Whether you have an indoor or an outdoor arena, proper maintenance ensures that the footing in your arena remains flexible and ready to absorb the impact of horses' hooves during training or events. Maintenance also keeps flies down by removing manure, and keeps dust to a minimum. Depending on whether you have an indoor or an outdoor arena, and the amount of traffic it receives, you may need to perform these tasks weekly or monthly.
Maintenance Checklist for Indoor and Outdoor Arenas
- Remove manure regularly by using a pitchfork and wheelbarrow. Use a wide-tined fork to scoop up manure, and shake the fork so that footing falls back to the arena floor.
- Rake the arena surface to keep it groomed and smooth. Certain footing types, such as GGT-fiber footing added to sand, benefit from specialized raking equipment. Ask your footing installer for recommendations for the proper raking equipment.
- Water the arena surface to keep dust to a minimum. Synthetic surfaces such as GGT maintain moisture levels longer than sand, but if they get too dry, the fibers can blow away during windy days. Sprinkling water on the surface during periods of drought keeps the surface in place.
- Laser grade or grade the surface to keep it at the proper level to ensure that water runs away from the center of the area instead of creating standing pools of water.
- Check the depth of the footing periodically. Overzealous grading, a heavy rainstorm or moving heavy equipment over an arena can remove or compact the footing. You may need to add more footing material over time, especially if water runoff is a problem. Adding a barrier around the perimeter of the arena can prevent erosion in some cases.
Proper footing not only looks better, it helps prevent injuries to your horses' joints, ligaments, tendons and hooves. Keeping your arena groomed and the footing in good repair is an important facilities maintenance task for the health and well-being of the horses in your care.