Author Topic: Outdoor arena surface recommendations?  (Read 1833 times)

Jean Sather (McCreight)

  • 2016 Online Seminar Group
  • *****
  • Posts: 332
Outdoor arena surface recommendations?
« on: July 22, 2015, 02:39:53 PM »
Hi, our club has lost its grass training area at the local fairgrounds, and they have offered us a new area, 90' x 130', which at the moment consists of leveled (and very hard-packed) dirt, topped off with sand ranging from 1-1/2" to 3-1/2" in depth.  None of us are happy with this as a running surface, and we are being asked to provide input for a better surface for the future.

We are considering recommending some sort of sand/sawdust mixture, but just thought I'd toss out the question for input from other individuals/groups who have researched the subject and are willing to share their experiences and knowledge.  This is an outdoor agility arena (used basically May-September) in a part of the country where it is more likely to be dry, than wet.  Initial cost is a consideration, also on-going maintenance needs (the less, the better, since none of us live on-site and would probably have to ask for maintenance help from the fairgrounds).  Would appreciate any advice offered.  Thanks in advance.
Jean & Tux
Montana

Deanna in OR

  • *****
  • Posts: 14
Re: Outdoor arena surface recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 11:38:05 PM »
I don't know if it's an option where you are, but we put cedar "hogfuel" on our personal outdoor agility arena (120 x 120).  It's spread over heavy-duty landscape cloth.  "Hogfuel" is basically shredded cedar.  It's very fluffy at first, which many people don't like, but after a winter of Oregon rain, it mostly matts down to a sort of wood felt.  It can still get "fluffed" where dogs run.  It can be raked pretty easily.  You could probably pack it down with a heavy roller (the kind landscapers use to smooth out newly seeded lawn areas).

It will support some weed growth but with the landscape cloth underneath, the weeds generally don't get a good "root-hold" and are easy to pull up.

Even when it's new, it's not really any softer or fluffier than some sand/sawdust mixtures I've run on.  It's hard to get it perfectly smooth, but it's not any lumpier than most grass lawns.  You usually start with about 4-6" depth which will pack down to 1-2" thick, over time. 

We've had it for 5 years now.  It does require some renewing (add more hogfuel).  I've heard of some dogs having allergies to cedar, but the volatile oils evaporate after a few weeks in the sun.  My Collies get shreds of cedar in their fur but it comes out easily; the border collie doesn't really pick it up at all.

Water drains through it really well, so we can run on it soon after rains, a real bonus in Oregon.  No mud!

I've added a photo of our agility field.

Another alternative--I have a friend who used "decomposed granite" for her agility field--a lot like sand, but it packs down without turning to a hard-packed surface.

Deanna Lyons
Deanna L in OR
NATCH-4 Vers-NATCH-4 Willow
Bree, the agility collie in training (catching up!)

Sharon Nelson

  • Mother NADAC
  • **
  • Posts: 5860
Re: Outdoor arena surface recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2015, 07:47:04 AM »
I don't know if it's an option where you are, but we put cedar "hogfuel" on our personal outdoor agility arena (120 x 120).  It's spread over heavy-duty landscape cloth.  "Hogfuel" is basically shredded cedar.  It's very fluffy at first, which many people don't like, but after a winter of Oregon rain, it mostly matts down to a sort of wood felt.  It can still get "fluffed" where dogs run.  It can be raked pretty easily.  You could probably pack it down with a heavy roller (the kind landscapers use to smooth out newly seeded lawn areas).

It will support some weed growth but with the landscape cloth underneath, the weeds generally don't get a good "root-hold" and are easy to pull up.

Even when it's new, it's not really any softer or fluffier than some sand/sawdust mixtures I've run on.  It's hard to get it perfectly smooth, but it's not any lumpier than most grass lawns.  You usually start with about 4-6" depth which will pack down to 1-2" thick, over time. 

We've had it for 5 years now.  It does require some renewing (add more hogfuel).  I've heard of some dogs having allergies to cedar, but the volatile oils evaporate after a few weeks in the sun.  My Collies get shreds of cedar in their fur but it comes out easily; the border collie doesn't really pick it up at all.

Water drains through it really well, so we can run on it soon after rains, a real bonus in Oregon.  No mud!

I've added a photo of our agility field.

Another alternative--I have a friend who used "decomposed granite" for her agility field--a lot like sand, but it packs down without turning to a hard-packed surface.

Deanna Lyons

Yep!  We used hogfuel in our ring in Idaho and it was awesome!  A lot of work to put down, but worth it.  The downfall is that it cannot be "worked" if people also want to use the ring for horses.

Sharon
Sharon
In-Sync-Agility

Jean Sather (McCreight)

  • 2016 Online Seminar Group
  • *****
  • Posts: 332
Re: Outdoor arena surface recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 05:23:38 AM »
Thanks for the responses and the picture!  I didn't know what this stuff was called .... :-)
Jean & Tux
Montana