Ah yes- spring- spring in Ontario at least means the anticipation of getting out and riding with the reality of footing that can be wet, slippery, cuppy, dusty and spongy all in one week.
How to remedy this..? (don't say build an indoor arena)
In the case of a dirt paddock/sacrifice area, has anyone had any experience with the options available ....like.....
stone dust
hog fuel (wood bark/waste wood)
subsoil replacement with drainage rock and resurfacing

I am interested in any first hand knowledge-especially the waste wood solution- seems to be a popular solution out in the West but haven't seen any paddocks with it in (Southern) Ontario yet.

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Depends on what you ride, recreation, barrels, reining, hunter/jumper, dressage, driving, etc. I am a western rider, reining, barrels, trails and have an outdoor arena with a clay base and 3-4" of sand on top. It takes about a week after the snow is gone for it to be dry enough to harrow. I then do a deep dig with the tines, then level it with the leveler, it's still tacky but really makes a nice fluffy top as it drys in the wind. There is maintenance with it, I have to harrow once a week at least during the riding season so it doesn't turn into cement.
I rode on a chipped tire surface in PEI once. It was in an outdoor with a sandy base. The footing was unbelievabe !! It was pouring at the time, and the footing stayed buoyent. I had thought that this stuff wouldn't do well outside once it froze, but the riders there said they rode on it in winter, snow permitting, without it becoming hard..only the base froze. They also said the arena was many years old, and that the surface was still good, with only basic maintenance. Love to know where to find it and how much to install it.

A good case for doing it right the first time.
We use a very coarse sand over a drained and pounded stone dust base, these rings dry very quickly.

I have seen hog fuel used in riding rings - it floats in the rain, breaks down into dusty bits and is very slippery.
Out west, the base, is mostly rock so I am thinking that is why hog fuel works better there.

Any riding area must be level with a certain slope for drainage as well.
Good info from all- thanks for the heads up on the hog fuel- I figured there was a reason I never see it locally.


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