Making the Right Choice: Enhancing Your Current Riding Arena Sand or Starting Over

If you’re on the fence about whether to enhance your current footing or do a complete overhaul, you have come to the right place. In this article we’ll delve into the key factors to consider so you can make an informed decision on which direction to go in.

Is it Worth Trying to Improve my Existing Sand or Should I Start Over?

When it comes to arena footing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Horse owners have different needs and budgets, but one thing is certain – they want an arena footing that is straightforward to maintain and easy on their horses.

The good news is; with the advancement of additives, now designed to work with different sand types, sometimes you don’t have to choose between starting over or making do with your current arena. We’re here to help you understand your options and make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget.

So, to answer this question, the main items to consider are:

    • your individual sand’s characteristics (you may already have a sand that will work well for you with a little help!)
    • your performance requirements for the arena
    • your budget

What are your sand’s characteristics?

The first objective is to determine is the condition of your sand and its characteristics. This allows you to compare what’s possible with your sand compared to one that would be considered ‘most ideal’ for the job.

A sand with the right characteristics, combined with a good quality additive can produce a top-level footing, capable of supporting horses in all types of flat-work and jumping. This type of footing will remain the most uniform even with a lot of traffic in the arena, making it easier to maintain. Whereas a sand that is less-suited to the job can still be improved with a well-matched additive [often considerably] – it will not produce a result equal to having the right additive paired with a better sand. There’s a whole spectrum in between as well so your sand could be somewhere in the middle.

Even with a good additive, the two sands pictured below will respond differently underfoot. One will be less stable and require more frequent maintenance than the other.

It is important to first understand the sand you’re working with.

TruTex’s free sand evaluation will tell you the shape, size and gradation of your sand, how it compares with one that’s most ideal for the job, and which additive would make the most notable improvements with your sand. We don’t want you to invest money into one of our additives and not get the results you’re looking for. If your sand is very worn out or is unsuitable, your report will explain that and suggest replacement.

What are your requirements for the arena?

The next step is to decide what your goals are for the arena, and what type of surface this requires. As a rule of thumb – The greater the demands on the arena and horses, the more critical it is that the arena sand is a good fit for the job.

Do you need to be able to regularly train over upper-level fences or are you mainly doing basic flatwork? Will there be a lot of horses using the arena and you’ll need to be able to do a full day of lessons or training without dragging, or are you ok with a bit more maintenance? How long does the footing need to last to be considered a good investment for you? If your sand needs to be replaced soon due to age and wear…you’re not going to get the most out of your investment in the additive by combining it with that sand.

If your goal is a footing that rivals the top show venues in the country, then your sand had better be up-to-par. If your objective is to make your footing more manageable and easier on the horses, without breaking the bank, there’s often a lot that can be achieved with a less-than-perfect sand.

What is your budget?

Oftentimes, the sand is the bigger portion of a footing investment than the TruTex additive, especially if you’re not located close to a quarry with good sand. If a facility requires a top-level arena, it is not uncommon to truck high quality sand into their location from several hours away. It’s the trucking that becomes the biggest expense and there are no other options.

If you already have a sand that meets the ideal criteria for creating the footing you need, you’re ahead of the game and you only need the additive to finish things off and optimize the footing. Yay for you!

[Thinking back to your requirements for the arena] – your sand might not have to be perfect! If your footing felt considerably better than it does now and took less work to maintain, is that a result you would be happy with?
Maybe you’re leasing the facility and you need the footing to be better to run your program successfully, but you can’t justify the expense of a full sand replacement.

"Your sand might not have to be perfect."

Often, we can match your sand with an additive that we know will be able to drastically improve your footing. And if we don’t feel confident that you’ll get a good enough result, you can trust that we’ll tell you that too. That’s why so many of our clients come to us through referrals or from people who have ridden on a TruTex arena. We will only recommend our products if we are confident you can achieve a notable improvement in the surface.


The decision of whether to improve your existing footing or start over from scratch should be based on a careful consideration of several factors, including your sand’s characteristics, your requirements for the arena, and your budget. With the right information, you can make an informed decision on the best course of action for your specific needs.
Whether you choose to work with your existing sand or opt for a complete overhaul, the goal should always be to provide the healthiest environment for your horses and riders to train and perform in.
At TruTex, we are committed to helping you achieve that goal with our free sand evaluation and a range of high-quality footing additives. So, why not contact us today to learn more about how we can help you transform your arena into the best possible training environment for your horses?

Picture of TruTex Equestrian

TruTex Equestrian

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