Jim Norred, Tallahassee, Florida |
My wife has decided to spend more time training her dressage horses and we have acquired a couple of more horses. We prepared an outdoor riding arena years ago in one of our pastures. Being in north Florida and just 10 miles from south Georgia - we have a lot of red clay. During dry times it is like brick and wet times it is mud. I have been using a large heavy chain drag for years and the results have been lacking. We would get a smooth looking surface but it was a thin sand and dust and a very hard under layer. It was also not close to level. If you put an inch or two of sand on a cement driveway you would get the idea. We also had a problem with weeds and vegetation in the arena. I researched a number of arena tools on the market and decided the Riata 1108 might do the job much better than what I had been doing for years. After assembly, I found the adjustments on the tool to be straightforward. I did get the ripper kit just in case I ever need to cut deeper in the clay. I could probably also use them if I ever need to clear and cut another area. I first time I used the tool I knew this was a totally new ball game. The first thing I noticed was it immediately removed the weeds. The arena surface was low in places from rain runoff and the 1108 began to fill in those low areas. The first few passes the clay base began to break up and chunks of clay appeared. These were quickly broken up and mixed with the sand. The foot also got smooth and an inch or two deeper. My wife rode on the arena a while later and was grinning and amazed at the soft footing on which her horses were able to work. I will add; of course, none of this helps when the weather is bad - it is what it is - an outdoor arena. But I have noticed that with some drying - I am able to work the arena and it seems to help it dry by being worked. We want to thank Mike and Kristen for your help in acquiring this great arena tool!