No one wants to ride in a sand storm.
We’ve all experienced it one time or another- a dusty riding arena! As your horse travels around, they kick up what appears to be a sand cloud. It leaves you itchy, your horse sneezing, and tack covered in dirt. It’s not the best experience and hardly good for you or your horse’s health. Those sand particles can wreak havoc on your lungs. The good news is there’s plenty of solutions! Some are more permanent than others.
First, why do you even have dust?… It’s not just sand that is dusty. In fact, clay, silt, and other organic materials can float in the air and cause problems. The base of your arena, whether that’s clay or stone dust, will slowly makes its way to the surface and footing in time. It’s important you properly compact the base to avoid and suppress this. Additionally, your horse will break down the pieces of sand into smaller pieces. This can further increase the amount of dust.
Spray Your Arena with Water
Perhaps the simplest and most affordable, water can be applied to your arena to suppress dust. The average farm owner will only have access to a hose or sprinkler, so the process can be time consuming. You’ll want to do a deep watering that gets down to the base, but doesn’t leave standing puddles. Try watering daily in the morning or evenings to avoid evaporation.
Best used in an indoor where it can’t be washed away, salt attracts moisture. If your environment is humid enough, the salt will keep dust to a minimal. It can, however, corrode metal siding and dry out your horse’s hooves.
Other people have had success with wood, textile fibers, polymer-coated sand, and rubber. Many of these have their pros and cons. For example: wood chips easily absorb water and create minimal dust, but eventually break down and cause even more issues. It’s a short-term solution. Rubber can be mixed with sand for dust prevention, but is costly. Some are able to start with good footing like polymer-coated sand. This high-end product has extra weight that keeps it grounded.
If you’re interested in a long-term solution, then consider Moisture Lok dust control by RAMM. This product absorbs water like a sponge and releases it into the arena footing. Your footing will become lighter and fluffier thanks to this additive. You can reduce watering by nearly half!
You can distribute Moisture Lok with a seed or fertilizer spreader. It should be mixed into 3-5” of the footing. Generally, 12-14 pounds covers 1,000 square foot, but that will depend on how thick your footing is. After distributing it, use a rake or till to really mix the product in. Lastly, water, water, water. The initial watering should be heavy, but subsequent watering can be much less.
Ultimately, a moist arena will cut down on dust and create a softer texture. You can enjoy riding this summer without the sand storm!
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