Having the right footing in an equine arena is only part of the equation for providing a safe place to ride for horses and humans. Having the right equipment to maintain that footing is extremely important.
Soundness can be directly linked to the footing in your arena. Regularly grooming of the footing in the arena ensures that your horse has the right support underfoot. Infrequently groomed arenas can be costly to repair. Repeated rail riding leads to deep ruts and compacted areas. When dips, divots and uneven spots are left too long, it could mean going back to the base to fix it—and that’s costly.
That’s where arena drags can help.
An arena drag is any attachment you can use to dig into the footing, break it up, smooth it, level it, and fluff it up. The most basic, economical drag looks like a section of a chain-link fence with little teeth. This budget-friendly option simply hooks up to the back of a small utility vehicle, truck or tractor. Placing a tire on top of the drag adds extra weight to allow the drag to better work up the dirt.
High-traffic arenas require more advanced equipment. These more advanced drags and arena groomers save on time and more thoroughly turn the footing. Some have multiple rows of teeth, followed by a clod buster and a roller. Others have from one to three circular rakes.
When choosing a drag, or making your own, be sure it’s only working the top layer and not disturbing the base.
Tips for making the most of your area groomer:
- Change the drag patterns and look for areas where a lot of dirt has been displaced.
- The moisture content plays a major role in the quality of the footing. Add water when necessary.
- Take your time and drag an arena more than once for the best results.
Chances are you’ve put a lot of time and money into your arena. Maximize the investment with routine maintenance.