Thursday, October 16, 2014

footing ? winter weather options?

The seasons are a-changing, and the volatility in weather conditions have caught some of us flat-footed. (lol i got jokes)


So I'm really curious to learn what people know about all-weather or winterized footing. 

I've written about how the footing at Isabel's barn freezes solid and stays frozen for days, weeks, months at a time. 

We have a trailer, so the option for hauling out to winterized or indoor facilities is an option. But hauling at night? Never tried it. And hauling in iffy weather?? Another unknown. 

There are fields around the barn, but the winter ground is so choppy that if we try to do any real riding, it'd tear up the grass and ruin it for the next season. So it's not really an option for regular use. 

'nope - ground is too soft for work!!' - isabel

I'd really like to avoid another 3 months of minimal to no riding like we experienced last year. Isabel's barn is working on a state grant for an indoor arena. Barring that, they're considering a simple stone dust pad in a better location for drainage. 

So my current plan is to gather research about footing to pass along to our barn managers in the hopes that they are inspired to do at least, uh, something. 

'or not. ya know, 3 months no work = nbd' - isabel

Please share any thoughts, ideas, knowledge etc. you might have about ring footing! Anything from the most utterly basic to the obscenely fantastic is appreciated!!!


22 comments:

  1. My barn has an 'all-weather' arena, and while it did cost them a pretty penny to install, it's SO worth it. The biggest factor in an area where you're going to get a lot of precipitation is DRAINAGE. We are able to ride in our ring for most of the year because it drains really, really well. Water doesn't stay around long enough to freeze in most cases, and when it does freeze, it's still usually OK enough to do walk work in. Proper drainage and grading is huge, and should be done by a pro. Other than that... hauling at night isn't so bad! But I wouldn't haul in a snowstorm, either.

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    1. yea i think the drainage in our ring must be non-existant, thus the freezing :(

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  2. We just got stone dust (literally, last week) and it's great so far. But we don't have an indoor and are planning to trailer to another barn for the winter, which has pros and cons.

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    1. yea... trailering in and out really doesn't sound like a viable solution for our only rides, but it's still better than nothing i guess

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  3. I feel you on the riding or should i say not riding for basically 3 months last year, because honestly, I was in the same boat and I did have an "indoor" to ride in. Well, covered arena that didn't freeze. It was aweful and it was my first winter since I started riding that I couldn't ride for what felt like for months. It was just too cold to ride most of the winter. Or the days that I was supposed to ride we would get a snow storm and I couldn't drive out to the barn... I am not looking forward to this winter, although I did get a vehicle now that has 4WD!!! woo hoo

    Sorry, I am no help about the footing... Just wanted to chime in that I am not looking forward to winter...

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    1. i actually don't mind layering up for winter rides, so the cold won't usually keep me away. just need somewhere to ride!!! anyways tho, boo winter!!

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  4. Thanks for reminding me why I live in Texas. My recommendation? Move south for the winter.

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    1. haha i hear ya... austin *is* a pretty neat city...

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  5. Where I am we have no winter, so I'm not much help!

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  6. I have been incredibly spoiled and the stables I've been at have all had indoor rings. That said, this is what a lot of the uncovered (and covered) rings have been looking into. I've never really been in it, but it is maybe work a shot? http://perfectrubbermulch.com/product-category/rubber-horse-arena-footing/

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    1. thanks for that link - i will definitely pass it along! i'm wondering if changing the footing will do the trick (even if the drainage is kinda meh)

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  7. Our outdoor is stone dust and it holds up pretty well in the winter as long as it gets harrowed when it freezes. Otherwise it's like cement. Not much help though.

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    1. i've definitely heard some good things about stone dust. another rumor going around the barn is that they'll add a second stone dust pad - this one would presumably have better drainage too

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  8. I'm back living in the land of minimal winter, but will echo what was said above about drainage and harrowing. We have just a sand outdoor surface but one end of it holds up just as nicely as the rubber surface in the indoor during freezing temps. Why just one end? I'm sure it's because it's the end we had all the drainage re -done on a couple of years ago - it used to be the 'bad end' and unusable in a freeze. Now it harrows up all nice and fluffy!

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    1. hmm interesting. i wonder if the drainage can be redone at my barn?? good food for thought

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  9. We don't get snow, right now we aren't even getting rain D:

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    1. poor cali - hope you guys get precipitation of some sort soon!

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  10. Well, I live in Canada and we have a lovely indoor but we would not ride *at all* for about five or six months of the year if we didn't...

    That said I used to live in Minnesota, and didn't have an arena period. My horse either moved to a barn with an indoor during winter (most years once she was going) or I rode her a bit on the plowed gravel roads and avoided ice. But we had a lot of gravel roads where you could see for miles and it was flat and unpopulated...

    They use the all weather footing up here at the recently reno'd show grounds and it's fairly amazing in heavy rain etc. not sure how it would do in snow though

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    1. the gravel loop around our barn was the only option we had last year. one end has a steep-ish short hill that at least gets the horse using its butt... but it's a small loop and kinda repetitive..

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  11. I've had issues in the past with it being to wet to ride (but now that California is a desert, it doesn't matter anymore I guess) and ended up moving to a barn with a covered arena. I've never had footing freeze, how weird...

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    1. yea i'm getting the sense that this isn't normal (and frankly can't remember ever seeing frozen rings before)... i love my barn (and don't really have the option of moving izzy since she's, ya know, not mine), but it does seem silly to pay so much for poor winter conditions...

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