Researching horse arenas is your very first step in building one. And then do more research; and then even more. I always suggest looking at forums, such as Chronofhorse.com and seeing what problems others are having with their arenas, and see what they did wrong or how they fixed it. It’s important to be aware of potential issues if the arena is not installed correctly from the beginning.
One major problem I always see on forums is that horses are “punching” through the footing to the base. Most of the time when this occurs, it is from an incorrect installation of a base. A base for your arena should consist of compacted subsoil, then 3-4 inches of large aggregate stone, followed by a geotextile fabric, and then 3-4 inches of compacted limestone with your footing on top. Clay should absolutely not be used as a base material. Your base will take a beating from riding on top of the footing. If you use clay as your base, it will eventually break down from the beating and from constant moisture. When the clay breaks down, you will have uneven spots in your arena where the clay has collapsed, and dust from the smaller particles.
A second issue that I see a lot in forums is standing water in your outdoor arena. This can be caused from a few things. Your base needs to be slightly crowned so that water moves to the outside of your arena. On the outside of your arena, buried about six inches deep should be perforated drains that run the perimeter of your arena. These drains will carry water away from your arena so that your arena does not hold water. It is very important to make sure your outdoor arena has drainage, even if the arena is located in a higher section of your property.
Lastly, I see a lot of issues with dust. Everyone has different ways to fight dust in their arena, whether it be watering the arena daily, adding different kinds of salts, or trying different sands. I’ve seen everything from pond sand, to river sand, to pool sand; but no matter what type of sand if it is not coated, you’re going to have dust. Our dust-free arena footings are all 100% dust-free. Our footings consist of silica sand, different additives based on what type of footing you choose such as fiber and rubber granules, and then both the sand and additives are coated in wax. The wax acts as a binder to hold all of the products together, and also coats the sand so that you will never have any dust! Choosing a footing that is dust-free is much more cost effective than fighting dust, year after year. Add one of our dust-free footings to your arena, and enjoy it for years to come!
Did you do research before you built your arena?