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Ground Preparation

Jun 23rd 2023

Ground Preparation for Riding Areas

The ground prep for a riding area can be thought of in 3 layers:




The Base is what you use to raise and level the area. The material used should be able to be compacted so that it stays in place and does not erode and fall apart. A good choice is a gravel and clay mixture (called fill sand) to build the base. This can have rocks, sand, gravel and yellow or blue clay. You want to build this base up to a grade height so that water runs away from the riding area. Compaction is important with the base – this needs to be compacted to at least 90%.

The Barrier is what keeps the footing from mixing with the base. Typically, this is ag lime or crushed limestone. Approximately 2” to 3” of compacted lime is perfect.

Footing is what the horses will walk, trot, canter or gallop on. The footing allows the horse to get traction when moving and move comfortably without slipping. Again, 2”to 3” is ideal in the beginning. You can always add more later. You do not want the footing too deep as it can cause lameness in the horse.

*Please note that all sod and topsoil should be removed before beginning the actual ground prep.