We occasionally hear from riders and trainers about mishaps where arena footing froze, during that dreadful time of the year when the temperature drops. The risk of freezing is highest when footing has too many fine particles, they all tend to compact and freeze, like topsoil. The risk is somewhat lower with sand, wood chips or sawdust. The risk for frozen arena footing is lowest when synthetic fibers and material are incorporated like rubber, fiber or wax components. Stone dust base footings rarely freeze, although waxed footings can stiffen up a bit.
Then there’s the whole issue of watering in sand arenas: water too often and you end up with an ice rink; water too little and your riders choke on dust.
The best footing material for cold climates has 1.) a low freezing point, 2.) proper drainage, 3.) resists compaction and 4.) needs little to no watering. Owners of arenas in areas where arena footing is more likely to freeze may want to consider a footing with fiber/rubber amendment like those by IGK Equestrian. By incorporating fiber/rubber into a new or existing riding surface, you’ll not only lower its freezing potential, but also help reduce compaction for greater stability in all types of weather. And, of course, the less sand in your footing, the less often you need to water.
Share your stories of how your arena footing froze with IGK Equestrian here!!