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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    81

    Default how to build an arena

    Shortly, I will begin the process of converting a pasture into a soft, loamy arena for my barrel racing wife. For the most part, the pasture is level, with a slight grade that doesn't hold much water. My questions are mounting, but I'll start with the basics:

    1) Can I use my brand new box scraper to move turf, or do I need to till it first?

    2) If I mix sand in with the scarified/tilled soil, will it drain sufficiently?

    3) Has anyone in the membership ventured into this "arena" before?

    Advice will be greatly appreciated (my wife thinks I come up with these great ideas by myself) - hess.


  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
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    39,487
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: how to build an arena

    hess, have you read the long thread in the "Tractor Projects" forum on "Experience with making an arena"?

    Bird

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: how to build an arena

    Bird,
    Actually, it took me about 30 seconds after I posted my question to find the excellent stuff from cowboydoc. Still, I am not sure what my box scraper can actually do (re: the existing pasture) since I pick it up from the dealer today.
    My biggest questions revolve around the initial ground preparation, and what I could add to the soil (sand, crushed granite, etc.) to give it a good consistency for barrel training.
    Any input would be appreciated. hess


  4. #4
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    1,681
    Location
    Syracuse NY
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT w/FEL

    Default Re: how to build an arena

    1. You should be able to rip up the sod if you have scarifiers but without tilling you'll wind up with big torn lumps of sod which you don't want as a base for a horse arena. (I'm in the process of putting one in this spring, we already did the indoor and now are doing an outdoor). You need a good solid PACKED base first. On top of that you want your loose "footing" which can be sand, wood chips, shredded rubber, crumb rubber (these last two I would say are the best. Last's forever, low dust and great cushion for the horse. Downside is it's pricey). Cowboy doc is right about the drainage, drain tile is probably best unless you can crown the whole arena so water will run off and not pool. (We hired a dozer for the grading. Just too much dirt to move with a compact. He did in 8 hours what would have taken me two weeks). My wife rides hunt seat and dressage but I would think barrel racing would have similar footing requirements. I would get some of the many equine magazines - they always have articles on arena's and footing and you should be able to get some good info that way.


  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    6,737
    Tractor
    JD 8320 MFWD, JD 6415 MFWD, FEL, and cab, John Deere MFWD 4600, John Deere 4020, John Deere 4430, John Deere 455 mower, Deutz, and Gehl 4610 perkins skidsteer

    Default Re: how to build an arena

    Gerard,
    All well said and true. However, the only problem is that most of the arenas that you run on are mostly dirt or sand mix. You want to practice on what you're going to run on as the horse's proprioception will develop differently on the one surface and then when they run on different conditions they will have to adapt. Great point about hard base and then no more than 4" of good dirt, not like clay or something. A mix with sand would be great if you could mix it up really well but if you've got good dirt and get an arena groomer you should be fine. If you want to add sand put in about 1 dumptruck load per 75 x 75 foot area to mix it good. Too much sand and you're going to hurt your horses legs.

    Now to get to this point you're going to have to disc and harrow the arena to get it good and broken down. A box blade on its own won't do the job.

    Any more questions just ask. Be glad to help.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: how to build an arena

    gerard and cowboydoc,

    I appreciate the advice. I will be asking one of the local farmers to disc and harrow my field as soon as he has time. And, I will be cautious with amount of sand that I use. good luck to you gerard, with your outdoor arena.
    Thanks, hess.


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