel tractor to work this arena all year with diesel fuel at $2.40/gallon; you would spend $493 per year. Total grooming maintenance per year for your sand arena: $1,725.

IMG_2358Now that number is just looking at grooming the footing. The other issue you deal with in any sand arena is dust. We can take a look at both watering your arena and using Magnesium Chloride Flakes, which seem to be the other popular options. You could get a sprinkler system installed, which is thousands of dollars up front, but then you are still using hundreds of gallons every time you water your footing. Another option is to hand water your arena with just a long hose. Again you are using hundreds of gallons of water to accomplish this, but then you are spending roughly an hour watering the arena. You would have to hand water it every four days, and if you pay a farm hand to do that it would be $821 in wages a year. If you have a well you have to be conscious about how much water you use so that your well doesn’t go dry, and if you have city water, you have to pay per 1000 gallons you use; which can add up pretty fast if you’re constantly watering an arena. Many people use Magnesium chloride flakes to fight dust in their arenas.  Magnesium chloride flakes are roughly $20/bag. For your 66×130 arena, you would need two pallets, or 96 bags; totaling in $1,920 for your arena. These would have to spread and then mixed into your footing. Magnesium Chloride has to be continually added to your arena, therefore forcing you to spend more money all the time to fight the dust.

Instead of worrying about the cost of maintaining a sand arena, switch to an arena footing that will never have to be watered and will remain dust-free! You not only save lots of time and money not worrying about your footing being watered, but you also save on maintenance. We have many customers say that they only have to drag once a month! The sand, fibers and wax create a stable surface that supports your horse in every stride it takes, while not moving too much to the point where holes and ruts are created. Although synthetic footings are pricier up front, but you will save both time and money over time as our footing continues to out perform traditional sand footing.

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!

Standard Pattern to Groom a Riding Ring

May 3, 2016

Riding on a freshly groomed arena is my favorite thing. You put fresh hoof prints into the perfectly fluffed footing. But riding on a badly groomed arena? Not the best experience. I never realized that there is a specific way to groom an arena until I looked into it. Let’s take a look at the standard pattern to groom a riding ring.

I’m a very visual person, so I pulled together some quick visuals so that you can see what I’m explaining. Start by dragging the ring down the centerline. Once you get to the end of the arena, turn left or right and go towards the outside of the arena. Follow the rail until you get back to the beginning end of the arena, turning towards where you originally entered the ring. Follow the outside of the original drag on the centerline. When you get to the end of the ring again, follow the inside of the drag along the rail. Follow this same pattern, at a consistent speed and you will eventually end up with the outer-perimeter of the ring left un-dragged. Finish dragging the outer perimeter, and exit down the centerline. Throughout the standard pattern, be sure to keep the corners smooth and the speed of the drag consistent. The next time that you drag the arena, be sure to go in the alternate
direction. This will help to keep the footing evenly distributed throughout your ring.

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There are a few more ways to drag an arena, including some ways to help pull footing from the outside rails or corners, towards the center of your arena. If you have an established crown, take caution on what grooming pattern it used; grooming it the incorrect way could damage the specific crown put into place.

IGK Equestrian is a certified dealer for Parma Groomers. The Mini Groomer with a Coil Tine Conversion is the perfect groomer for synthetic footing. The coil tines don’t dig too deep into the footing, so as not to disturb the fibers and the groomer is a very lightweight groomer, weighig in at right around 400 pounds! Grooming the standard groom pattern in your IGK Equestrian Dust-Free footing is the best way to groom your horse arena!

What is your favorite pattern to groom your arena?

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


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