Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Arena Project - Phase Two

Phase One

Phase Two - Consultation

Once I got the green light from Marge to contact Mr. K about the status of our arena footing, I decided to drive over to his place to talk to him instead of calling him on the phone. Besides being more personal by meeting face to face, I thought that if I called him he might not remember who I was and that might be a bit uncomfortable for both of us.

I stopped by the barn first, but he wasn't there. I had a brief visit with two ladies who had their horses at the barn when Kaswyn was there. They seemed very much the same, and we chatted about shows and horse health. The barn was pretty much as I remember it - clean, quiet, and very warm. It's certainly been the warmest barn I've ever boarded in, which is very nice in the winter. Surprisingly it's not too hot in the summer either.

One of the gals told me that Mr. K was up at his house, and that I should feel free to stop by and talk to him. I walked up to the house, knocked on the door, and hear him yell "Come on in!" so I let myself in. Just as I said hello, his phone rang. He answered and I came in and sat down.

I busied myself by petting his dog, but since he was sitting right there it was hard not to hear his conversation. I actually heard both parts because the man on the other end of the phone was practically screaming as he was talking. Either that or the phone was just turned up really loud. Anyway, their conversation just happened to be about arenas.

See, I knew the man that Mr. K was talking to. He has a business that designs, constructs, and maintains arenas. He had called Mr. K to talk about the new footing that was going in some arena someplace and wanted to meet with Mr. K at the site to evaluate the job that was being done. They discussed various aspects of the job and agreed to meet.

When he hung he said "That was D. We were just talking about the arena that going up for this certain horse show."

I said "That's funny that you'd get that phone call now, because I'm here to ask for your expert opinion about arena footing."

He immediately went into information mode, saying "Indoor or outdoor?"

I began to explain the situation, telling him about the footing that we took out, how I thought the base looked pretty good, and about all the sand we put in there. Even though I was afraid that he might criticize me, I admitted to being the brains behind all that sand. He was very kind, saying "Well, at least you were trying to improve on what you had." I also told him that it was very uneven with high and low spots that needed to be taken care of.

He said that sand alone is not the best footing, but a mixture of sand and loam that he calls a racetrack mix. He said that the best depth is about an inch and a quarter, up to about an inch and three quarters, but less footing means more management (watering and dragging) to keep it in place. Water is key to maintaining the spring and give of the footing, so maintaining the right amount of moisture is important.

He asked what equipment we had to drag with, and I told him that we had a small drag that was in bad shape but worked enough to even the top out. He said that his drag is hydrolic and allows him to really work the footing to make it very even if there happens to be little rises or dips due to jumps or riding. He said that he has a few clients that he visits once, maybe twice a year depending on how much use the arena gets. With theses arenas they water and drag with a "top" drag just to get the footprints out of the footing, and then he comes in and does maintenace to even out the ring with his hydrolic drag. It's a reasonable price too, and while he didn't outright offer to do this for us, he implied that it's something that he'd be open to.

Then he says "Since this isn't your arena, what will you be allowed to do?" I told him that Marge was my friend and that she would do whatever it took to fix the footing, keeping in mind that we're on a budget of close to nothing. He said that the best thing would be to remove all the sand and replace it with the racetrack mix, but knowing that we can't afford that then maybe we could just remove the excess footing. He asked who would be doing the maintenance, and I told him that it would probably be me and my friend, and that I'd probably be dragging the footing with the little rickety drag pulled behind the barn's four wheel ATV. He said he thought that would work just fine.

Finally he said "Look, we can sit around here all day and discuss your situation, but I can't really tell you what needs to be done until I see the arena. Let me come over, say in about two weeks, and see what you have. I'll take a look, kick around the footing, and let you know what I think. We can go from there."

I took his cell phone number and I'll be calling him in about two weeks. In the meantime I'm just riding Kaswyn and Albert very lightly. I do about ten minutes just to keep them moving and loose. I'm too afraid to push either one of them in the deep sand.

Phase Two - completed!

Phase Three - Evaluation


Anonymous said...

How nice of him! He must be really passionate about arenas to get involved so quickly. I hope he can come up with something quick and easy to fix the problem - or that you win the superlotto so you can do the bigger fix.

20 meter circle of life said...

It sounds like you are on your way. Good luck and you are doing awesome in this process. I am glad to hear you are able to ride a bit.

Katie said...

wow this seems like an interesting thread! I can't wait to hear more about it! Hopefully he'll be able to do something that will improve it greatly, it must be annoying not being able to ride Kaswyn.

Oh and I agree with redkcolumbus. Bring on the superlotto!

Wiola said...

Fingers crossed for the success of further phases :) Improving the arena I ride Hamlet at made such a big difference that I have no doubts your yard will love it once it's done!

PS. Thank you for your advice on "dressage legs" :)Will be testing it tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Your invited...

To join this horse time lapse photo contest!

Hosted by The Equus Ink

Contest ends 3/5/08


EVERYONE can vote for the winner between 3/5 and 3/8!!

Come join in and have some fun!

Rising Rainbow said...

You are moving right along. Good for you. I sure wish we had and arena footing guru here. Around here there seem to be a zillion different people with at least that many opinions. One person who really knew his stuff must be great.

I with the others on the superlotto. lol Wouldn't that be a trip. Heck you could build your own arena and...............lol

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr