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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 huge amounts of care and maintenance in order 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. 

There are many different types of arena surfaces available on the current market, 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. Everyone’s needs are different, so your choice of arena footing will be based on your individual requirements and personal preferences. Your budget will probably have the greatest influence on your choice, but it’s important to balance long-term costs against the initial outlay of your surface.

1. Woodchip

Woodchip used to be an extremely popular surface, thanks to its relatively low cost.

However, as many users found, the life of a woodchip arena is extremely 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 pre-mixed surfaces.

However, rubber chippings should always be used in conjunction with silica sand, as this provides a firm and stable base for the rubber to be laid onto.

3. Sand & Fibre

Silica sand is the material of choice when constructing a riding arena, as it provides a smooth and level surface. However, it’s important 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 extremely popular and require minimal maintenance to keep them performing at their best. 

4. Waxed Surfaces

Waxed coated surfaces are the gold standard of arena footings, thanks mainly to their longevity and low maintenance requirements.

These types of surfaces won’t create dust and have minimal kick-back, making them an ideal equestrian footing for a wide variety of circumstances. The fibre element of these surfaces help to create a footing like turf, by providing a root structure within the sand that increases stability and cushioning.


Contact Us

If you’re unsure about which surface to choose and would like to discuss your individual circumstances with a member of our highly knowledgeable team, please complete our online contact form or give us a call on 0800 044 8101.