The perfect horse arena surface is not an easy thing to build and/or maintain. It is a combination of art and science. Its results should be both imperceptible to spectators and at the same time obvious to the horses, groomers and other workers of the facility. After all, the ‘sport of kings’ requires no less than meticulous and exact grooming of the surface in which the horses will traverse. So how do you go about building the perfect horse arena? Here are some factors that determine the viability of horse arena surfaces and tips for creating the optimum conditions for riders and horses.
Walk around the arena: Check the consistency of the arena by walking the area to determine whether it feels comfortable. Two things you are looking for are whether the arena is deeper in some areas than others and if there are holes present. Either condition could affect performance at the least and injure your horses at most.
Watch the horses: Watch the horses go back and forwards on the track. If their hoof prints make marks deeper than 1” then you may have a problem with shifting sand. Make sure, on the other hand, that the arena’s surface is not too hard. A surface that is very hard can create high impact shocks that can cause a horse physical discomfort and maladies such as joint problems.
Use the best quality sand: Once you have assessed the surface using the above tests, be sure to use high quality sand in building and/or maintaining your arena. Good sand isn’t cheap but it will pay for itself in the form of a consistent, sturdy track that will prevent horses and their riders from injury and won’t adversely affect race outcomes.
Check before you apply the top layer: Beneath the top layer of sand you want the foundation to be firm, and consistent. This is because a horse’s hoofs may eventually penetrate the top soil and come into contact with the surface. You do not want damage done to this layer of the track.
Meticulously maintain the arena: Horses are very heavy animals. This means that they are bond to constantly change the surface of any area they constantly travel. Weather also greatly affects those same surfaces. This is where Handozer’s groomers come into play. We offer our D3-MG groomer that is capable of grooming multiple surfaces such as horse arena. They are sturdy and made of high-grade steel.
Yes, a sound, well-maintained horse arena helps to protect the horse and the rider. All the time, money and effort involved in building a horse arena are potentially wasted if it is not properly maintained. Invest the time, effort, money and equipment in building the “perfect arena.”