Author Topic: Grooming Dirt Floor  (Read 2001 times)

Sarah Fix

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Grooming Dirt Floor
« on: November 10, 2016, 08:56:03 AM »
I've tried for years to properly express my desires to the person(s) grooming the arena that we've been using.  In April we are changing to a new arena (cheaper and nicer) for our next trial.  I want to get this right the first time.  How do I tell horse people the best way to groom floors for dog people?  How much fluff?  Water or not?  I know some of it depends on what we are working with as to the "dirt".

Sarah Fix
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Marcy Matties

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Re: Grooming Dirt Floor
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2016, 09:01:00 AM »
I would love to have an answer to this question as well.  Our arena is sometimes good, sometimes OK, sometimes neither (lately more good than not).  Any kind of instructions/hints/tips would be helpful.
Marcy, Toby, Dublin and Odie
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Rena Bonem

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Re: Grooming Dirt Floor
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2016, 12:08:02 PM »
Unfortunately, I have not found an easy answer to this.  It depends on multiple factors:

1) What is the mixture of sand, clay, and organic matter? 
2) What is the weather?  How high is the humidity and do you have to run fans or heaters?
3) How many runs per day?
4) Big dogs and small dogs have different preferences!

What I want more than anything else is a flat surface that is packed with a thin loose layer on top.  I hate seeing people and dogs trip!  When it is hot and we have to run fans, we have so much sand that it dries out and the loose sand is too soft, but if we have cool humid weather, it can be perfect.  In another year, the sand content will have gone down (it moves down with time) and it will be better.   An ideal mix is no more than 50% sand based on my geology background!

In the past, we had a guy who would water too much and plow 2-3 feet down, leaving clumps that were bigger than small dogs and grooves that would cause problems for people and dogs.  When the horses started tripping, the arena fired him.  Currently, we have a man whose full time job is maintaining dirt roads for the County.  He understands flat, does not plow deeply, and fluffs the surface with a drag.  The moisture content is the constant challenge because it is weather dependent.  They water deeply on Wednesday before the trial, plow and drag Thursday and sometimes Friday morning.  If we could water during the trial it would help, but half of the people who enter the trial crate on dirt and they would be wet.

Rena from Waco
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Re: Grooming Dirt Floor
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2016, 04:16:38 PM »
Sarah, as you know, we hold our trials at the Georgia International Horse Park. We've had good results telling the facility manager that we want the surface prepared as if it were going to be used for dressage - packed, but with just an inch of cushion on top. We have our ring groomed and watered at least every 24 hrs during our shows. We met with the staff well in advance of our first show so we could get to know each other and talk about the surface. Good luck with the new venue! Diane
Diane Driscoll
Greensboro GA

Ed Scharringhausen

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Re: Grooming Dirt Floor
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 05:25:05 AM »
Floor base is a big factor. As opposed to the 'hard' dirt in many arenas, our has a great sand mix... so no rocks or clumps.

The hard surfaces have to watch out for hard cumps no t brokenup and some are loaded with stones or even some rocks. Adding sand really helps, but somme sites are resistant to do this a time or two.

In our sand base... We grate to 2" deep and WATER! (no more than 3" sand this is deep and can make soft areas that we have to rake during trial... very laborious).  The sand arenas are 'fluid' in that they can change based on humidity and temperature. Two big deals before trial are 1) water just enough and more if its been dry outside.. start a few days ahead and then the day or night before. If its been rainy or humid less water.   and 2) Horse places we have worked with are used to a bit deeper base than dogs people.

We recently tested 2 areas in our arena... said this is perfect and that's what our last rrial surface was... Perfect for us. suggestion is take a small section or two in the arena... geet ti the way you want it and tell arena this is perfect with the question: "How can you get it and kkeep it this way for our trials?" 

Hope this helps.
Ed Scharringhausen
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