What do you want from an equestrian arena surface? In short, you want a long-lasting surface which maximises the horse's performance with the least amount of stress and strain.
Key Arena Surface Requirements
- Sufficient support for the horse, providing enough traction. A surface that is too soft will ride too deep and loose which can potentially cause strain injuries and is energy sapping.
- Sufficient impact absorption. Too hard a surface and the horse may be susceptible to impact injuries and jarring. Sufficient cushioning gives both horse and rider a better ride.
- Consistent, stable and safe footing.
- Good drainage.
- Weather resistant.
- Sufficient moisture retention to reduce dust.
- Long-lasting performance and durability.
- Non-post consumer.
- Environmentally friendly.
Fibre versus Rubber versus Woodchip
We strongly believe that a good quality sand and fibre arena outperforms other current arena surfaces. Whilst rubber gives a good impact absorption and can ride well in the right conditions, it can be inconsistent and often becomes dry, dusty and loose in hot weather. This is due to the rubber causing sand particles to fracture and break down, which reduces performance and leads to a shorter life span. Rubber is also environmentally unfriendly. Another surface option, woodchip, will rot down and so is not long-lasting. It can become slippery and does not provide good drainage.
Good quality arena fibre and arena sand covers all of the key arena surface requirements listed above. The fibre should be mixed into the sand, rather than left as a topper, in order to perform optimally. Fibre which is left on top of the sand does not improve the quality of the sand surface underneath, so often resulting in a poor base surface. The top fibre is also more likely to move.
Fibre mixed in with the sand stabilises the surface and helps the horse ride on top of the surface rather than riding too loose and deep, whilst improving impact absorption and giving a cushioned ride. In our opinion, it is the best choice for equestrian surfaces in all disciplines, but to give the best performance, you need to get suitable sand sub-angular in shape and good quality fibre. This doesn't mean that it's the most expensive option. Actually, adding fibre to any sub-angular sand can give huge cost savings on the sand, correctly mixed sand helps prevent the surface from moving, resulting in longer lasting performance, less dust, and less necessity for the very high cost sand.
Fibre helps provide a more weatherproof surface. It adds insulation to the surface; Nylon in the fibres, which is a constituent part of Endurance fibre, help to retain moisture within the surface, having the effect of both helping prevent the surface from freezing in the winter or drying out in the summer. Quality fibres should be dust-extracted thus helping prevent the surface in turn becoming dusty; a correctly maintained surface helps to slow the degradation of the sand and also aids moisture retention. Good fibres should aid drainage and be mildew and rot resistant. Fully synthetic fibres have excellent longevity, as they will not rot down, unlike wool or organic material derivative carpet fibres.
Which Sand to Choose
If you'd rather not get bogged down by the details of which arena sand to choose, just give us a call and we can discuss your sand requirements. We can even order it for you or we can direct you to the right place to get it yourself. If you've already got sand in your arena, you can still upgrade the surface by adding fibre. If you don't know what type of sand you currently have, you can just send us a small sample and we'll suggest which fibre is best for you.
Here are a few key pointers:
- Sub-angular sands are preferred - they give the right amount of compaction and traction, without riding too deep.
- Hard sand is strongly advised and soft sands should be avoided if at all possible.
- Ideally, arena sand should have a size range of between 60 and 200 sieve particles, with about 7% below 200 sieve.
- High quality silica sand is less susceptible to breaking down. If money is no object, then this would be the preferred choice, but there are cheaper viable options which still give good performance when used with good quality fibre.
- The sand should be clean with most silt and clay removed. In very sandy and well-drained areas, a small amount of clay can help with moisture retention. Large grains should have been removed so that the sand is more uniform.
Even if you've not got the preferred sand, fibre can help improve the performance. Integrated into the sand, it can help with loose surfaces and compacted surfaces, as well as helping with the longevity of the sand. In some cases, such as courser sub-angular sands or for people wanting an even tighter surface, a fibre with Lycra may be beneficial.
For more detailed information about Arena Sand, see our 'Which Sand to Choose for an Equestrian Arena Surface' post.
Whilst adding fibre to your arena does reduce maintenance, all arenas of any surface still need to be regularly maintained. Good fibres help you ride on top of the surface, rather than through it, which helps prevent movement of the surface, but some surface movement cannot be eliminated. The key is to keep on top of it, before any issues arise. By regularly harrowing the arena, maintenance time is ultimately reduced. Sand and fibre arenas do require irrigation in dry conditions. Read more about Arena Maintenance here.
More Information / How to Buy
Endurance Arena Fibre is a high quality arena fibre at a competitive price, suitable for upgrading existing sand arenas or as a new sand & fibre surface. It uses new loom-end carpet fibres so is non-post consumer and comes laboratory quality guaranteed, dust-extracted and with no contaminants. Endurance Arena Fibre gives your horse the optimal surface for absorption & stability, giving you the perfect ride.
Choose from delivery only, installation or get a complete arena build. Our fibre is in stock and ready to deliver. For more information or to place an order, contact us.