As the UK is quite consistent with its bad weather, we understand that it can be difficult to maintain your arena as you normally would. We thought we’d take this opportunity to share with you some of our top ‘winter maintenance’ tips, to help make things a bit easier.
Your riding arena is a substantial investment so keeping it maintained throughout the year should be an indispensable part of your routine. A well maintained equestrian surface will provide your horse with a level, consistent and supportive footing that helps to prevent injuries, build confidence and allow your horse to perform at its best. The frequency and type of maintenance needed to keep your arena at peak performance is largely down to personal preference and individual circumstance. However, certain factors, such as changing seasons and varying conditions, can dramatically affect your maintenance regime – particularly during the cold, wet and wintery months. More importantly, the type of footing you’ve chosen for your riding arena or gallop will significantly affect how you maintain your surface, especially during periods of exceptionally cold weather.
1. Waxed Surfaces
Waxed equestrian surfaces are often referred to as ‘all weather’ as they generally have a lower freezing point than most other non-coated versions. Whilst these type of riding surfaces may be more resilient to frost, they will still freeze during adversely cold conditions, especially if the surface contains excess moisture.
Waxed surfaces have been specifically designed to provide a firmer, more supportive ride, which is achieved by the wax element binding all the materials together. If not maintained correctly, waxed riding surfaces may become overly compacted. When this occurs, the surface’s ability to effectively drain away excess moisture is restricted, making the footing more likely to freeze during low temperatures.
2. Non-waxed Sand & Fibre Surfaces
Unlike waxed riding surfaces, which have a lower freezing point, sand and fibre footings are more susceptible to frost during periods of cooler weather. During particularly cold spells, the application of frost or arena covers may help to provide the surface with additional insulation and protection from the elements when not in use.
3. Sand & Rubber Surfaces
The reason most sand-based surfaces freeze during periods of exceptionally cold weather is because they retain excess moisture. By applying a layer of rubber on top of your surface you create an insulating, frost resistant barrier for your horse to work on – instead of the frozen sand beneath. Rubber topped surfaces, despite being more resistant when it comes to frost, still require a general maintenance regime in order to keep them useable during the winter months.
If you would like any further information regarding winter maintenance, please complete our online contact form or call 0800 044 8101 to speak to a member of our friendly and knowledgeable team.