Your lifelong dream has been to build an arena, and that dream has finally been made a reality. Congratulations! You’re sure to have hours of enjoyment with your new farm addition.
But just like a yard, garden, or swimming pool, an arena will need maintenance—more so if it’s outdoors and exposed to the elements. The amount of maintenance will depend on your chosen footing, the type of riding you do, the weather, and of course, your budget. But for full-sized arenas, two things you will need for sure are a tractor and some type of drag implement. If you don’t already have access to water near your arena, you may want to consider establishing this as well.
In order to keep your arena in good working shape, several maintenance tasks should be performed on a regular basis:
Remove manure and other organic material. This is especially important if you have waxed-coated footing, as organic matter tends to dry out this type of surface.
Drag or groom your footing. You will need an implement designed for the type of footing you have chosen, so if you’re using commercial footing, ask the manufacturer what they recommend. When dragging, take care to only groom the top layer of your footing (never the third level or sub-base). Dragging on a regular basis will prevent material from compacting and ensure more even footing for your horse.
Implement dust control. Watering is the most traditional means of controlling arena dust, but it can also be the most labor intensive. The amount of watering needed will depend on your climate. Alternatively, you can use a product such as our Moisture Lok Dust Control, which acts like a sponge, absorbing water as much as 200 times its own mass and releasing it into the arena surface, as needed. Dust control is a crucial part of arena maintenance, as dusty arenas can pose a health hazard to both horses and riders.
As you can see, maintaining your arena will take some effort, but if well cared for, you’ll be able to enjoy your arena for a number of years to come.
If you have additional tips for maintaining an arena, feel free to share in the comments!
**Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.