The Benefits of Sand & Fibre Arenas
Reasons To Choose A Beta-Ride Sand & Fibre Arena Surface
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 & strain.
Key Arena Surface Requirements
- Sufficient support for the horse, providing enough traction. A surface that is too soft will ride too deep & loose, which can potentially cause strain injuries & is energy sapping.
- Sufficient impact absorption. Too hard a surface & the horse may be susceptible to impact injuries & jarring. Sufficient cushioning gives both horse & rider a better ride.
- Consistent, stable & safe footing.
- Good drainage.
- Weather resistant.
- Sufficient moisture retention to reduce dust.
- Long-lasting performance & durability.
- Fully synthetic to help avoid rotting & increase longevity.
- New fibres – pre-consumer fibres.
- No waste products (contaminant-free).
Fibre versus Rubber versus Woodchip
We strongly believe that a good quality sand & fibre arena outperforms other current arena surfaces. Whilst rubber gives a good impact absorption & can ride well in the right conditions, it can be inconsistent & often becomes dry, dusty & loose in hot weather. This is due to the rubber causing sand particles to fracture & break down, which reduces performance & leads to a shorter life span. Another surface option, woodchip, will rot down & so is not long-lasting. It can become slippery & does not provide good drainage.
Good quality arena fibre & 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 & helps the horse ride on top of the surface rather than riding too loose & deep, whilst improving impact absorption & 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 & 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, & 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 Beta-Ride 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 & also aids moisture retention. Good fibres should aid drainage & be mildew & rot resistant. Fully synthetic fibres have excellent longevity, as they will not rot down, unlike wool or organic material derivative 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 & 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 & 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 & traction, without riding too deep.
- Hard sand is strongly advised & soft sands should be avoided if at all possible.
- Ideally, arena sand should have a size range of between 60 & 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 & clay removed. In very sandy & 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 & compacted surfaces, as well as helping with the longevity of the sand.
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 & fibre arenas do require irrigation in dry conditions. Read more about Regular Maintenance here or contact us if you’re interesting in our one off or regular maintenance services.
More Information / How To Buy
Beta-Ride Fibre is a premium quality arena fibre at a competitive price, suitable for upgrading existing sand arenas or as a new sand & fibre surface. It uses brand new fibres & is laboratory quality guaranteed. Beta-Ride Arena Fibre gives your horse the optimal surface for absorption & stability, giving you the perfect ride.