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Discussion Starter #1
So, our arena isn't great, especially now that it is raining often. The sand is indented all over, deeper in some places and harder in others, and those hoof-sized indentations retain water most of the time.

I ask for collection, get it, but then a few steps later my mare's leg drops into an indentation and we fall apart. She is being a good sport about it and not complaining (yet) but it is starting to irritate me to have to re-combobulate us every few steps. And I am not too sure that it is safe for her either.

So should I abandon collection until the weather improves and the BO is able to drag the arena? I can work on just plain fitness and just ride around with lots of transition until spring, maybe some light ground pole work to keep it interesting. I could also maybe find a small patch of good footing and do 5m circles in collection but that might be a bit too demanding of her - to work uncollected and than jump straight into a collected volte.

No indoor, unfortunately and for various not-easily-surmountable reasons I cannot trailer to the only indoor we have in our city.
 

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I won't answer the "is it to hard on the horse" as I not know the animal, their condition and the actual condition of your ring...

However, why is the ring not being dragged... :think:
Being you have wet with indentations and mud/freezing divvets its needing dragged.
It sounds like you have thaws and refreezes and if that is so, a on-the-ball owner/manager would be out and dragging that facility to manage the grounds and riding surfaces better.
This forum has many members who drag their arenas in winter, ride in winter and live in the frigid Canadian territory of heavy snow accumulation along with northern USA winters and overseas winters = lots of experiences maintaining grounds for winter riding outdoors.

Have you asked your facility if they could drag that arena?

Might surprise you they just might groom the ground a bit for all riders/boarders to have a safer consistent footing for the horses if you put it to them in a informative sharing of concern & information manner.
Hurts nothing to ask...worst is you get told no and continue on with what you've got...:-|
:runninghorse2:...
 

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My thoughts echo HLG's … why isn't this arena being dragged regularly?

No matter whether or not it is raining, BO or someone working at the barn needs to put on a rain jacket and drag the arena. When I lived at home, I dragged my arena rain or shine, and most often the arena would be in it's best condition after a steady rain and a good dragging. Consistent dragging before the winter months, especially if you get freezing weather, is vital to avoid the arena from freezing with those awful pits all over.

You are paying hard-earned money to board your horse there, and a rideable arena is included in the deal. I'd be irritated too.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
I won't answer the "is it to hard on the horse" as I not know the animal, their condition and the actual condition of your ring...

However, why is the ring not being dragged... :think:
Being you have wet with indentations and mud/freezing divvets its needing dragged.
It sounds like you have thaws and refreezes and if that is so, a on-the-ball owner/manager would be out and dragging that facility to manage the grounds and riding surfaces better.
This forum has many members who drag their arenas in winter, ride in winter and live in the frigid Canadian territory of heavy snow accumulation along with northern USA winters and overseas winters = lots of experiences maintaining grounds for winter riding outdoors.

Have you asked your facility if they could drag that arena?

Might surprise you they just might groom the ground a bit for all riders/boarders to have a safer consistent footing for the horses if you put it to them in a informative sharing of concern & information manner.
Hurts nothing to ask...worst is you get told no and continue on with what you've got...:-|
:runninghorse2:...
Eh, I live in a non-horsey country so I'm not really spoiled for choice. This yard is the best I've been in (we have turnout!).

Anyhow, I have personally witnessed our tractor sinking into the "arena" when it was wet. We had to dig it out and get a winch to drag it out. I say arena, but it's actually a slightly inclined sanded field - there are no supporting structures or drainage. And the BO most definitely does not have the funds to install a proper arena (this isn't coming from her, it's obvious when I add up the number of lessons and their prices). So I make do with what I've got. I don't really mind, I am just happy that I have a horse and that my horse is well looked after.

I do agree that people shouldn't be afraid to ask and I am not shy myself but in this particular case it just isn't realistic.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@ClearDonkey, I responded above. The BO is a very nice, hard working lady but some things are just out of her reach financially. It isn't really an arena, but a field with sand on top of it - and it gets water logged. She tried putting in some cheap drainage at one point but it didn't work. She can't afford a proper arena. As a matter of fact, we have one whole properly installed arena in the entire country, everyone else just flattens a field as best they can and puts sand on top of it - with similar results to what we have.
 

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@ClearDonkey, I responded above. The BO is a very nice, hard working lady but some things are just out of her reach financially. It isn't really an arena, but a field with sand on top of it - and it gets water logged. She tried putting in some cheap drainage at one point but it didn't work. She can't afford a proper arena. As a matter of fact, we have one whole properly installed arena in the entire country, everyone else just flattens a field as best they can and puts sand on top of it - with similar results to what we have.

In that case, if the "arena" is waterlogged to the point where a tractor is sinking into it, it may be best to look for other places to ride at all - I'd be concerned of injury to your horse is the sand is acting like glue to a tractor...can't be all that great for your horse.

Is there other places you can ride? Trails? A dry pasture? Quiet roads?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In that case, if the "arena" is waterlogged to the point where a tractor is sinking into it, it may be best to look for other places to ride at all - I'd be concerned of injury to your horse is the sand is acting like glue to a tractor...can't be all that great for your horse.

Is there other places you can ride? Trails? A dry pasture? Quiet roads?
Not really, we are in a very urban area.
I don't ride if it gets too bad, I just let her mosey around the "arena" at her own pace at liberty on those days.

The tractor got stuck because we misjudged how bad one particular spot was on that day so we don't really risk it anymore - because it took us the whole afternoon to get it out. And that tractor isn't exactly young, it was made in the 60s so we avoid stressing it too much (lightly ridden, if you will).

In general, I know where the sludgy parts are and I avoid them or slow down to a walk if I hit one.

I guess that should answer my collection question - if I need to look out for quick sand and my horse is sinking every few steps - I shouldn't be riding any way, collection or no collection. I think I agree.

Thanks.
 
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