Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the arena #37 - A girl can dream can't she?!

I realized that I have been mentioning / complaining about / obsessing over my arena situation non-stop lately, so I thought I'd post about what Val and I are dealing with, and how I'm going to make it better.

Val is living in our current workspace - our "arena". A modest electric fenced paddock with an irregular shape and increasing amounts of ever deepening sand. He has lived there for over a year. His day to day movements have churned the sand to a depth of maybe eight inches in some places - especially in his wallow holes. He generally has three of these going at any given time.

Now I know I shouldn't complain about having to deal with sand because the pros
  • The ground really never freezes hard. It's a yielding surface for Val's shelly feet even in the dead of winter.
  •  Digging holes and scooping poop is sinfully easy.
  • And no mud. Yep - I said no mud. Probably the best aspect of sand. My grey horse who loves to sleep totally laid out stays exceptionally clean.
mostly outweigh the cons...
  • Feeding over mats (heavy) from hay bags (not eating with head down to clear passages).
  • Sand clear is expensive.
  • Here's the kicker - when it doesn't rain enough no amount of dragging will restore a firm, safe footing. 
Until we have sufficient space with consistent safe footing, or it rains more regularly, we'll be sticking to walking with limited trotting down the long sides. No sharp turning or cantering. We'll have to save all that for when we're at my trainer's farm.

A while back I created a small temporary "arena" for my boarder to work in - hunter / jumper style. She can set up a jump or two in there, but it's not level and she tends to rut it up endlessly circling. I mostly use it to desensitize Val to the extra scary back of the property, where my "real arena" will reside.

I have room for a 160 x 80 dressage arena. This project will require five tandems of sand (give or take) to make the whole back of the property level and create the actual arena with proper drainage + a number to be determined of crush and run gravel loads, many hours of grading and rolling, and some sort of fencing. I hope to accomplish the project over the winter / asap. Check back for updates :)



  1. I hope you get your proper arena someday. We have sand in ours and it's the best footing ever. Val sounds like he enjoys his sand arena, my horses love to wallow and roll wherever they find a soft spot out in the paddocks.

  2. Yes, sand is absolutely the best footing (my opinion)! Sorry the dream is on hold..just in waiting really.
    You've got some great'll get there. Very cool you have the room for them too!

    Don't know if I told you...I adore that shot of you and Val on the header

  3. Hope you get your arena. Ours is pretty lousy - they never put in good drainage or a good base, so even a tiny amount of rain makes it terrible, and it ices over in the winter. There's always the trail (at least with Pie) . . .

  4. Arlene-

    We'll get that arena this winter - just you watch :)


    Sand is great, but all we have is sand... nothing harder down underneath it. After a while it can get super deep when it hasn't rained.

    Glad you like that picture - I do too :)


    Same problem here with our present arrangement - no base. I can barely push the wheelbarrow through about half of our "arena" at the moment. Lots of firm sand at the beach though!

  5. I can't wait to see your real arena when it's done. Good luck with it(:


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