It can be difficult to keep your horse in work through the winter with the unpredictable weather and the shorter daylight hours. But if your arena footing starts freezing, then it can prevent you from being able to work your horse at all, no matter how determined you are. These tips can help you to prevent your arena footing from freezing so you can continue to work and even get a jump on next year’s show season.
Start with a Quality Arena
If you’re building a facility, then you really need to invest in a quality arena that’s constructed correctly. Don’t skimp on the quality of your arena base. The base is what helps to drain water out of your footing, and if your base isn’t constructed correctly, your footing will freeze sooner and more quickly. Additionally, take your time in exploring footing options and choose a footing that is resistant to freezing, such as a coated sand. A supplier, and other great resource, for this is Attwood Equestrian Surfaces.
The location of your outdoor arena can also help to keep it from freezing during the winter. If possible, situate your arena so that it’s in an area that’s higher than the surrounding land. This will help to prevent water runoff from affecting your arena, leaving the footing drier.
Locating your arena so that it’s in an area that receives plenty of sun can also be beneficial in the winter. The direct sun might not be appreciated during the summer, though, so you’ll need to weigh the benefits that each location offers.
If you already have an arena in place, there are still ways that you can prevent the footing from freezing. Excess moisture in the footing will only make the issue worse, so creating more drainage can help.
If you find that water is draining down into your arena from the surrounding land, then you may be able to have an excavator change the angles of the land or install drainage pipes or a drainage system to help with the issue.
Noticing issues with how your arena is draining? It may be time to have the arena re-graded, so the base is angled differently to help promote more effective drainage.
Treat with Magnesium Chloride
Magnesium Chloride can help to lower the freezing temperature of your arena, and it’s best used for indoor arenas, since it can wash away in outdoor applications. You’ll need between 2 and 4 ounces of Magnesium Chloride per square foot of arena space to prevent freezing. Go sparingly, though; it’s best to put down a minimal amount and then add more later if needed. Magnesium Chloride is somewhat corrosive, so you don’t want to load your footing up with more than necessary.
Use Other Additives
If you’re working with an outdoor arena, Magnesium Chloride may not be the right solution, but there are plenty of other additives that you can mix into your footing to help prevent freezing. Rubber and textile fibers can help to reduce the dust in your arena while also slowing the freezing process. They’re also suitable for indoor or outdoor use, making them versatile options.
With a few changes, you can extend the usefulness of your riding arena through the winter. Now is the time to make these changes, before the cold weather arrives. Enjoy your ride!