dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's a real drag


when we bought our property we needed to put in all the things for a proper equestrian establishment. I wanted a full size dressage ring for working in. Since we owned the property for about a year before moving in I spent that year traipsing around the fields in all sorts of weather to see what the best spot was. I discovered that the top of the hill had the best drainage and there was often a nice breeze to carry away the bugs. I claim no expertise in ring construction but I've ridden in many many rings. I asked various people about their ring- what did they love, what would they do different, what would they recommend. I tried to get some estimates. I had one from a recommended company. The quote said, essentially- 1 20 x 60 metre ring $20,000. We didn't have that kind of money and besides it didn't outline what we'd actually get. A few never returned my call. In the end we decided to be our own subcontractors. We armed ourselves with lots of advice from knowledgeable people and went for it. We hired a company to clear and level the spot. I was very clear- it needed to be square and had to measure 66' by 200'. The day the guy finished I was away. Ed refused to pay him until I gave my okay. I came home and measured. It was off on one side. I phoned and said that I would pay when it was done. The owner was annoyed- not with me but by his worker who screwed up. they fixed it the next day.
We then left it all winter to settle. In the spring we borrowed a harrow and brought up a ton of rocks. We then spent a few weeks raking them by hand and moving them with the tractor. I actually developed tennis elbow from all the raking. I also determined that I wanted a sand and rubber mix. Being in Canada, the frost can stay in the ground for a while. Every outdoor ring that I've ridden in that had rubber stayed usable much longer. I investigated various sand types. I went to quarries and brought home samples and then showed them to my personal 'expersts' for opinions. I settled on a natural sand of mixed sizes. I sourced some rubber locally (score!) and hired a friend's partner to haul the rubber for me. The sand came first and we spread it using the tractor and the rake (more elbow pain). Then the rubber was delivered. Irish was quite excited by it, Steele not so much.

I love my ring. it's absolutely fabulous to ride in a full size ring. There is so much more you can do with geometry. And the view is pretty nice too. :)

There are two more things left to do. One is to get a real drag. I would have loved one of those fancy drags but it's not in the budget this year (not if I want to keep my other plans). I settled on this- one side is smooth to level and the other had teeth to bring up the compacted sand. It should be here soon.

How geeky am I that I find this exciting??


  1. Not geeky at all! That's really exciting.

  2. We are talking about arenas now too. I love our arena here -- Brett put it in after doing a lot of research -- like you. Its a mix of sand and Nike footing (rubber). Its a small dressage size and I'd like a full court at our next home and one without high rails to bump against. I love how yours looks. Envy....

  3. That's Truly A Great Arena!
    Your Research Paid Off And The Drag, Well Be Good.

  4. Gorgeous! I want one lol!! Oh and it's not geeky at all to be excited about your arena. :D


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