No matter where we live, we have all seen the negative effects of a rain storm on a poorly constructed arena. An arena's drainage system is the lifeline needed when rain strikes. Poor drainage systems can result in sloppy, slippery, and loose footing. Improper arena draining systems can also cause pools of water to form in your ring or worse a bog!
When it comes to constructing a proper drainage system here is a basic guide of factors that should always be considered prior to the start of arena construction.
- Create a gentle fall so that the water is encouraged to exit the arena. While the natural fall of the arena will depend on the arena's location, it can be enhanced through a modest crown. A crown is typically placed down the center line of your arena; it's job is to help water flow to the outside of the arena.
- Soil, top-layers, sub-layer, and your base materials will influence the draining capabilities of an arena. Prior to arena construction, it is important to keep all of these factors in mind. As an additional word of advice, never skimp on the base materials. If you don't use sufficient base materials, then it will not become sufficiently or evenly compacted, which will allow undesirable materials to make their way to the surface. If your base layer fails then your arena fails.
- A series of french drain system drains can be installed to help prevent drainage issues. These drains should only be installed in cases where a high (and regular) amount of rainfall is anticipated. French drain systmes should be placed in a porous sublayer. Geotextiles can also be used to cover the drains and prevent unwanted materials from entering into the drainage system.
Installing a properly constructed drainage system will help to increase the longevity of your arena, as well as create better riding conditions during various weather conditions. A good drainage system will also help to keep you ring dry, prevent pooling, and keep that GGT footing in pristine condition.