I have had an arena/large roundpen for about 2 years now. We hit a budget block right after we put it up and have not pen able to put any type of sand in it. To best explain the footing that is in it now, it is a very rocky (in some places sandy) area that does not have the normal topsoil you would think. It drains very well except for in one little area where it is a mild low spot and a hill drains off in to that spot. I have also noticed that the spot that collects the water is more of a normal topsoil, not rocky/sandy.
We are limited (now that the fencing is put up) with how much sloping/leveling we can do, and we have to be careful because the round pen is right in between a hill and the barn. The barn gets a lot of the drainage inside and starts to mold but it is a very old barn and there is nothing we can do about it right now.
I will be using the arena to work my horses at walk trot and canter, some flying lead changes will be practiced, and some jumping. The footing only needs to last 3 years because after two years (when I go to college) my dad will be either selling the horses, or just trail riding them. Please tell me the least expensive way you can think of to fix the drainage problem, and what type of footing we should get. My dad was thinking about just grinding up the soil we have now and using that but there are just so many rocks I am afraid the horses would get hurt. Also, could we get buy without putting a base layer of something down? The ground gets VERY hard and is packed down nicely so I was thinking about just putting 3 inches of sand on it and being done. I know I will have to keep it maintained and everything, we are working on getting some type of drag to go behind the lawn mower or the jeep. Lol
TIPS ARE NEEDED!!