What are the requirements for a fiber or geotextile footing?

What are the requirements for a fiber or geotextile footing?

Just like having the right ingredients is essential for baking a cake, the right combination of materials for your arena is crucial for the success of the outcome. Whether you’re looking to optimize an existing footing by including a textile additive, or starting from scratch, it’s important to understand what you need in order to produce your ideal riding surface.

The required ingredients to produce great results with a textile or synthetic footing are sand, moisture and grooming.

Holding a rounder, slippery sand that was amended with TruTex Fibers to add more stability
Holding a rounder, slippery sand that was amended with TruTex Fibers to add more stability

Sand is the primary ingredient of your footing materials

When amending an existing sand footing, the biggest factor that determines which TruTex product is best for you is the sand you’re working with. Due to the wide range of sand types, each of our products is designed to enhance sand based on different criteria. Our free sand evaluation and report allows us to analyze the characteristics of your sand and determine which of our fiber or geotextile products will be the best fit, based on your requirements.   

For new arenas, you should always try to source sand with as close to ideal characteristics as possible, since the results produced by adding the textiles will be relative to where you’re starting from with the sand. The better the sand, the better the end result will be.

Our sand sourcing guide can help you find the best type of sand to use along with TruTex textiles.

Ultimately it comes down to having the right gradation, particle shape and minerology. Picking the cheapest, most convenient sand option might seem appealing at the outset but can end up being more costly to correct in the long-run.

Moisture is the next important ingredient for arena footing

Moisture is a key ingredient in almost any riding arena because it acts as a binding agent within the sand and also between the textiles and the sand. Arenas that are allowed to become completely dry will be notoriously loose and offer little to no support to the horse, not to mention the unpleasantness and health risks associated with working in a dusty arena.

No matter what method you decide to use – sprinkler system, hose, water cart or MAG – it is crucial that  you have a method in place to maintain consistent moisture throughout the footing. If you have an outdoor arena that gets a decent amount of moisture courtesy of mother nature, then you may be able to get away with not having to water for the majority of the year, although it is recommended to have a back up method in case of a long dry spell.

TruTex footing additives are not a substitute for watering or a waterless footing such as those coated with a wax or polymer, which can be a substitute for watering, and there are pros and cons to those as well. One of the cons is that these types of coated footing products will add multiple zeros to the price tag by comparison, which may be well over budget for the average arena.  

Using a water reel sprinkler to water an indoor arena
Using a water reel sprinkler to water an indoor arena
MAG flakes absorb moisture from the air and can keep an indoor completely moist
MAG flakes will dissolve and absorb moisture from the air and can keep an indoor completely moist

When it comes to moisture, the benefits of TruTex additives are that they help by retaining moisture for longer periods of time so you can space your watering sessions further apart. Even if you’re reliant on rainfall in outdoor arenas, you’ll find that the footing doesn’t become dry as quickly in between rain spells.

The frequency at which you have to water depends a lot on the climate in your arena’s location, and the volume of water your watering method is capable of applying in each session. If you have an outdoor arena in California that’s in direct sunlight, you’ll need to water quite a bit more than someone who has a shaded ring in Illinois. With the addition of TruTex footing, you can reduce your watering frequency up to 50%, giving you more time to ride, train, teach, or perhaps even take a break? Crazy thoughts indeed!

Finally, make sure your drag or groomer is suitable for synthetic footings

Having the right tools for any job is the best way to get it done efficiently and effectively. The same goes for installing footing: Having the proper drag to groom your arena will keep your footing performing better and prolong the life of the surface, which protects your investment in the long run.

Since one of the primary functions of synthetic additives is to bind the sand together and add stability, drags with a more aggressive blade or grading bar, or a chain drag type, will struggle to work through it and cause the footing to bunch up in the equipment. 

TruTex Drag N Fly Mini is an excellent tool for maintaining a fiber footing
TruTex Drag N Fly Mini is an excellent tool for maintaining a fiber footing

There are three main requirements for best drags or groomers for synthetic surfaces. They need to be able to be raised and lowered to adjust the working depth. They should also have at least one row of tines or thinner teeth to loosen the footing and keep the materials well mixed. Finally, they should have a roller on the back, which will recompress the footing to leave a consistent and stable – yet slightly fluffy – surface layer, which is the ideal finish.

Boots on the ground Equestrian Knowledge

Working with a footing expert who understands the way that different types of sands and materials will interact with each other and your horse is crucial so that you can optimize the footing to your needs. Not only do the materials have to be carefully selected, but they also must be consistently maintained.

TruTex is owned and operated by equestrians who, like you, used to struggle to find the best footing additives for their arenas. That’s why they sourced the best ingredients and formed TruTex! Contact us at 812-558-2669 or through our online form if you’re still unsure about what product is perfect for you. You can also request a free personalized quote. We look forward to helping you and your equine business prosper.

The TruTex Team are all equestrians themselves and consists of riders, trainers and engineers who understand the science behind arena footing and equine biomechanics. They continually strive to expand their knowledge in all things footing and equine in order to produce the best products and service.
The TruTex Team are all equestrians themselves and consists of riders, trainers and engineers who understand the science behind arena footing and equine biomechanics. They continually strive to expand their knowledge in all things footing and equine in order to produce the best products and service.