Underfoot – The United States Dressage Federation Guide to Arena Construction, Maintenance and Repair
Footing is important. Your horse’s health and performance ability depend on quality footing. The surface that a horse works on should be considered carefully. In other sports, research is extensive and great care is taken to maintain the track or field on which the athlete trains and competes. The equine athlete should be given equal consideration. In recent years, new technologies and research offer the chance to provide a surface that can minimize injury and enhance performance.
- Pre-construction preparation
- Building a solid foundation
- The base
- Footing selection and maintenance
- Indoor Arenas
- Solutions to specific arena problems
The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) has researched and written this booklet because a proper footing surface is imperative in the training and performance of dressage horses. Though written for dressage arena construction, the principles here can be applied in general to other equestrian sports, from jumping to reining to barrel racing. The construction of the riding arena below the footing surface will vary slightly between disciplines while ideal firmness, cushioning, rebound, and traction of the riding surface will vary widely across disciplines and will require different ratios of footing materials.
This booklet describes the construction process in detail. You will be able to determine how best to deal with the variables in your locale including soil and subsoil conditions, water and rainfall, availability of materials, construction equipment, and techniques. Cost saving ideas are also presented to provide options for those on a tighter budget.