East-West Arena Construction Blog

Grass Arenas...The pros and cons

Posted by EastWest Arena Construction

Jan 28, 2014 12:00:00 PM

The beauty of a perfictly manicured grass arena or derby field can set the stage for a great ride.  Here, we explore the pros and cons of an outdoor grass riding arena.





  • Grass arenas can boost a farm's aesthetics. 
  • Grass arenas can cover a large area
  • Horse and riders love the thrill of riding in large outdoor arenas


  • Grass arenas are dependent on the weather. If they become too dry, then they are too hard. Conversely, if they are too wet, they dont drain quickly and then become slippery.
  • You may have to tap the hind shoes of horses and ponies. When jumping on grass, horses and ponies should wear studs behind. If you are jumping particularly large obstacles, it is recommended that you place studs in front and hind shoes to keep your horse from slipping at take off. Constantly putting on and taking out studs can be a nuisance and tapping shoes can be increase your farrier bill.
  • The latest veterinary studies are beginning to suggest that GGT footing is better for everyday riding. The latter finding is due to the fact that a grass arena does not provide a supportive surface  for the horses like GGT footing.  This increases the risk for injury to the horse.
  • Grass arenas typically require less maintenance than sand arenas. However, it is important to note that you must mow, water and check the ground often for holes and divits.
  • A grass arena needs leveling and a good base, just like a sand arena.  
  • A grass arena does not hold up to heavy horse traffic well.  The turff beomes rutty and creates an uneven surface.  

 As you can see, the cons out weigh the pros.  However, sometime a grass surface is the only choice for some barns.  It is important to make sure that the grass arena is properly maintained and leveled or rolled often.

Topics: Arena Construction

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