This week we will be covering the various aspects of equine surface maintenance and what equipment is required depending on what surface is currently installed in your Horse Arena.
When considering any maintenance programme for your equine surface you need to take into consideration which surface you have, amount of use as well as ambient weather conditions.
There are many Manège surfaces available on the market, each requiring a specific maintenance program.
- Sand only surface
- Sand and pvc surface
- Sand and rubber chip manège surface
- Non-waxed Silica sand and fibre manège surface
- Fully waxed Silica sand and fibre manège surface
Dry (non-waxed) manège surfaces though being preferred by many riders and being more cost affective by their nature require far more maintenance than their fully waxed counter parts.
Equipment required for each surface is as follows:
The Sand only Surface doesn’t require specific maintenance equipment, this surface can be maintained using a flat bar Harrow, rake and water sprinkler. This surface is a very basic equestrian surface which most of the time (apart from very wet periods) is very unstable and as such will require levelling after almost every use.
Sand and pvc granulate surface is quite an old idea now and as with the sand only surface doesn’t require much in the way of specialist equipment, but again however will require levelling after almost every use to avoid creating a perimeter track around your Manège and in doing so cause possible damage to your membrane.
The Sand and rubber chip surface though being a very popular choice of past years is steadily going out of fashion, you tend to find with this type of surface that over time the Silica sand will compact down to a solid base with the rubber chip left floating on top.
This surface tends not to freeze through the winter months due to the insulation provided by the rubber chip. Maintence equipment required for a sand and rubber surface is a flat bar Harrow and a sprinkler for the dry summer months.
The our new range of non-waxed Silica sand and fibre surfaces do however require more specialist equipment though the benefits of this type of surface far out weigh the requirement for the specialist equipment. These surfaces are low maintence though do require the correct Manège Harrow to keep them performing at their best. The best ménage Harrow for this type of surface is made up of a passive spring tine and crumbler roller, the passive part of the description is important to note as this type of tine simply grooms the surface only penetrating the surface by 10mm – 20mm, deeper penetration may lead to the loosening of the surface though the stability will return after a few days.
The crumbler roller attachment which is generally fitted to this type of Harrow is also useful as although there is not a great deal of weight to this Manège Harrow it enables re-compaction of the surface just enough to bring the surface stability back after harrowing.
Silica sand and fibre surfaces may also require an amount of watering during prolonged dry spells, the equestrian surface fibre additive is excellent at retaining moisture though during the summer months this may deminish meaning watering may be required.
This brings us onto our fully waxed Pre-mixed surfaces, these surfaces can be pretty much maintence free and require very little or no watering as the wax additive binds the various surface properties together. These make excellent indoor equestrian surfaces as no watering is required and obviously as indoor manèges don’t have the luxury of rainfall they work perfectly for this use.
These surfaces require a slightly different type of Horse Arena Harrow, they require a Harrow tine which is slightly more aggressive. Fully waxed equestrian surfaces can over time compact down quite hard. This more aggressive tine is used to break up the compaction leading to far better surface performance.
In conclusion surface maintence is an essential part of owning a horse arena manège, following each maintence program for each respective surface will provide you with a well performing long lasting equestrian surface.