Dressage Arena Construction - Testimonial

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by sharppa, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. IndyR'n'R

    IndyR'n'R Well-known Member

    was wondering when doug would make his appearance
     
  2. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Mobilisation Part 2 - Roller

    One of the key criteria for a well performing arena is adequate compaction of material. This applies to both the sub-base as well as the base. Compaction required good materials, adequate water and a good vibrating compactor.

    There are heaps of different machines around that would do the job. By far the quickest and best for the sub-base (and initial passes of the base) is a vibrating roller. For an area the size of a dressage arena you could use a 6.5 tonne roller all the way up to a 12.5 tonne roller. The benefit of a larger machine is the drum is wider so it reduced the number of passes you have to do to cover the area.

    We arranged a good deal on a dry hire for a 12.5 tonne vibrating roller (drive it yourself) through a mob in Midland. Transport is via a float (low loader). They are really easy (and fun) to drive (the roller, not the float) and you don't need any special licence to use them (I don?t think). Here are some photos of us picking our up for hire.

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    Paul.
     
  3. bronni

    bronni New Member

    Don't break that roller ... my OH is the mech who will have to fix it !! lol small world!
     
  4. crave

    crave Well-known Member

    OMG my husband would be so proud of you. He's a Chief Mine Surveyoer and is very impressed with your planning in this project....by the way when its finished can we have clinics there? LOL :)
     
  5. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Small world indeed.

    The machine was hired a while ago and is now returned. No damage done :)

    Paul
     
  6. magic_impact

    magic_impact Well-known Member

    Well crave, we are both engineers and Paul is known to have a little bit of a retentive streak


    okay maybe more than a little bit *#)
     
  7. IndyR'n'R

    IndyR'n'R Well-known Member

    LOL, you think!!!!!!
     
  8. crave

    crave Well-known Member

    At least my hubby isnt the only one then :)
     
  9. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Mobilisation Part 3 - Box Grader

    A couple of post ago I mentioned the box grader as an attachment to the tractor. It fits on the three point lift at the back of the tractor. The box grader has a grader type blade at the back bottom edge. It scraped material from high spots, stores it in the box and empties it into low spots.

    The box grader is great for levelling and smoothing small area. You will see in the next couple of weeks that we used it to spread piles of dirt, move bulk sub-base dirt, smoothing... We were able to achieve the sub-base to within +- 15mm of the design level with this little unit on the tractor.

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    Paul
     
  10. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Mobilisation Part 4 - Pegging Out

    This step is critical to ensure accurate levels and plan dimensions.

    You should first install small square pegs (and a few large ones to protect them) on the outside of the arena area on:
    - the A-C centreline
    - both long sides
    - both short sides
    - base sides (our base was 62m x 22m for a 60 x 20 riding surface)
    Care should be taken locating these as they will be used to set out the base, wall, riding surface... We measured distances with a long tape. You could use a good laser distance measurer. We used the dumpy level to ensure the lines were straight.

    You should then install pegs at 10m x 10m intervals and mark the sub-base level required using a laser level or dumpy level. This will indicate the amount you have to cut or fill to achieve the correct sub-base.

    We got all of our pegs from a survey stake supplier.

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    Paul
     
  11. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Mobilisation Part 5 - Tractor Servicing

    With a whole lot of work ahead, I thought it would be a good idea to service the tractor. Changes oil, filters, coolant and checked critical connection.

    Sorry, it bit boring for most of you I would assume.

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    Paul
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Well-known Member

    If you look after your equipment, your equipment looks after you**)
     
  13. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Sub-Grade - Scraping

    With the planning, mobilisation and site preparation complete, it was time to start on the sub-grade (sub-base). By sub-grade I am refering to the material below the base. This should be level (to reduce the amount of base required), compacted (to stop settling and improve bearing capacity) and free of excess organic material.

    Our site was sloping (about 1m over the length of the arena) so we decided to use a cut to fill approach. This reduced the amount of fill required to be purchased. The major consideration when deciding on the finish level of the arena was drainage. Even by cutting up to 600mm at the 'top' end of the arena, the base level at the 'bottom' end was still 1m above natural surface. The arena was also sloped at 1% over the length so water can get off the arena and away also. The arena is located at the back of our property which is about 2m higher than the front. Over our years living there, we have never seen water lingering on the site. The area is mainly course sand (1m deep) then rockish stuff.

    Bulk earthmoving (from the top end to the bottom end) was done with the tractor and box grader. I thought this would take only a few days but turn out I was wrong. The bulk work took about 3 weeks (not working during week days but working a couple of hours at night, weekends, etc.)

    Hindsight is a great thing. If I did this again, I would have arranged a contractor with a large dozer to do the bulk work in a couple of hours... Live and learn.

    Here are some photos.

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    Paul
     
  14. Sorrel

    Sorrel Well-known Member

    Awesome thread and photos Sharppa, makes it easy to read for the layman, saves money DIY
     
  15. WOW
    what an awesome thread :D thanks so much for this!
    I think mods should make it a sticky, anyone looking to make their own arena would find this very very useful :)
     
  16. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Sub-Grade - More Scraping

    Well, after some late nights on the tractor (thanks to some great work lights we installed), the sub-base is getting there. We aimed to get the cut end of the arena close to level (+-50mm) before we started ordering fill.

    To ensure good compaction, we watered and rolled in layers of no more than 300mm thick. If you have the equipment handy, 300mm is a good amount, if you have to get the gear in specially, you could get away with 500mm layers if your machine is big enough.

    Moisture content should be ~10 - 15% w/v (you can check this by taking a sample and popping it in the oven and drying it out then comparing the mass before and after). Exact moisture content is not super important with sand as long as it is evenly moist. You will soon know if it is too wet or too dry.

    We rolled with about 4 passes with the 12.5 tonne machine. Levels were checked against out drawings with the dumpy level.

    At the cut end we reached some hardish rock. The box grader wouldn't touch it and the bucket of teh tractor was not much better. Luck it was pretty much on the correct level for us to stop. If you had rock it would be a job for a big dozer or excavator. You would be amazed what a D6 or D9 can push through.

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    Ready for some imported fill!

    Paul
     
  17. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Sub-Grade Part 3 - Even More Scraping

    The work continues. Now that the cutting of the bulk of the arena is complete, I moved onto the edges to get closer to the final grades.

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    Things are taking shape.

    Paul.
     
  18. Nicnacs_Mistress

    Nicnacs_Mistress Well-known Member

    Paul, this is an inspiring thread for an aspiring DIY arena builder!
    I love how you have walked us through all of the little steps, and the photos let us see what you are talking about.
    I can't wait to see the rest of what you guys do, and I await more updates eagerly!
    Can't wait to get my own arena built!
     
  19. CDA

    CDA Well-known Member

    wow it looks like it will take you a while to do it with a little tractor like that - I hired a front end loader and got our site levelled and built up at one side by a metre by a mate in around 4 hours.
     
  20. sharppa

    sharppa New Member

    Yes, live and learn. I would use a dozer (for the rough stuff) and a grader (finer levels) next time I think. That would turn a month plus into a day.

    Paul.
     

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