Did you know a top arena build mistake is selecting the wrong base material? While arena base materials are commonly found and are easily accessible when building arenas, the quality of said materials varies and is unique, just as every arena build is.
Why is selecting the right arena base material important?
When you start considering building an arena, whether an indoor riding arena or an outdoor one, you probably often think of the footing as the most important part of the building an arena equation. That’s false. The key thing to consider is what your footing sits on – the arena’s base. Although it’s often out of sight and out of mind, the material supporting your footing is key.
A good base is the foundation of any great arena. Selecting an arena base material is one of your most important decisions when building an arena. Did you know that more mistakes are made when selecting the base material for arenas than any other part of the arena building process? It’s even more important than the type of sand you choose! A top arena build mistake is often made by skimping over the arena base and moving right into the sand. Without the proper base material, your arena won’t last and could even present itself as a hazard to you and your horse.
Now that a good base material has been established as critical, it’s time to answer what to consider when building an arena.
Things to consider when selecting your arena’s base material:
- What you’re using it for
- How often it’s utilized
- Indoor vs. Outdoor location
The answers to these considerations will determine what your arena’s base material will be and if it will work or it doesn’t work and should be discussed with your contractor. For example, the clay used as an arena base for outdoor arenas must be a specific type and mixture of clay, or it could expand into the sand after the first heavy rain. Understanding the climate and region is important for this example. Another example would be an arena primarily used for jumpers in Florida that won’t have the same needs as a covered reining arena in Arizona due to various factors, including discipline-specific needs, sand depth, climate, rainfall, and indoor versus outdoor arena orientation.
Once your considerations for building and arena are solidified, it’s time to start thinking about an arena base material.
What type of materials can be used for arena bases?
Two common arena base materials are:
- Stone dust
A common belief is that stone dust is the only acceptable base, even in an indoor arena. That’s a myth! It’s important to know that not all stone dust is created equal. It’s a variable product that varies from region to region, even quarry to quarry, which should be kept in mind when selecting your base material when building an arena. Clay bases can also be diverse.
While both are common, the problem with these two materials is that they can be confusing, and most people don’t know which one to use. There is no set formula, so discussing materials with an experienced arena contractor is important before you begin building an arena. Kiser Ranch Development sometimes uses combinations of the two when building an arena. Every arena is unique, and so should be the arena base. The selection process of the base material is important to understand when building an arena.
Hire an Expert
Building an arena is a significant investment, and choosing the proper arena base material when building an arena is one of the most important steps to building your horse arena. Do it once, and do it right, with help from Kiser Ranch Development. We have built natural footing arenas for all disciplines for over 30 years.
If you’re ready to build an arena, trust the expertise of Kiser Ranch Development to help your horses perform to their maximum potential! To schedule a building an arena, a horse arena design, or a riding arena footing consultation, please contact us today!
An experienced arena developer is essential when building an arena in helping ensure your arena meets your standards and your needs and will help create the perfect base blend to withstand the elements. A dirt contractor with little horse arena experience could make the mistake of installing the wrong base, such as pure clay, and compacting it down, which will last until it rains, then it expands into the sand and won’t dry.
In addition to being premiere arena builders, Kiser Ranch Development also provides arena footing management and consultation services. Consultations can take place in-person or over the phone to help point customers looking for maintenance or building tips to the peace of mind from the Kiser expertise when building an arena.
What happens after building an arena?
Don’t expect to build your arena and be done with it. To ensure the footing rides optimally and your horses stay safe, you must maintain it. Horse arena maintenance—watering and grooming the arena, removing debris, and performing regular depth checks—keeps the surface level evenly compacted and ensures base material health. Your arena is an investment and requires dedicated maintenance. Maintenance required may vary by use and other factors. Consult with your contact at Kiser Ranch Development on the best maintenance plan for your arena.
Remember this when building an arena
Repeat after us: the base material you’ll decide when building a riding arena is the most important thing. Keeping your arena base consistent and safe will keep your horses happy and your pocketbook.
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