At this stage, your fencing should be in place and the stone should be rolled (see part four: fencing and part three: laying the base materials).
There are many different arena surface options available. Mixed in-situ sand and fibre surfaces can be cheaper than pre-mixed surfaces, however you will need a power harrow to mix in the fibres and it can be tricky to install correctly.
Pre-mixed surfaces (such as Fibremix, Daytrack, Fibrewax and Fibreride) are relatively easy and quick to install.
In this final part of our guide, we will be showing you how to lay a silica sand and rubber chipping surface.
- 6 tonne (or similar) dumper – This can be hired self-drive or with a driver.
- 13 tonne (or similar) excavator
Laying the membraneThe first step is to lay a heavy duty non-woven membrane onto the rolled stone.
As with the first membrane, avoid rolling out too much of the membrane at a time.
An overlap of at least 300mm is desirable. The membrane should be lapped up against the kickboard by approximately 100mm.
Use a double sided tape or glue on the overlapped joints to avoid any sand creeping between the layers when it is being laid.
Laying the silica sandTo avoid contamination of the sand, tip it onto a clean concrete area and use a dumper to transport it onto the sand school, or, if possible, tip it directly onto the arena.
Be careful when tipping the sand directly into the arena. Only allow lorries onto the arena as little as possible and with great care. If a driver spins his wheels, he could rip up the membrane which is then very awkward to repair.
As with the stone layer, spread the sand roughly at first, then, working backwards out of the arena, level it with the excavator.
You will need a second person to assist you at this point. Show the operator of the excavator the depth of the sand using a depth stick as he progresses across the arena (a depth stick is basically a road pin or similar with a piece of insulating tape wound around it at the required depth).
An operator with a steady hand is required for this job in order to avoid damage to the membrane.
Once the sand is laid to the correct depth, it is best to track it with the excavator. This will compact it and level out all the small lumps and bumps.
Next, soak the arena with rainfall or with sprinklers. This will help the sand to settle.
Laying the rubber chippingsTip the rubber onto clean concrete or onto the edge of the arena. Using a dumper, distribute the rubber in 3 or 4 equal rows. This will make it much easier to spread evenly.
Next, use the excavator to level the rubber to the correct depth (use a second person with a depth marker to check for 50mm required depth).
Finally, finish off with a rake or grader.
Your new arena is now complete!Once your new arena is finished, it will be very soft to work on. The only thing that will settle it down is rainfall or sprinklers.
It will take at least three months of regular soakings – during this time we recommend avoiding heavy use (such as jumping or lunging).
- Grading and maintaining your arena is very important. We recommend grading your arena after every use to avoid a track forming. Please see our maintenance page for more information.
- Periodically check the depths of your arena surface using a depth gauge and take remedial action if any area becomes too thin.
- Manure and leaves should always be removed from your arena surface as these break down and cause dust problems and, eventually, drainage problems.