- Footing Solutions
- Sand Specifications
Two New Footing Solutions
Click here for our Arena Footing Sample Kit
Yes, the perfect arena footing does exist.
It's all relative.
On a roll.
So... the Perfect Arena Footing?
Determining if arena is too deep or too hard. The indentation that the hoof prints makes should be between 1/2" - 1'. Photo 1 Illustrates a surface that is too deep, indentation is 2.5".
Too deep or loose arena surface; For deep footing start by removing some of the sand. If sand is made up of round particles this will also have the same effect as too deep of footing, causing shear and loss of traction for the hoof. Solutions for this type of footing would beProTex to stabilize the surface, bind the sand together as well as aid in moisture retention and dust control. ProTex will add an additional layer of cushioning with the added rubber particles. See Photo below showing same surface after removing sand and adding ProTex Arena Footing.
Compacted hard surfaces. Stone dust and sharp angulated sands that have compacted will benefit greatly by adding ProStride rubber arena footing. The rubber crumb will mix with the sharp angulated particles and create a void, thus providing cushioning and keep the surface from compacting.
Dusty Sand; Footing that possesses sub-angular particles and small fines, can easily become dusty. This type of footing will benefit by adding Premier Equestrian Hydro-Keep, a safe, non-toxic chemical crystal that rapidly absorbs and retains water. As the soil dries out, the water in the Hydro-Keep is gradually released, rehydrating the surrounding area. Our research shows it can also reduce your arena watering by 50%. The Hydro-Keep expands when watered and then contracts as the water is released over time. An added benefit provides additional cushion and reduces compaction.
Round, shifty sand; Sand that is round and therefore not very stable can benefit from adding a textile. This new footing additive will absorb small fines bind the sand particles together adding stability while reducing dust. Textiles are mixed in the sand enhances traction and reduces shear. Shear is the twisting motion of the horse's hoof and hock in an unstable surface.
Sand quality and specifications
Why is the right sand so important?Sand is the foundation of every good footing. However not every sand is suitable for riding arenas. When installing a new arena surface, the question arises if you really save money by choosing cheaper sand. The right sand is certainly a good investment and we are happy to consult with you. There are an enormous variety of sand qualities out there. The combination of all these sand quality factors decides whether the sand is suitable as footing or not. Sand that is well suited for an indoor riding arena might be completely unsuitable for an all-weather outdoor riding arena. Choosing the wrong sand can create a lot of problems and in the long run can be very expensive.
Sand impacts the condition of the surface. If the surface is hard, the horse will shorten its stride to minimize jarring and modify his jumping form to avoid the sting of landing. Hard footing will also stress his joints. If it's too soft, it will cause strain to his soft tissues - tendons, ligaments and muscles. If the footing is slippery, the horse will feel insecure, and so he horse will move cautiously.
Good footing is safer for your horse and boosts his confidence.
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Defining SandFirst let's define sand. There is a huge spectrum of different types of sand. Knowing their characteristics can help you decide if the sand you choose will be suitable as a riding surface.
Sand is the general term for broken down granules of minerals or rocks. Technically, particles that fall between one-sixteenth of a millimeter to two millimeters in diameter are referred to as Sand. Sand is smaller than Gravel, but larger than silt or clay.
Sand is defined by its size rather than what type of mineral it is. Particle size or grain size refers to the diameter of a grain of granular material. To determine a sand granule size, a sample is vibrated through a set of sieves of known mesh sizes. For sand the mesh size of the sieve can range from a No. 10 sieve which is 2 mm to a No. 200 sieve which is .075 mm mesh size.
Choosing the correct sand for your arena.Sand is a common ingredient in many arena surfaces and ranges from very fine sand .075mm to very coarse 2.00 mm. Sand alone may be used but it is often combined with other particle sizes and other materials. Adding the proper depth of sand is a key factor. Too deep of sand can cause stress and injuries. Not only is the depth a factor in how the sand performs, but particle shape and size plays an important role as well. Newly laid sand contains air pockets that absorb shock and rebounds. However, sand will erode, breakdown forming dust particles, and compact into an unsuitable surface over time.
|Most sand producers will have a technical data sheet available for the types of sand they sell. This technical data sheet will have a passing column showing the size of sand that passed through that particular sieve. Some sheets will also show what percentage was retained. Understanding this information will help you to determine what type or size of sand you will want for your arena footing. The company selling the sand will be able to help you read this information. Click here to view sample information sheet.|
UNDERSTANDING ARENA FOOTING - BASIC FACTS:Poor footing issues: If the arena footing is hard, the horse will shorten its stride to minimize jarring or adversely modify his jumping form to avoid the sting of landing. Hard footing will also stress his joints. If footing is too soft and rolls away under the hooves, it will cause strain to his soft tissues - tendon, ligaments, and muscles. If the footing is slippery, or insufficient so that the hooves penetrate to a slippery base, the horse may fall or feel insecure and move cautiously.
Good footing is safer for your horse and boosts his confidence and performance.
FOOTING PROPERTIES:When you walk on a beach, the dry sand above the high tide mark has no traction, rolls away underfoot and is tiring to even walk over. The damp sand in the middle feels cushiony, yet is supportive with good traction, while the wet compacted sand at the wave line can actually feel hard with minimal give underfoot.
With arena footing, we strive for that happy medium of cushion and traction to help our horses perform their best and stay sound.
Rolling vs Stablized Footing: There are several factors that affect footing particle stabilization:
Particle shape: The shape of the footing particles affects stability underfoot - whether the footing will roll (round particles), compact and become hard (sharp particles) or provide cushion and stability (angular particles). Angular particles offer some resistance to movement between them, preventing rolling, but permit enough give for a cushioning effect.
Particle size: Footing that contains particles very close in size and that have been washed of all fines, silt and clay will be less stable and more likely to roll under hooves than footing with a moderate range of particle size. Extremely washed cleaned sand can cause a rolling effect.
Watering: An intermolecular attraction is formed between water molecules that acts to hold wet sand together and can help stabilize rounded sand footing that would otherwise roll if dry.
*Fines including clay, silt and organic matter will hold moisture for longer period of time, however these fines will become dust when completely dry out.
Hard vs Cushiony Footing:
Each discipline has its' own requirements for the amount of give and rebound that enhances optimal performance. The firmer footing with good traction that helps jumpers to safely push off may not have enough cushion to preserve the joints of an aging dressage horse, while arenas needing all-around capabilities cannot be specialized to either extreme. Understanding the needs of the arena users will help you make the proper selections in sand and additives.
ABOUT SANDSand Types:
Natural Sand: Natural sand has eroded from mountain rock and is mined from where it was deposited. The host rock determines the exact mineral composition, however most sand is composed of silica, from broken down quartz crystals. This type of sand is extremely resistant to weathering and breakdown due to its chemical hardness, and will last longer as arena footing. These hard sand particles have been transported and tumbled by water, and the time spent tumbling determines an angular or round grain shape.
Manufactured Sand: Rock quarries crush rock into various sizes, and the smallest particles are called 'fines' and sold as Manufactured Sand, Man-made Sand, Crusher Fines, or Stone Dust. These particles range from 5 mm to fine dust, are sharp and will tightly compact if used alone. The mineral composition can range widely, and these particles are not the hard "surviving" quartz grains of tumbling river action, so they may be softer and break down to dust sooner.
Sand Shape:The next characteristic of sand is its shape:
Crusher Fines or Man-Made Sands will have very sharp tendencies. Sharp, very angular materials are prone to fit tightly together and compact, but do offer good traction. A small amount of manufactured sand can be useful to add stabilization to rolling footing with very round sand grains. ProStride Arena Footing is a good solution for these type of sands. The rubber will help cushion the surface and add voids and lesson the compaction.
Natural Sands will have sub-angular to rounded grains, because the sharp edges have been worn off, so they don't fit as tightly together. Sub - angular grains lessen compaction while still giving traction. Round grained sand will not compact because all the edges have been worn off. Although round particles create more voids and therefore offer more cushioning, they are very unstable and will roll and not provide any traction. So, when selecting natural sand, you need to collect samples from different sources and look at the sand grains with a strong magnifying lens to compare the general particle shape, and then select the most angular.