Wood Chip Arenas

I get many calls from many different people. People who just want to talk about horses (which is fine with me!), people who are building a brand new barn, people who are having problems with drainage, and people who want to fix their current footing with an additive. Now we don’t sell just additives, we sell the whole footing package already mixed. To install our footing, the old footing would have to be completely removed. However, I can at least point some people in the right direction if they want to just add something to their arena without completely pulling the old footing. The majority of the most recent calls I’ve been getting are barn owners having problems with their wood chips footing.

Wood chips are often used in the arena for a cheaper footing installation in the beginning of the arena’s life. Typically a layer of 1-2” of wood chips are added to the top of the ground and used as footing. Wood chips are soft and can absorb water so the thought is that they can cushion the horse and hold water in order to aid with dust. Although these are great hopes for the footing, wood chips turn out to be more problematic than anything.

The most common complaint is how fast the chips break down. In order to keep up with the fast deterioration pace of the wood chips, more must be added every year. When the wood gets wet it causes it to start to decompose and break into smaller pieces. Although the wood can hold a good amount of moisture, this is what causes it to break down. Once it breaks into smaller pieces; this is what creates the dust again in the arena. In addition to the constantly adding more wood chips to the arena, it really does not provide adequate cushion for the horse because they are constantly
“punching” through the chips to the ground close beneath. Wood chips also get stuck in the hooves of horses as well. Anything stuck in the hooves while riding is uncomfortable for the horse.

Most of the wood chip calls I get are questions about what can be added to wood chips to give the arena a different feel. Unfortunately, if you add sand to it, it will give the feeling a deep feeling, and adding fiber or rubber will not help the characteristics of the wood chips either. Usually the only solution for wood chips is to add more wood chips, or completely remove them and add another footing material to your horse arena.

Skip the worry about your arena footing by purchasing our dust-free footing. Cut your maintenance time on your arena more than half and save time and money on maintaining your arena! Email us today for a quote for your arena.

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