Arena Levelling: What Equipment Do I Need?
We still see a surprising number of people who tow pallets or old gates in an attempt to maintain their surface. If this is similar to what you use to level your riding arena, you’re probably familiar with the main issue this causes. These DIY pieces of equipment can help quickly smooth out a surface and make it look tidy in the short term, but they can’t break up and soften the compacted surface that is left as a result of the horses’ hooves repeatedly stepping on the surface.
All too often, we see horse owners making the large investment of building a new riding arena, but not giving the ongoing maintenance and surface upkeep any thought.
Fortunately, arena levelling equipment has advanced a lot, and there is a reason why arena maintenance equipment is being developed and improved.
Know Your Surface
The exact type of arena levelling equipment that your surface requires to perform at its best will depend on the material it is made up of.
Type of Tines
Tine performance and results depend on the angle at which they touch the arena surface. Tines touching the surface at 90 degrees or less in effect “scratch” the surface, which is ideal for some fluid-moving surfaces such as sand. Whereas a tine angle greater than 90 degrees works forward into the surface and this will fold and mix the surface components in a different way. The most appropriate type will depend on your surface’s material components – get in touch as we’d be happy to advise you about the most suitable type of tine for your surface.
Both the ArenaMate Type 1 and the Type 3 levellers have high-quality agricultural-grade tines for durability and to efficiently loosen the surface materials.
Master Your Equipment
Although an arena leveller is designed to assist with loosening, mixing, levelling and tilling, all in one quick step, it is still important to know how to operate it correctly to make the most out of your equipment. Arena maintenance equipment should be straightforward to use for anyone and everyone once they know how to.
Implications of Using Non-Specialised Equipment
As mentioned, using non-specialised or DIY equipment to level your arena may not effectively break up the hard, compacted layer that forms as a result of footfall on the surface. Arena compaction is a serious issue that affects the safety, performance, and even the soundness of a horse, and is particularly serious in waxed surfaces.
Also note that sand-based surfaces will compact when saturated with water, therefore deeper or more frequent and thorough maintenance is required in wet weather.
A surface that is free from compaction of the top layer is important for force reduction – or cushioning – when the hoof makes contact with the surface. This provides comfort and stability for horses with lameness issues or those without shoes, as well as minimising the risk of injury or lameness as a result of exercise on a hard, compacted surface. Reducing mechanical stress in the horse’s limbs is a high priority for horse owners, who often invest in a variety of boots to protect the tendons, so it also makes sense that they ensure the riding surface has some shock absorption.
The ArenaMate leveller we have today is a result of over 35 years of experience and development. As a family-run business that takes pride in our equipment, we work closely with equestrians to determine the needs of their horses’ riding surface, and to make sure our equipment can create and maintain the best possible riding conditions.
Specially designed equipment should also be easy to manoeuvre so it can be used in more difficult areas, such as lunge pens, and may also have additional features. For example, a side blade can help to effortlessly pull in material from around the kickboards back onto the arena – saving you the back-breaking job of manually going around with a shovel!
Remember: Horse arenas, whether indoor or outdoor, are a large investment and require a lot of money and effort to construct, so make the most of it by keeping it in optimum condition and lasting as long as possible without requiring more expensive maintenance!
Arena maintenance equipment may seem like a considerable investment, but when you compare that with the cost of vet bills and the risk of injury to you or your horse, as well as maximising the lifetime of your arena surface, most horse owners are realising this is a worthwhile investment.
Call us on 01427 728700 for more information.