For many areas around the country, this winter has been above average in temperature and precipitation, especially in the southeast. If you own or operate equestrian grounds it’s likely this is making for some difficult spring maintenance. Before you start your maintenance process, consider these spring tips to ensure your equestrian sand or footing and base are in ideal condition for use.
One of the most common problems with warm, moist winters is that the precipitation can increase deterioration of your base as it becomes saturated. Also, as footing is moved by water flow it exposes the base to more disturbances. Considering the warmer winter temperatures it’s likely the area has also been used more throughout the season than usual leading to further stress on the base and wear on the footing. When starting your spring maintenance be sure to check the arena for shallow footing areas that may have resulted from water erosion, consistent riding in an area, or dragging patterns.
Many of the spring problems associated with warm winter weather is repairable. Once you’ve addressed any issues related to increased use or precipitation, you can redistribute the existing footing. Use your arena drag to smooth, level and fill any ruts, cracks or abnormalities in the surface. Be careful to only lightly till compacted footing with your drag and not disturb the shallow or exposed base material. Throughout this process it’s important to control dust by lightly watering the sand.
Once you’ve evaluated the footing and base problems of your arena, redistributed eroded or moved footing and have a solid perspective of how your ground has held up over the warm, wet months, it’s important to replace any materials that have been lost. It’s not uncommon for footing to be washed away by storm water and wind. When this happens it’s important to replace the footing. Having the appropriate mix and footing depth will reduce injuries, increase cushion and make riding safer. In the case that the footing remains over-compacted even after light tilling, the entire area may need amended or replaced, but regular maintenance will prevent larger, more expensive issues from arising.
Warm, wet winters don’t have to wreak havoc on your equestrian facilities. If you’re experiencing issues, looking to replace footing or considering having a new arena built, River Sand Inc. can help. Contact us today to learn more about our arena sand, custom arena footing mixes and construction experience.