Although woodchip has been used for a number of years as a traditional ménage surface, there is now a new generation of rubber surfacing materials available on the market. Rubber equestrian chippings will not need topping up on a regular basis, saving the user both time and money throughout the life of the arena. Although the initial costs may be slightly higher than traditional wood-chip, huge savings can be made due to the minimal level of maintenance required by rubber chippings. The chippings will need occasional raking over and picking through, to ensure the surface is kept clean. However, the chippings are generally self-levelling and tend to look after themselves.
Equestrian rubber chippings are derived from tyres which are processed into individual chippings which are up to 20mm in size and treated to remove 99.99% of any wire. Equestrian rubber chippings are suitable for riding arenas, gallops, lunge rings, turnout pens and horse walkers. They can be laid as a top layer onto an existing arena or as a new surface on a completely new arena.
Another benefit of using a rubber surface over the more tradition sand or woodchip is that it is frost resistant so the arena can be used continually throughout the year. The rubber is also free-draining and wind-resistant, creating a protective covering which prevents the sand below from drying out. For this reason, a rubber surface is recommended in exposed areas where sand surfaces are prone to drying out and can become displaced by prevailing winds. The rubber also provides a soft, cushioning and non-slip surface that is safe for both the horse and the rider. This minimizes the risk of leg injury during schooling, even in frosty conditions.
We would normally recommend laying a 50mm thickness of rubber chippings onto a 100mm base layer of good quality silica sand. To cover a standard 20m x 40m arena with a 50mm depth of rubber chippings, you will need approximately 18-20 tonnes of rubber. This is normally delivered loose in an articulated lorry. However, we can arrange for smaller, 8-wheel lorries to make deliveries upon request. Therefore, it is always important to check the access and turning circle available at your particular site. We would also recommend that a 38mm x 100mm wide retaining board is attached to the fencing around the perimeter of the arena, 300mm above the surface to prevent it from being displaced and kicked out of the arena during periods heavy use. A fibre additive can also be mixed into the silica sand prior to the rubber being laid on top. These fibre additives act as a stabilising material, preventing the rubber from mixing in with the silica sand below.
Equestrian rubber chippings are a safe, affordable and eco-friendly alternative that will provide you with many years of use. They also give a second life to used tyres which would traditionally have been sent to land-fill.