increasing stability of sand footing?

Hi! I’m looking for some ideas on what I can add to an existing outdoor arena sand footing to improve stability? It’s 2" sand footing (I believe washed, not sure on the angularity) on top of a professionally installed limestone base. It’s crowned, drains extremely well (I can ride an hour or two after a downpour), and is about 2-3 years old. It does get dusty if we haven’t had rain for a week or more. Light traffic, home arena. I find that it rides a bit deep, and leaves deep hoofprints. I want to increase the shear resistance and stability and reduce the depth. I have an excellent arena groomer, and no installed irrigation. I’m hoping to find something reasonably inexpensive and long lasting. Used for dressage, occasional light jumping, and general pleasure riding. Any recommendations would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Following this with interest as I have the exact same issue!

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I had a similar problem in my indoor. We added an inch of a Department of Transportation limestone manufactured product to screenings. The arena builder said he also uses that DOT product to stabilize plain sand. The DOT product looks a lot like the material used in bluestone rings.

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I concur with the stone dust recommendation. If you already have 2” of sand, you may want to remove some of it before mixing in the stone dust. The behavior and care of the footing will change somewhat - stone dust tends to pack hard when it needs grooming, and it’s going to be as or more dusty than sand when it gets dry.

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Thank you for the recommendations! If there’s anything that will help retain a little moisture and reduce dust that would be ideal… I had considered fibar or some sort of wood, but I realize that will need replacing/redoing periodically and will get dusty when it breaks down. Any thoughts on that?

Samigator - beware the old Fibar wood product. Not sure it is even made anymore. A stable I trained at had it “back in the day” and it was very slippery and splintery. There are many much better newer products these days. Don’t use wood based product.

I have this problem in my indoor. It was recommended to add some “dirty” sand which means smaller particles. Similar to the stone dust mentioned above I guess. It will pack more but possibly be more dusty. I did that but I’m still not really happy with it. My indoor is oiled but my outdoor has two kinds of sand. One has larger particles which will rise to the top when it rains and this supposedly keeps the dust down. It is not too bad unless we get a week or so with no rain.

Hope that helps. Like yours, mine only gets light use and I think more traffic would make it pack better.

Speak to your local sand and gravel operator. They know the available sand in your area, and what will work. It may involve removing a truck load from your arena :mad:.

When doing an arena, you can always add more footing, It is a P–A to remove.

i have a similar issue. mine is great when it has a bit of moisture on it and it holds the moisture pretty well. it drains and doesnt pack down. I have the same–washed concrete sand.

What about installing a nice watering system? Sprinklers or a reel?

Add what is called “mansand” (manufactured sand), it is essentially crushed limestone, between that and screenings, stone dust, road base, whatever it is called in your area, it will help pack down some and is easily drug with a chain harrow. You may have to remove some of your existing sand though if it is true beach type sand. You can always make pasture rolling pits out of it or save it in a pile to fill in low spots as your ring settles further :)!!

My trainer just added this to his sand footing. It is awesome. Even when it’s dry the footing doesn’t get loose. And we are jumping fairly large things! 😁

What type of sand did you have? Did you look at this arena footing ? I didnt want to buy a new drag or have to water the heck out of it. Im in Arizona though. I also added a product called dusthalt which stabilizes the sand around our jumps especially our boarders could tell a huge difference.

What you find is going to depend on what part of the country you’re in. Definitely call your local sand and gravel places. You want a limestone quarry, not a pea gravel quarry. Manufactured sand or a really coarse aglime would be what you’d want, and it will depend on what local producers are running or have in stockpiles at the time. If one of your locals has a really GOOD salesperson, he or she will be willing to point you in the right direction even if it’s not what they produce, I know I do.

If you happen to be in Iowa or Illinois, hit me up and I can give you specific recommendations.

I am looking at this too (Dust Halt plus the foam footing made by Performance Footing). Did you try it or get any other reviews? I do light jumping and flat work in a small home arena. 2 horses worked daily so not high traffic. But we get dusty, hard and have to use too much water with pure sand but also want to be environmentally friendly. GGT too expensive and beyond my needs - will trailer out for that :wink:

I put the foam footing in our walker for now. Works great. Between that and dust halt i probably water 75% or so less there. It did take some time to bind (couple weeks) but really reduced compaction and horses seem to love the difference. I did put in more than the calculator showed though about 2x, because it was a walker. For dust halt i think we apply it every 2-3 months but the one bucket will last us a year at least. We are looking at putting their Arena Green in next in our main arena so dont have to water or have any dust. Cant wait for that!

If you consider watering the arena, we use a 500 gallon fire fighting wagon, pulled by any pickup, waters in five minutes and very even.
They have some on trailers, some on skids you can put on a trailer or back of pickup.
Is the same construction crews use to water pads before compacting and dirt roads to keep dust down.
We use it mainly for fighting prairie fires, to pump out/haul water to stock tanks and we water the covered arena with it also.
It looks just like this one, has two nuzzles on the back that spray a very nice, even 30’ pattern:

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Thanks for the update! The guy that does my arena is talking with this and another company to work out the cost for me. These sound like terrific options for those of use who can’t afford GGT or don’t want to have to get their specific dragger.