Outdoor arena footing for WINDY area?

Hey everyone.

This winter has been a frustrating one. our family moved to our own small farm almost 2 years ago, and between being pregnant and not having horses started yet, riding was something I did on and off for the pleasure. Now the baby is big enough, and the young horses have been started professionally, and I am ready to ride! However, because the soil here has a lot of clay in it, it is REALLY slick, so I cant ride in the pasture unless it is really dry, and as soon as it dries completely out, we get another snow storm.
This has lead to my husband and I looking into building an outdoor ring and round pen. We have a perfect place, mostly flat with a good slope already for drainage, and lots of sun. However, we live in eastern Colorado, where it isn’t unusual for the winds to be 25+ on a typical day. I’d hate to spend good money on footing only to watch it all blown away, and I was wondering if anyone can offer suggestions on a good base and top layer that is heavy and will stay with the wind blowing the way it does. Thanks for all advice!

When I lived in Colorado way back in the early 80’s, I visited a Morgan farm East of Fort Collins…Green"something". They had a great outdoor with amazing footing. I think it was some kind of stonedust or “screening”. It was gray and much heavier than sand…larger kernals, and it had great drainage. I’ve always wanted that footing, but it isn’t readily available where I live now.

Clay base (packed), with screenings on top. Even better if you can add a little washed sand on top of that. The screenings will form a kind of hard layer where the finer screenings are powdery. The sand and larger screening pieces kind of blend together to form a great non slip footing.

I use a crushed shell over a gravel base. It rides similar to blue stone without the dust. I’m right outside of the outer Banks and let’s just say…there’s a reason the Wright brothers drove from Ohio for their first flight…we pretty much have constant wind lol.

Since it is your private barn, just want to throw in that I have let my arena go to grass, so it is mostly grass on a “real” arena base. Grass is wonderful on windy and sunny days – no blowing sand or dust and no glare.

It is just me doing the riding (and the work), so I feel like mowing is easier than weeding and dragging. It is not all grass yet, but I am getting there. Once in a while, I have a compost/sand mix brought in and spread it where it needs it.