Grass outdoor arenas? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-07-2012, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Grass outdoor arenas?

What are your opinion about grass outdoor arenas?

I am going to build an outdoor arena, and was thinking of a sand-mix, but now am wondering about grass...

I've always been under the impression that grass arenas tend to be hard (and cause strain on joints), as the ground underneath gets stamped hard under all the hoof-action.

Is it possible to have a grass arena where the ground doesn't get too hard on their joints? Do you have to grow the grass a certain way, thickness, lushness? Water it often? A certain type of grass? NOT ride on it in certain conditions?

Is it less or more work to maintain than a sand-based arena?
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-07-2012, 11:20 AM
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Personally I wouldn't do a grass arena.

It could not hold up with horses pounding on it and would eventually make a track where you are normally working your horse.

Secondly, maintenance would be very time consuming - mowing, dragging, reseeding, watering, etc.

Lastly, grass gets slippery when wet - either from rain or dew.

I think you are much better off with a sand mixture.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

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post #3 of 12 Old 05-07-2012, 03:40 PM
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I have one and really wish I could have sand in it instead. I can't use it after it's rained or during the wet months, and it does wear a track. You also have to re-seed it every few years and mow it weekly.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-07-2012, 03:55 PM
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I have one where I board and really wish it was sand. It did wear a track which I don't mind because my mate knows to stay on it anyway and it's slippery when wet to say goodbye to any serious riding unless it's basically summertime.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-07-2012, 05:15 PM
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Ours was grass before we could ship sand in, for one riding season. We live in a ridiculously well-drained area and it packed HARD. I was not comfortable with anything above a trot - for my horse or myself! It was so hard-packed that we did not till it up and put a base down before we brought our sand in, in fact. We dumped 8 tandem loads directly on the over-grazed, packed earth. Now we have a good 6" of cushion to ride in and the difference is incredible. We ride and harrow enough that nothing grows through.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-07-2012, 05:20 PM
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The hardness of the ground depends on your area, I guess. I rarely use my arena....instead, I hack my eventer almost every day out on a huge 1000 acre field behind our woods. It's not hard, which is the only reason I feel comfortable working him on it so often.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-15-2012, 01:55 PM
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My trainer has an indoor dirt and an outdoor grass and I love it. She has NEVER had lameness issues with any horse that has been boarded there. Only ones that do are ones that have had previous leg issues such as bowed tendons arthritis etc. I like them because they are natural. They are what horses are meant to travel on. And I see no issue with them.

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-15-2012, 02:22 PM
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I'll be honest, my "arena" is grass and I haven't had a problem with it. I let it grow if it wants to grow so I don't worry about seeding or anything. It gets mowed about once every 2-3 weeks if it needs it and I don't worry about wearing a track in the grass (which will happen if you ride the same pattern or the same area often). There is a perpetual circle in the middle of my arena because that's where I normally work on my circles. Underneath the grass, the ground is pretty sandy so, while it is firm, it's not rock hard.

But, no more real arena work than I do (working circles at 3 gaits maybe 30-45 minutes on each horse per day), it works fine for me. Plus, with the dry weather and wind that we normally have, I'd have hell trying to keep my footing from blowing completely away if there wasn't grass there.

Here's a decent representation of what mine usually looks like (though that fence is long gone now). There is a donut area about 10 feet wide in a circle that is mostly dirt with very little grass.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-15-2012, 02:58 PM
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A dirt or sand arena can be groomed smooth and level with a tractor and a steel drag mat or harrow rake after heavy use. Just sayin...
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-16-2012, 01:12 PM
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I had my round pen on grass for a time to breat my filly. And she dug holes where she stepped on the fences all the way around. And it sucks you cant work when its wet or the horse sinks in the grass and makes marks.
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