How to Go About Choosing the Right Horse Arena Footing

The horse arena footing isn’t just about getting the most expensive sand – it’s not just about what’s on top but about what lies underneath too. There’s so much engineering that goes into horse arena footing construction.

Installing the right type of horse arena footing can be costly and time-consuming but all that is worth it when done right the first time. For anyone who is thinking about investing in building an arena, here are the three primary considerations for arena footing placement:

  • Location on the property in relation to groundwater
  • Access to water that’s needed to water the arena as part of its regular maintenance
  • Ease of accessibility of the area by trucks while bringing materials and equipment for regular maintenance to extend the life of the arena.

Good footing is important for horse arenas

Riding in an arena that is either too dusty, too wet, too hard, too deep, or too slippery makes one see the importance of a properly installed horse arena footing. This would necessitate consultation with professionals to get advice. This way owners can avoid mistakes that would otherwise lead to the construction of unusable surfaces. Ultimately the results are unhappy or lame horses. The fixes are very costly.

Good footing begins with the soil that makes up the base of the arena. Clay soil would make a great base. However, it would need to be leveled and compacted first. If the soil is the area is sandy, the owner should consider bringing in clay soil.

After the clay soil, there needs to be a base of approximately 10 inches. This should be made of crushed limestone. This too needs to be leveled and thoroughly compacted. Doing so minimizes lots of problems in the future that are as a result of shifting layers, poor drainage, and formation of holes.

The top later of the footing

The purpose for which the arena is to be used is a huge determinant when it comes to deciding the materials to be used for the top layer. It also dictates the depth of the footing.

The top layer is mostly made using a mixture of sand, soil, rubber, textiles, shredded wood, or synthetic materials. Opt for the option that’s easily available and more affordable.

After putting it up, don’t forget that surface requires regular maintenance. This is regardless of the type of footing that is chosen. The frequency of maintenance, on the other hand, depends on how often the arena is used.

What entails a good arena?

Depending on the riding discipline, a good arena should be able to provide secure footing that makes it possible for the horse to transition in and out of movements. This requires that there be access to sufficient water. If the budget allows; a sprinkler system would come in handy. This allows for dust control and in leveling the arena.


A properly constructed horse arena footing would make a great addition to the property. But before getting started, do proper research about the right and most affordable contractor. Seek lots of quotations and check out different arenas built by various contractors. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. On top of that, it’s advisable to research top surface materials, additives, geotextiles, and the current trends towards surface composites that are helpful in moisture retention.

Investing in a horse arena footing is a serious financial commitment. Do it right so there won’t be a need to do it twice.

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