Riding arenas are expensive to install, and they must withstand frequent use. If you want to keep your riding arena in great shape, these five tips can help you out.
Drag the Arena Regularly
Dragging is an essential part of arena maintenance. Dragging your arena helps to redistribute and smooth out the arena surface. If an arena is not dragged regularly, you may find that it develops shallow areas where the horses can punch through to the base. Once you’ve punched through to the base, your arena will need to be rebuilt. Dragging can help prevent this, while also giving you a smooth surface to ride on.
Hand Rake Your Arena
Sometimes holes and uneven patches occur which can’t be fixed by dragging your arena. Spend the time to hand rake these areas to truly fix them. If you leave them untreated, they will get worse, causing potential drainage issues and even possibly causing your horse to trip. While you hand rake your arena, check the footing depths at different points to make sure that it is evenly spread in all areas.
Put in Drainage
If you live in an area which receives regular snow and rainfall, then your arena will need adequate drainage. Areas of standing water can make your arena footing hard and compact. If your arena doesn’t drain naturally, then you may want to add drainage by installing drainage pipes or grading the exterior of the arena to slope and direct the water away.
Pick up Manure
Never leave manure to sit and be ground down into the surface of your arena. Manure can degrade your footing, especially if you have a synthetic footing mixture. Clean up manure promptly and always do a quick check for manure before you drag the arena.
Depending on how heavily you use your arena, you will need to add footing approximately every eight years. Adding footing can help to preserve the quality of your arena. If your footing gets too old, it can harden and become too thin in areas. This harder surface will be harsh on your horse’s joints, and a fall onto this subpar surface will be painful.
Arena maintenance can take time, but it’s an important factor in keeping your arena in great shape. After all, you’ll be rewarded with having a safe, quality place to ride and school your horse.