Outdoor Ring/Footing

horseymama2

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Good morning all,
I am trying to come up with a plan for an arena space with safe footing at home. I only own 5 acres, and currently only two acres are fenced. My place used to be row crop land that was terraced, so my place rolls down from a hill on the north where the 2 acre pasture is, to my house in the middle, then flattens out to the south with two old terrace ridges breaking up the second, field (which is not fenced yet). I am teacher, so I don't have a ton of money for fancy facilities. I want a 60 x 120 schooling ring with footing that won't tear up my horse's legs. During warm weather I can ride in the grass, but I hate to tear up my field during winter. Right now I either have frozen ground of 6 inches of mud, which is treacherous when it refreezes. How can I improve the footing for winter? Any suggestions for getting dirt work done cheaply? I need to level those old terraces and create a riding arena on that side of the property long term. I live in NW Missouri near the Iowa border in zone 4/5. Thanks for your ideas.
 

Beekissed

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If you don't think it will just wash down the hill, maybe you could have some free wood chips dumped and spread for you.
 

horseymama2

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Wood chip mulch is a good idea. I could give that a try. I hadn't thought about that. I have been thinking sand. Thanks.
 

Baymule

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You might not want to level those old terraces. They were probably put there to check erosion. We have one that runs across our place, built by the C. C. C. In 1934.
 

thistlebloom

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If you can find chips that are about half dollar size and smaller that would work. Different chippers give different results. We got 12 yards of fresh chips a couple of years ago and there were a lot of long, sharp, thick splinters throughout. Would have been dangerous in an arena. Last summer our neighbor brought his pto powered chipper on the back of his tractor and those made some really nice uniform chips that I would easily have used in an arena.

If you go with a sand/gravel "arena mix" be cautious about the depth. 3" is a good depth. More than that and you can strain tendons and ligaments.

As far as an economic way to get dirt work done I don't really know. Maybe you could find someone who would barter with you.
 

KayL

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Hello! Have you decided on an arena footing?

When I started training, the outdoor round pens and arena were just sand. It washes away and the ruts freeze in. However, it was the superior alternative to slipping around on ice. 🤷‍♀️ I’ve always wondered if there’s something better.
 

horseymama2

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No, I haven't made a decision yet. I can't address the issue because it is too wet.😭 I am in a sea of mud. Every step my horses take they sink up to their correnet band at best, in the worst halfway to their knees. I am so overwhelmed by all this mud! I am kicking myself for letting my husband talk me into changing my site plans. We have put everything in the worst possible location. It's not his fault, he's s city boy who grew up at the beach. He has no idea about dark loam soil in the plains...But now I need a way to fix this mess without sacrificing to much valuable grass. We are 3 inches ahead on rainfall. Between the mud and the Corona virus I am screwed!
 

KayL

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I’m sorry to hear that. ☹ I know back home in Northern Alberta, it doesn’t matter where or on how much land you keep your livestock, spring time is always a big wet muddy mess.
 
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