When it comes to building a new riding arena or rehabbing an arena surface, the team of experts at Premier Equestrian take a custom approach to determine the right footing for your specific circumstances. Sand is the key ingredient to all good horse arena footing, which is why we offer every client a free Arena Sand Analysis. This complimentary service includes a gradation test, magnification, and imaging on particle shape and hardness of your sand. Also included is a consultation with one of our arena specialists, who will identify the properties of your report. This free service is a $500 value and provides a crucial step to finding the right footing for your horse arena.
There are more than 10,000 distinct types of sand in North America. “This is a huge challenge for owners and riders to identify which sands are suitable for riding arenas. Our staff has the experience and historical data based on years of research and testing to understand which sand recipes work,” explains Heidi Zorn, president of Premier Equestrian.
With our Arena Sand Analysis, our team will learn about issues you may be having with your existing surface or your specific needs for a new surface. We will ensure compatibility with Premier Footing Products and identify other solutions that could improve your riding arena, such as maintenance, dust, or moisture-control products. So, how do you get started with a free Arena Sand Analysis?
If You Have an Existing Arena:
First, we will have you complete a sand analysis form and ask you to send us a sample of your current arena sand. You will need to collect two cups of sand from the middle of your arena (scoop from the top gently down to the base). Place the sample in a durable plastic bag with your contact information and send it to the Premier Equestrian sand lab to complete the data analysis.
“We magnify your sample and look at the sand qualities,” explains Zorn. “Is it a round sand? A sub-angular sand? Does it pack too much or too little? Once you send us the sand, it gives us a much better idea of how we can correct that sand with an additive.”
Unfortunately, Zorn says many small farm owners make a common mistake when initially building their rings—they simply call the local sand pit and ask for “arena sand.”
“Many pits do construction sands, like mason sand for example, which is a loose, round sand designed not to pack,” says Zorn. “If you call them, you might get an answer like, ‘Fred down the road put this in his arena, it must be good.’ Keep in mind that horse arenas and biomechanics are very specialized. Most sand pits will not know what you need.”
Zorn says that all footing must have four qualities in equal proportions: firmness, cushion, rebound or responsiveness, and grip. The most common issues with home arenas come down to having too much of some qualities and not enough of others. This can result in conditions such as too much dust, too much depth, excessive packing in high traffic areas, or poor performance from the horse. The good news is that for each situation, Premier Equestrian has the perfect custom-designed and affordable solution.
“With loose sands there is a lot of cushion but it’s not very firm and there’s not much grip,” says Zorn. “We can add firmness and grip by adding in fibers or textiles to stabilize it, sort of like how the root system in grass stabilizes a lawn.” For this scenario, we might suggest Premier ProTex™, ArenaAid®, or Premier All Purpose.
Alternatively, for arenas that become too hard packed, a different solution may be required. “This sand is plenty firm and there’s lots of grip, but it has no cushion,” notes Zorn. “If we add rubber to that to introduce voids in the sand, it will give it cushion and responsiveness.” For this scenario, we might suggest Premier ProStride.
If You Are Building a New Arena:
For those who have not yet built their arena, we can help you identify the correct sand to get the surface qualities right from the very start. “Don’t order sand without talking to us first,” cautions Zorn. Premier Equestrian maintains a library of sand pits located all over North America, with notes regarding the specific types of products they carry. Using this resource, Premier’s experts can direct clients to select the material most appropriate for their region and their needs, saving hassle and frustration in the future.
If you are looking for someone to build your arena, contact us for a list of Premier Preferred Arena Builders. We also offer customizable indoor/outdoor arena construction plans that can be given to a local licensed contractor.