How to upgrade your equestrian surface

Extreme weather conditions inevitably put added pressure on your arena surface. Common problems are that surfaces become too deep, and – in the case of sand-based surfaces – dry and dusty. If your surface is suffering, don’t automatically assume that it’s a case of facing the expense of entire replacement. 

Replacing the whole equestrian ménage surface, is of course always an option, although you will still need to check your base is in good condition before doing so. However, it is not always essential and certainly not always within an individual’s budget. What you may be able to look at, instead, is equestrian ménage surface enhancement or refurbishment.

Your equestrian surface enhancement options:

  • Topping up a sand-based surface. This is an option if your surface is sand-based but does not have a coating. If you can’t afford to replace the entire surface and the base of the school drains freely, it may prove cost effective to:

    • Re-grade and level
    • Wet roll and compact and
    • Lay a minimum 3” top up of new angular (industrial glass making) sand. This should give a minimum compacted depth of 5”, which will stabilise more under the horses’ hooves. However, you will also find that the surface would benefit from the addition of  CLOPF structural fibres, (as below*).

  • Rewaxing - if your surface is waxed, it may be an option to re-wax. However, you will need a specialist consultation and the surface may require lab analysis before specific recommendations can be made. There are two rewaxing options available:

    • You can lift and return the entire surface to the factory to re-blend with more wax and materials. Martin Collins can advise on the most affordable haulage options for this. 
    • Lift and re-wax at site. However, it is worth noting that this option may only be commercially viable for larger surfaces such as training gallops and racecourses.

Introducing Additives:

  •  *Introduce Additives: Adding fibre will further improve the “root structure” of the surface, thereby mimicking turf. If your current surface is sand-based, Martin Collins Enterprises have developed a new, cost-effective, long lasting, original, performance fibre which is the perfect solution for surface enhancements. It’s called CLOPF.

It is worthwhile considering adding CLOPF to your surface because it:

    • provides root structure (acting in a similar to grass roots in turf)
    • enhances the surface stability, allowing the horse to work 'on top' of the surface rather than 'through' it. 
    • improves surface performance.
    • adds energy to the equestrian ménage surface.
    • increases water retention.
    • provides excellent value for money.
    • is laboratory proven to be environmentally sound.
    • will last longer if maintained correctly. Every CLOPF surface we sell comes with free ongoing aftercare support and access to our video which explains how you can ensure your surface continues to offer optimal performance.

Need Advice?

Despite being involved in arenas and surfaces at top venues across the world, Martin Collins’ staff still have their ‘feet firmly on the ground’. We are all approachable and experienced horse people who want you to achieve the best for you and your horses, whatever you do with them.  Why not call 01488-71100 or email us now on for some initial, informal advice about your own requirements for a surface upgrade.

Download our advice guide on pdf

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