Riding outdoors is almost always more fun than indoors. Nevertheless, most riders prefer the indoor arena when the weather is cold and wet. A central component of any indoor riding arena is the arena floor. It must meet various requirements and be maintained regularly. If the floor is unsuitable, the bones or the tendon and muscle apparatus of the horses are subjected to too much stress. Too much dust can also be dangerous for the lungs of rider and horse.
What types of indoor riding arena floors are there and what do you need to consider when caring for them? What are the costs for a riding arena floor? You can find answers to these questions in our guide.
What does the ideal indoor riding arena floor look like?
In the construction of an indoor riding arena floor, a distinction is usually made between two basic systems:
Layer systems (two- or three-layer construction).
Ebb and flow system
Multi-layer riding arena floor systems
A two-layer riding floor system consists of a footing and separation layer. In a three-layer riding surface system, a base layer is also added.
Ebb and flow system
A fully automatic computer control system irrigates the tread layer via a drainage pipe system. This creates the best riding conditions twelve months a year.
Possible materials for the footing layer:
Sand, sand mixtures
Ebb and flow sand with or without aggregates (see below).
What kind of sand to use in the riding arena?
Many riders believe that dust when riding comes exclusively from sand that is too dry. This is not true in this way. As a rule, the right riding sand is not dusty (quartz sand). Riding surfaces start to dust when the amount of organic material becomes too high. The organic material in the riding hall includes especially the rotten horse droppings, on the riding arena leaves are added.
However, if your indoor arena does not use quartz sand, but rather sand with an angular sand grain shape, the floor will also dust more easily.
In general, make sure you keep your riding surface well moist. Then you bind the dust and make sure that the ground is stable and the penetration depth of the hooves fits. The dust will otherwise harm both horse and rider.
Does an indoor riding arena floor have to be constructed differently than a riding arena floor?
Basically, there are hardly any differences in the requirements for outdoor or indoor riding surfaces. However, the drainage properties of the footing and the drainage substructure also play a role in riding arena floors. This factor does not apply to indoor riding arena floors, as they are not exposed to precipitation.
Which indoor arena floor is best for you?
Many factors play a role as selection criteria for a riding hall floor. You need to take the following points into consideration:
Frequency and intensity of use
Time required for maintenance
Most frequently ridden discipline
Variety of use
A tread layer with high shear strength is required if you want to use the arena for jumping. The floor must be stable for the horses and elastic at the same time. Pliable riding surfaces, on the other hand, are advantageous for certain disciplines of western riding. For dressage riding, the floor should have springy properties. Independently of this, the riding arena floor should be able to absorb and store water well. It should not be dusty and should be tread-resistant and elastic.
What is the importance of aggregates for the indoor riding arena floor?
As a rule, sand is used as a tread layer, which is especially suitable for riding. Additives can increase the elasticity and shear strength. Often fleece or screenings are added.
Fleece chippings provide a more stable footing, a higher water storage capacity and improved shear strength. It is important to note that fleece is a synthetic material and should be disposed of in accordance with regulations.
Screenings increase the elasticity of the footing. Since the screenings are ecologically degradable, you do not have to worry about disposal. However, the footing will not last as long as when using fleece chaff. You have to refill the screenings regularly.
How much work is involved in maintaining an indoor arena floor?
Regular floor maintenance includes:
Thorough mucking out (e.g. with manure boys).
Smoothing the floor with a track leveller
In order to keep the indoor arena floor functional, you must, in addition to mucking, regularly strip and water the floor.
Stripping the indoor arena floor
For the stripping you need a riding arena leveller. First, drive over the entire surface in a spiral circle, leveling the riding sand at the hoofbeat towards the inside. Then you drive straight ahead.
How often should you level the riding surface?
Older riding surfaces should be leveled at least once a week, or daily if you use it a lot. After about one to three years, a laser leveler will help get the surface absolutely smooth again.
Watering the hall floor
Before watering, you should level the hall floor. You water the floor evenly so that it is equally dense and heavy everywhere. Otherwise, if the floor is uneven, the indoor arena flooring may shift.
The ground can dry out more quickly in some places (e.g. different levels of sunlight). Here you need to water more intensively.
Preparation and renewal of the riding hall floor
If the indoor riding arena floor becomes less elastic and loses material over time, you should make sure that the floor is leveled again with a laser leveler. You then refill the floor with fresh natural riding sand or a riding sand mix. Sometimes the ground needs to be completely rehabilitated. For this purpose, you can also try a different material as a footing layer. For example, you could use a sand and fleece mixture to provide more elasticity.
How long does a riding arena floor last?
How long your indoor arena floor will last depends on how well you take care of it. If you take good care of it, you can use it for years – but you will need to replenish the footing from time to time. It gets lost a bit over time due to dragging and mucking.
Protecting the indoor arena floor from sub-zero temperatures
The “antifreeze” for indoor riding arena floors is called magnesium chloride. If the dew point is below -20° Celsius, you can add it to slightly frozen ground. Either you distribute the magnesium chloride by hand or with the track leveller. As a rule, manufacturers recommend 200 to 500 grams of magnesium chloride per square meter. After you have applied the agent, you should smooth the floor again with the track leveller.
What does an indoor riding arena floor cost?
For the floor of an indoor riding arena with tournament dimensions (20 m x 40 m) you have to calculate with several thousand dollars . Even five-digit ranges can be reached. Depending on how the riding hall floor is equipped, the prices can be cheaper or more expensive with different suppliers. With specialized riding arena builders, the costs are often higher. However, they have a great deal of know-how and are within a realistic range for complete offers.
With all information on prices, you must always remember that they can fluctuate due to supply shortages.
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