Dragging the arena is one of the most critical tasks involved in maintaining the arena. The process involves fluffing up areas of compacted footing and making the conditions uniform across the entire arena. Everyone rides in the same places in a ring. For instance, the packed-down track on the outside, which is a common sight. Dragging restores the footing of the area to its ideal state.
Regular and proper grooming and maintenance of the arenas offer the best quality arena footing. A groomer enables maintaining a consistent riding surface for the equine athlete. Proper maintenance of arenas prohibits footing irregularities and conditions of the sand and footing additives. Professional arena drags can overturn and redistribute the varying sand particle sizes thereby, promoting thorough mixing of the additives.
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What are Drags?
Similar to the chain-link fence, tine harrow is the most common and most versatile drags. Often dragged behind a tractor or an ATV, it quickly and easily restores a hunter, jumper, or all-purpose arena to a pristine state. Arena rake, another similar device, looks similar to a giant comb.
Arena harrows, which are fancier grooming devices, consist of spinning wheels with teeth that tuff up the footing and smooth back the arena. Sometimes people try using disc harrows or box blades for grooming their arenas. The arena drags might destroy the footing. Destruction of footing often results in ripping down the base and leaving the arena looking similar to a field of dunes. Harrows used for different types of Western ridings, such as barrel racing and reining, might damage the all-purpose equestrian footing because they can rip up the arena’s base.
Choosing the Arena Drags
Having the Right Plan
The following are the few things that must take care of while purchasing arena drags:
- A suitable tractor, which would perform the best with the plow.
- An adjustable platform consisting of teeth set attached to the drag, which would set the accurate depth. If the dig is too deep, one might risk mixing the base into the footing.
- A watering system for supporting the arena drag.
Checking the Width
The width of the rake is a critical dimension. Ensure that the rake must have sufficient width than the tractors’ wheel tracks to erase the tire tread depressions smoothly. For pulling, the rake requires at least two tractor horsepower for every foot of its width. However, the expert might require extra power for the rotary implement, which turns and spreads the sand.
Ripping Like an Expert
The ripping process involves digging the surface of the tracks by six inches and then rolling it back before harrowing and watering. Regular ripping in dried climatic conditions helps in maintaining a uniform surface. Besides, regular ripping, without getting very deep, adds the necessary cushioning for the racehorses in gaining traction and spring.
How often shall a Person Use Arena Drags?
Whenever the groomer finds holes or ruts in the arena, they must perform a drag on it. However, the frequency of dragging depends on the number of horses working on it. A personal arena consisting of a couple of horses working every day might require dragging once a week. On the other hand, a busy arena might require dragging every day. However, during a competition, the groomer needs to drag the arena several times a day.
The type of material used is another most essential factor that influences the frequency of dragging the arena. Some types of footing resist compacting the ground and hence, requires seldom dragging compared to the others. Footing that only consists of sand tends to compact faster than footing comprising textiles, such as GGT footing.
While purchasing footing for any arena, ensure to include the costs involved in grooming because the task takes longer and consumes higher fuel. A footing that requires grooming twice a day, the groomer will change over time and hence increases the bill.
Opt for the best quality arena drag for dragging the arena. One can also invest some time and hire a professional groomer who will perform dragging and footing of the arena. It is better to hire experts as they have extensive knowledge of the materials used. Besides, a well-reputed professional will always take care of the horses’ safety and performance.