Is a dried-out, hard riding arena causing you a case of the winter riding blues? With ground freezing temperatures blanketing the Northwest, Northeast, and Midwest regions watering the ring can be a tricky process. Under-watered rings can result in dried-out, tightly compacted, and hard footing. Lucky for you, we have a few winter watering tips for maintaining the perfect ground conditions for your GGT footing.
Winter Watering Tips
- Water in stages, using smaller amounts of water at multiple times during the day.
- Using less water more often will help your ring maintain proper moisture levels. This technique will also help to prevent the footing from freezing; footing that is watered only once during the day is more likely to freeze, since the water will take longer to become absorbed into the footing.
- Drag after watering.
- During the winter it is important to drag the arena after you water. Dragging after watering will help to properly mix the moisture with the footing, which will increase consistency and improve the overall condition.
- Water during the warmest part of the day.
- To avoid instantaneously freezing your pipes and ring, try to water during the warmest part of the day. If you are watering in stages (see Tip 1), try to water once in the morning and once in the afternoon before the sun has set.
- If the budget affords it, purchase a ring heater for the entire indoor or smaller heater units for each corner.
- During the cold winter months a ring heater is like taking a trip to the Caribbean. There are several types of ring heaters, from electric and gas heaters to HVAC barn systems, there are several ring heating options that can help to sustain warmer temperatures. In terms of footing, ring heaters help to keep footing from freezing, ice from forming on mirrors or pipes, and ensure that the footing stays consistently well-maintained all year long.
- Drag twice a day.
- Dragging twice a day can help to keep the footing from becoming too hard or compacted. If you drag twice a day, be sure to keep your ring well-watered (see Tip 1 - 3). Dragging twice a day helps to properly mix footing components, however it can also release trapped moisture, which leads to dryer footing.
When it comes to watering your ring during the harsh winter months it is important to establish a system and measure the results. One, any, or all of the above tips, when used properly, can help you maintain fantastic footing throughout the winter.