Water is a key factor in maintaining your horse arena footing and ensuring your surface rides in top condition. When arena footing is dry, it loses its support, body, and traction. But as we approach the summer season, we face a new wave of water restrictions and drought concerns. According to recent reports, almost half of the United States is currently experiencing some level of drought, and it’s expected to worsen in the coming months. With that in mind, you may be wondering how to responsibly maintain moisture in your arena footing while still doing your part to conserve water. Fortunately, Premier Equestrian offers a variety of arena hydration solutions and products that can help.
Horse Arena Footing Products
First things first, take a look at what’s on your footing. Some arena sand holds water better than others, and adding synthetic fibers and textiles can help retain moisture. Consider our textile footing product ArenaAid, for example. Due to ArenaAid’s nylon composition, it’s one of our most efficient additives for water retention. It’s also one of our most effective footing additives at stabilizing a wide variety of sands. The combination of water retention and stability makes ArenaAid one of our most popular arena footing products.
Premier Water Wagon
This spring, we introduced the Premier Equestrian 550 Gallon Water Wagon Trailer. This compact trailer is an efficient and useful tool for your watering needs, from horse arenas and paddocks to flowers and foliage. The Water Wagon is powered by an engine and pump that applies variable amounts of water from either the rear spray nozzles or spot application with the spray hose. The Water Wagon’s handy on/off flow control allows you to easily shut off water flow when traveling over areas that have already been watered, which helps conserve water and eliminates inconsistent water application and over-watering.
Arion Ebb & Flow Arena System
The Arion Ebb & Flow Arena provides consistent moisture for your arena footing while preventing excess water waste. Arion eliminates the need for sprinklers and manual watering in your horse arena; instead, the innovative base system waters your arena from below. Water wicks up through the sand to keep the surface at an optimum hydration. The Arion Ebb & Flow Arena is the most efficient and easy method for watering your arena.
OTTO Sport Base Mats
It’s also important to plan ahead for water drainage to properly maintain your horse arena. Installing OTTO Sport base mats in your horse arena will create a true all-weather riding surface. While OTTO Sport base mats help drain water from your arena in rain-heavy months and wet climates, they’re equally helpful in ensuring that the entire arena surface remains consistently hydrated. Each base mat’s water retention cups hold up to one gallon of water. The footing that’s placed on top of the base mats naturally wicks up the water and retains it. An OTTO Sport base mat system in a 20-meter x 60-meter dressage arena can hold up to 1,200 gallons of water.
Premier Hydro-Keep can help retain moisture and reduce dust in riding arenas. Hydro-Keep is a polyacrylamide crystal with tremendous absorptive qualities—it can absorb as much as 20 times its weight in water. One pound of Hydro-Keep can absorb 40 gallons of water. Polyacrylamides are more common in daily life than you might think; they make diapers absorbent and are used in agriculture. Hydro-Keep is safe for humans and horses.
When Hydro-Keep crystals get wet, they expand by absorbing the water. Over time, as the soil surrounding it dries, the crystal contracts, releasing up to 95% of the water it contains. This flow between expansion and contraction of the crystals actually helps reduce soil compaction, an added benefit. While Hydro-Keep won’t eliminate the need to apply water to an arena surface, its ability to absorb water molecules and release them over time can result in an average 50 percent reduction in water use.
Hydro-Keep is supplied in 55-pound bags, which will each cover 6,900 square feet of surface area. It is easy to apply and can be combined with other additives for enhanced water retention. Hydro-Keep may be used indoors or outdoors since it is non-toxic for animals and the environment. On average, one application lasts about three years.
SlowDust is another Premier Equestrian product that helps during dry times by providing dust control. This product uses a flocculation polymer to bind microscopic dust particles together. For example, flocculants are widely used at water purification facilities, where they attract not just particles such as sand or debris but also potentially dangerous organisms like bacteria or protozoa. When clumped together by the flocculant, these now larger particles can be readily caught by water filtration systems.
SlowDust offers a similar effect to riding arenas. All horse arena sand, over time, will degrade into smaller and smaller particles due to the stresses of use; these particles contribute to increased dust. Dust particles are charged to a negative state. When applied to an arena, the positively charged flocculant polymer in SlowDust binds the dust particles to create a unified particle that is too heavy to be airborne.
SlowDust application has the added benefit of improving traction through particle stabilization. Similar to Hydro-Keep, SlowDust will reduce the need for watering by about 50%. It comes in a 55-pound bag, which covers 30,000 square feet of arena surface. SlowDust is easily applied with a fertilizer spreader and is safe for use both indoors and out. The polymer will degrade more quickly in direct sun, so users should expect to reapply every one to two years for an outdoor arena and every two to three years for an indoor.
To learn more about these Premier Equestrian arena hydration solutions and products, call us at 800-611-6109 or fill out a free consultation form and we’ll be in touch right away!