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Mushy Spots in Outdoor Arena, Please share what's worked for you!

We moved into a farm in W WA this summer. We had plans to put in a nice outdoor in the future. However, we discovered a grown-over arena and decided it was worth the money to have it scraped and use for now. I know it was not ever “properly” installed, but I grew up riding on several arenas that also weren’t done the “correct” way with bases and they worked quite well. This area is driving me crazy, however, and I wanted to see if anyone else has done a fix for places in theirs. I know it will never work in a monsoon, but something’s gotta give.

It has developed about half a dozen spots on one side where the horses are blowing right through the sand and the soil base beneath is softer than the rest for some reason. My thought is to scrape the sand back in those areas and put in a light layer of very small (smaller than driveway), angular rock before putting the sand back over. Seems like the rock if it mixes a little with the sand won’t be large enough to cause hoof issues and it might give some grip on our loam soil (has a fair amount of clay).

Other ideas that don’t break the bank?

Probably would work as a quick fix, but you’ll need to make sure you compact it well. You want material that is considered “modified”, meaning it has rock of various sizes from the largest being what you ask for (typically 3/4") down through “dust”. That helps it all lock together when you compact it. Try to do larger areas for your “fix” up to something that includes all of the problem spots so you have a more seamless base under that entire area. Compacting not only stabilizes things, it will help reduce incidence of rock migrating into your sand.

You can rent a small compactor relatively easily for this job…

Western Washington and outdoor arenas are often incompatible–unless the ring is installed correctly, with slope, French drains, and the right base and footing for the location. There are likely springs or the like under that side of the ring. You can strip that side, and do what you’ve described, but when you can afford it, definitely hire an experienced arena specialist to at least create a plan for a new ring. Outdoor rings done right here are very rideable, year round. Good luck!

I agree with Calvincrowe…and will re-emphasize that the “quick fix” is just that and likely temporary. Give you get “a few” raindrops out that way during the year, a properly installed arena is a must for long term use and satisfaction.

Thanks. Yes, I know that quick fixes are not the best option, but right now its inexpensive fixes or nothing. I wish I had $10k to drop on a professionally installed ring :slight_smile:

Thanks. Yes, I know that quick fixes are not the best option, but right now its inexpensive fixes or nothing. I wish I had $10k to drop on a professionally installed ring :)[/QUOTE]

10k will just about cover rock and sand products for an average outdoor ring in this country… no grading, geotek fabric, drainage work, labor, trucking of materials, etc etc. For an all-weather ring like mine (which Mr. AdAblurr built a couple years ago) - it was well over 10k in material alone. To ride outdoors all winter in this climate, you have to have it done RIGHT.

As a fellow Western WA farm owner and one who has lived and ridden here for over 23 years I will tell you… There are no quick fixes and it’s not worth investing any kind of money unless you have installed professionally and properly. We tried for years and years (10+) to make our home built outdoor rideable. We even installed french drains ourselves, thinking they would be some kind of magical fix. Nope! In hindsight, we’ve probably spent as much money trying to patch as we would have spent to do it right in the first place.

We finally had a professional come in and do the grading, only to have commercial loggers clearcut the 100+ acres behind us 6 months later causing the nearby stream to overflow its banks and make it 100% unusable even in the dead of summer. :mad: But I digress…

Were I you I would just save my pennies and wait to do it right rather than putting a ton of time and effort into something that will only last VERY temporarily. Unfortunately with our weather it’s just the way it is on most properties.