HI I am very interested in reining and I would like to try it sometime in the future. I am thinking of making an arena to practice in just before a show. It would be 90X100ft (part of my drylot) and I was wondering if plain dirt can be used as footing? I wouldnt be doing any serious slidestops and it's just to practice in bfore a show.
I rein and have my horse in sliders and my arena is simply dirt. We had the grass ripped up and the ground levelled and I drag it every few weeks to keep the dirt nice and loose. (I think 'till' is what we do when we drag it - in Australia it isn't called that lol)
I don't try to do any big slides but it is fantastic for everything else, my horse doesn't slip like he did on the grass.
Make sure your base is nice smooth flat and dry. That is your main concern. If its bumpy, up hill, or sticky then your horse can get hurt quickly. I've helped set up arenas for years now and still get paid too. As far as your footing goes yes till it up. It will provide some shock absorbant for your horse. If you want to go fancy and spend money then a good 30% fine grain sand to a good 70% mixed dirt works great but again it will cost you some money. Dirt is just fine though. Many arenas in the US that host NRHA shows have 100% dirt footings.