Fiber or rubber footing

I’m redoing my outdoor arena. 100x200 in south Texas. Mainly jumping. Nothing over 4’. There are so many options and I’ve seen people happy & unhappy. What are everyone’s experiences?

I can’t speak to fiber arenas, except that I enjoy riding on them a lot.
Currently I’m renting a farm with a rubber arena. The horses seem to like the footing. My picky gelding happily goes on it. But it certainly has pros and cons.
Pros:

  • less dragging required. I can get away with one drag a week with an average of 25 rides a week.
  • Easy to drag. A chain drag will do a good job. No need for a really expensive special drag. About once every 3 months you have to pull the rubber from the edges back into the middle with a rake, but that takes very little time.
  • Very little dust. Of course this depends on what sand you combine with it, but even in the worst dry spells it’s not so dusty that you feel like you need to go shower your lungs out.
  • horses seem to like it.

Cons:

  • the rubber floats. Every hard rain, it piles up in little rivulets and I have to drag it all back together. Luckily it doesn’t seem to float out, just clump.
  • If you wait too long between dragging it becomes rock hard. The rubber all comes to the top and it’s terrible. Like, make your horse look a little lame terrible.
  • It has about a 15-20 year lifespan. Eventually the rubber gets brittle and hard from being in the sun. Which means about every 15 years you will need to replace your rubber. It’s not particularly difficult to do ( since it floats, you just wait a few weeks without using the arena and scrape the top off) but it leads me to my last point
  • it can be really difficult to dispose of. Some states have very strict laws on rubber disposal. You take the gamble on if in 15-20 years your state will have those same regulations.

I don’t know if the fiber arenas degrade or not. It would be interesting to see if anyone has an older fiber arena and how the fiber is doing.

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