Collaborate With Seasoned Arena Experts - There are several barns with arenas in the area and we found consistently
that the ones we felt had the best footing were designed and implemented by Left Hand Excavating
here in Colorado. We worked closely with the Left Hand team to select our desired blend of footing.
It is amazing how many types and blends of footing people use. We didn't see the need for
blending our footing with gimmicky materials. We've seen too many instances where footing is
over-engineered and it doesn't perform well.
We simply wanted footing similar to that which Verena knew from riding in nice barns in Germany.
Left Hand helped us find just what we were looking for. Mission accomplished.
- Use A Purpose-Built Arena Drag Daily - After extensive research, we selected the Arena Rascal Pro by ABI Equine. This drag is very well designed. It incorporates solid engineering and does a fantastic job keeping our footing in great shape. It utilizes a profiling blade as well as a rake which yields a very even and nicely groomed surface with no waves or ridges underneath. We drag our arenas daily. This drag is much more effective and consistent than a chain harrow. We've tried both and there is a big difference. For more about the Arena Rascal Pro click here
- Arena Stabilization and Dust Suppression - Maintaining consistently good footing and
controlling dust requires moisture...lots of moisture. A dusty arena is uncomfortable and unhealthy
for horse and rider alike. While we love the lack of humidity in Colorado,
it presents a challenge when it comes to riding arenas.
We tried simply watering the arena with a hose but with the arid Colorado climate, this approach
is both incredibly wasteful and largely inneffective. We definitely did not like the idea of
installing a sprinkler system and wasting huge quantities of potable water.
We did a lot of research on the web and found that there was very little useful information on the topic of arena stabilization and dust suppression. There are lots of different products out there and they all claim they are the best but we didn't find very many stories from actual arena owners talking about proven solutions that actually worked for them. We had a lot of unanswered questions going into this endeavor. We consulted with other local barns and again got a wide variety of ideas but there didn't seem to be any magic bullet.
We finally decided to work with a company in Greeley, Colorado called EnviroTech. They have a propietary solution called DuraBlend that is used for equestrian arenas. I'll leave the advanced chemistry to the EnviroTech website to explain but in concept, DuraBlend is part polymer and part Magnesium Chloride. It is sprayed onto the arena and only needs a couple of days to sit before the arena is back in action. Our fullsize dressage arena (20m x 60m) took 400 gallons of DuraBlend. Once applied to the footing, the Durablend pulls moisture from the air. This strategy worried us given the dry Colorado air but to our surprise, it works like a charm. Even better is that there was no sticky residue, color, odor or significant change to the feel of the footing. It simply feels as if our footing was freshly watered all the time. Awesome stuff! It was a pleasure to collaborate with EnviroTech. They were knowledgeable, friendly and easy to work with. Because there was so little information on the web about these types of solutions, we decided to document our experience and take several photos so that others might benefit from our lessons learned.
Resources and Links...
- Arena and Footing Installation - Installation Photos and Video Clips of our Indoor Arena and Footing and Application of DuraBlend Stabilization and Dust Suppressent
- What a Drag! - Link to the ABI Equine Arena Rascal Pro Drag
- EnviroTech Services - Link to EnviroTech Website
- More About DuraBlend - Link to More Information About DuraBlend