Outdoor Arena Footing - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 01-04-2012, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 5
• Horses: 0
Outdoor Arena Footing

I'm building an outdoor arena, and I'm looking for footing. So far I have a gravel based base, and I'm looking for what to put on top of it. I don't want to spend too too much money. I ride western, and do some simple reining moves, so I'm looking for footing that has some slide to it. I was thinking a compacted clay/slit base on top of what I have, then a sand/stonedust mixture on top of that. I also want something that won't turn to mud if it rains. What do other think? What have other people used in their outdoor arenas?
Carmen32 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 01-04-2012, 10:42 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: The sandbox
Posts: 5,573
• Horses: 0
I am not sure where you live or what is available to you. The trainers I worked for lived in California. Most of them had a decomposed granite packed base with a washed crushed sand top. The decomposed granite packed hard so it was easy to slide on. And then about 4 inches of a washed crushed sand on top was the best because when it rained it was less muddy, less dust when it was dry and they could push through in their stops.

I know people who have a packed clay base which is cheap but it has to be dry otherwise it is a slick nasty sticky mess. Those people are extra careful to float the arena before a storm otherwise it is a long time before it dries out enough to ride in again without ripping the base and mixing the clay in with sand....then I guess you might have a roping/barrel racing arena....

COWCHICK77 is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 01-04-2012, 11:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,038
• Horses: 4
I have a fairly new clay dirt arena that hasn't been broken up yet. You can make a horse sore fast on it if you're doing performance stuff.

The reason I haven't broken it up is because I'm putting sand on it. I kinda want to leave the base hard and see how I like it. I also think I'll need to smooth it before a rain. It has a little fall (6 inches over a 70 foot length) and I hope my sand doesn't wash away.

Last edited by AmazinCaucasian; 01-04-2012 at 11:11 PM.
AmazinCaucasian is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 01-08-2012, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 6,810
• Horses: 1
I speak from experience that clay is slippery when wet.

My farrier does roping in his sand based pen. He said that it drains and dries within an hour of a good rain. He lives far enough south in Georgia that everything is sand. We have red clay instead of dirt.

Carpe Diem!
Celeste is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 01-08-2012, 11:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Posts: 63
• Horses: 0
Arena Footing & Base

I have done several outdoor arenas. Do it right the first time, or it will cost you more $ and it is harder to fix. There are 2 parts. Base and then your footing.
Your base should be hard. You want a minimum of a 4% slope to where you want water to drain off. Have your "dirt man "scope it." Do NOT let them "eye ball it!" Trust me your "dirt man is KEY!" Depending on where you live "hard pack" may be called different names.

Your footing goes on top of your base. 6" is custom. Reiners, barrel racers, working cow, prefer 6". English riders want about 3 inches. They want bounce. So depending on the discipline is how I set my arena equiptment depth.
You want a "dirt or combination of sand" that does not pack easily. You want a soft footing to prevent leg injuries. If your base is not compacted hard, you will loose your footing into your base.

NEVER CUT INTO your base with your arena equipment. You only work your footing. Set your arena equipment to the depth of your footing you prefer to ride.

Your arena base will allow it to drain and your footing will dry out. If you have puddles or mud holes, it is because you have not groomed your arena footing level.

I would not use clay as footing. Hope this helps. Remember it will cost more to remove your footing and go back and fix your base. (been there, done that mistake)

Bridlewood Equestrian Oklahoma
Boarding, Equestrian Education, Event Facility
proequine is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
building a run in and outdoor arena janetashby Barn Maintenance 7 08-12-2011 08:20 PM
outdoor lighting for arena churumbeque Barn Maintenance 1 08-30-2010 11:59 AM
Cost of Outdoor Arena? Clementine Barn Maintenance 4 05-31-2010 04:45 PM
Outdoor Arena Footing Clementine Barn Maintenance 1 05-06-2010 09:31 AM
Outdoor Arena Troubles horseluver2435 English Riding 11 06-10-2009 11:55 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome