Choosing Your Arena Footing
In an ideal world, we would all school and exercise our horses on turf as this is the most appropriate surface for equines to work on. However, turf requires enormous amounts of care and maintenance to keep it in optimum condition, which is especially difficult given our wet UK climate and makes it an impractical surface for everyday schooling and jumping.
The current market is flooded with many surface options, and choosing the right footing for you and your horse can be a challenge. We’ve put together this brief article to highlight some of the more popular surface options, which we hope will help to inform your purchasing decision. Of course, everyone’s needs are different, so your choice of arena footing will be based on your requirements and personal preferences. Your budget will probably have the most significant influence on your choice, but it’s essential to balance long-term costs against the initial outlay of your surface.
Previously, woodchip was a popular surface, mainly thanks to its relatively low cost. However, as many owners and riders found, the life of a woodchip arena is short, and the need to keep this surface ‘topped up’ quickly caused it to fall out of favour.
2. Rubber Chippings
Rubber chippings are a popular surface option for riding schools, livery yards and private arenas as they provide good cushioning and are relatively cheap compared to premixed surfaces.
However, rubber chippings should always be used with silica sand, which provides a firm and stable base for the rubber.
3. Sand and Fibre
Silica sand is the material of choice when constructing a riding arena, as it provides a smooth and level surface. However, it’s essential that the sand is suitable for equestrian purposes and that it’s combined with another material, such as fibre, which provides increased support, cushioning and grip.
Sand and fibre surfaces are the most popular as they require minimal maintenance to keep them performing at their best.
4. Waxed Surfaces
Wax-coated surfaces are the gold standard of arena footings, thanks mainly to their longevity and low maintenance requirements.
These surfaces won’t create dust and have minimal kick-back, making them an ideal equestrian footing. In addition, the surface’s fibre element helps create a turf-like footing by providing a root structure within the sand that increases stability and cushioning.
If you’re still unsure which surface to choose and would like to discuss your requirements, please complete our contact form or give us a call on 0800 044 8101.