Saturday, December 26, 2015

new footing!! (and a new-ish arena)

Santa came early to our farm this year, with a big gift that will potentially have a huge impact on how our facilities fare through the winter.

Not sure I've mentioned this before, but our farm is a nonprofit organization. Meaning we operate a bit differently from the farms I've worked and ridden at before. There are pros and cons, but one major pro is our ability to accept donations. In this particular instance, we accepted a gift from a footing company looking to get a double whammy of freeing up space and also getting a year-end tax write off. And the gift? LOADS of high-tech footing.

view from inside the 'new' arena
Over the summer, the farm converted a corner of an upper paddock into an arena that is very close in size to a regulation small dressage court (20x40m), but maybe a hair narrow. The majority of the new footing went into this arena.

arena corner between H and C
We are hoping that this arena, independent of the footing, will handle winter better. It gets direct sun through more hours of the day than our lower arena, which is bounded on three sides by tall trees, and on the fourth by a hill. Plus this upper arena should theoretically have better drainage, just by the physical properties of being on higher ground.

So perhaps it won't freeze as often or as deeply as the lower arena, which becomes unusable for up to three months out of the year.

magnified view of the materials
The new footing itself is interesting too. I don't know the specifics, but there are a variety of materials included in it. Some of it appears to be coarse black rubber, and astroturf is involved - likely those green fibers. There's probably sand too, either natural or synthetic.

pretty darn close to actual-size photograph
It's also a pretty dark color, which will hopefully help it absorb more warmth from the sun and thaw more easily.

corner between A and K
Right now it's a tad deep in the new arena, especially at the ends. Bali particularly dislikes the deep stuff too, poor long suffering baby that he is... But I think they're gonna roll with it for a little while and see how it settles with some grooming and maintenance (and use, lots of use haha).

piles in the regular larger arena
The company dropped a couple loads off in our main arena too, tho as of the time I took these photos it hadn't been mixed in yet. 

'wat r dis?' - isabel
And honestly I'm not thoroughly convinced that there's actually enough. We'll see if they bring any more, I guess. Or, if it ends up not settling in as much as anticipated in the upper arena, we'll transfer some down to this ring?

sniff
It's pretty cool stuff tho, even if it's kinda in the way right now lol.

snuffle
I'm pretty excited at the possibility of being able to ride more seriously at home through the winter, since readers may recall that last winter we ended up hauling out 2-3x a week just to school. I'm not sure a couple piles of dark footing will resolve all the lower arena's freezing problems (it literally turns to concrete) but perhaps it'll help a little bit?

dig!
The new upper arena is super tiny, especially when you start packing in lesson students with questionable steering. And it actually doesn't have any lighting currently anyway, so it won't help much in evenings unless that changes... But whatever. I'm still considering it an awesome Christmas present and am hopeful that we'll make good use of it!

26 comments:

  1. Squeee thar is so cool!!!
    Hope it all works out and that lighting soon follows so you guys don't have to haul out as muh this winter.

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    1. i hope so too! the hauling out wasn't terrible... but man it's so much work and extra costs ya know?

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  2. That is awesome! Hopefully you will be able to ride at home more this winter.

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    1. we shall see!! actually as of this morning they're working on fixing up the footing in the lower big ring too, so we'll see what it looks like!

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  3. My barn has the same stuff! I like it - it's not as fluffy and bouncy as some, but it doesn't compact to rock either. Ours does freeze a little in the shady/wet corner but it breaks up pretty easy and is usable. My only complaint is there are deep spots, but that might be a function of the maintenance than the product! Congrats !

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    1. huh that's good to hear! we have some deep spots for now too but i definitely see the bit about it not compacting as much (esp compared to the sand we have haha)

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  4. Replies
    1. i'm jealous of your winter weather ;)

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  5. I'm jealous of the footing! We've got natural hayfield mud and no lights. On the plus side, xc fence #2 installed today (big log on two smaller log supports, so not super fancy) but I started the chainsaw and ran the chainsaw all by myself. It went a lot better once I put fuel in the chainsaw. :)

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    1. oooooh so exciting!!!! running a chainsaw does... not sound super appealing to me lol but then again i LOVE xc jumps so i'd maybe be willing to give it a try. hopefully the horses love the jumps!!

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  6. Replies
    1. i thought it was a really nice donation too!

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  7. im obsessed with good arena footing. looking forward to hearing more about how it fares this winter. although with how the weather is going, maybe we wont even get anything frozen?!

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    1. ha idk, i think we're gonna get it, but it might just be a little while longer. i'll definitely let you know how the footing holds up tho!!

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  8. Merry Christmas to everyone at the barn. What an amazing gift.

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    1. thanks! we are all very excited about it!

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  9. Hope the new footing works out better for your winter riding plans! I'm rather pensively awaiting to see what riding conditions are going to be like for us the next couple of months....

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    1. yea it's so hard to tell with how warm and soft everything has been. somehow tho i don't think it'll last much longer tho... :(

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  10. So cool! That kind of footing looks like the footing my winter barn has in the outdoor that no one seems to know what kind of footing it is! Still, an incredible gift. Hopefully they get lights up on that ring so you can ride in the evening!

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    1. ha interesting! i dunno exactly what the footing is called, tho i know the company that gave it to us. i hope they put lights up there soon too!!!!

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    1. it's a really interesting and cushy texture too, nice to touch and walk on!

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  12. Awesome! With all this rain I wish I had an arena with good footing to ride in- heck I'd just enjoy having an arena that I don't have to trailer too! But alas it's a field for me and it's currently soaked :(

    Enjoy your winter of riding!!!

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    1. ugh yea, this is the worst time of the year to not have an arena.... our fields are *completely* soaked and water logged too... frustrating.

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