As March brings some sunshine and warmer weather Katy has to make
a big and scary decision

A few weeks ago Katy had to make yet another big and very scary decision in her career. The constant wet weather over the past months had caused some major problems with her arena, It wasn't draining and consequently left it being water logged, the weeks went by, along with any hope that the weather would change, giving the arena time to drain and Katy the chance to start schooling and jumping regularly. In mid February Katy took a deep breath and made a very scary decision to have her arena re- constructed.

Katy continues:
Katy olly new school
Over the last few weeks Newfield Livery has looked more like a building site and less like a livery yard, but it has all been worth it and I am very happy to say all the work has been completed, I now have a wonderful new arena with a great surface to ride, jump and teach on and it means my training won't ever be compromised by the weather again. 

I am very much aware that I was not alone and that so many people have had difficulty this winter with badly drained arenas, not surprising as there has been so much rain. It certainly opened my eyes and raised a lot of questions about what I needed from my new arena and the process I would have to go through to get it. 

Finding a reliable and friendly company to do my school was a lot more difficult than I had first imagined. My first challenge was trying to find a company that would come and look at the school and tell me what needed doing. 

I started my search with the internet and couldn’t believe how many companies are out there, all offering something different …. It is quite overwhelming. 

I thought the best approach would be a professional one so I started emailing a few of the listed companies with my needs and details, I couldn’t believe how many simply didn’t reply. I was beginning to loose heart and then I received a call from KLH Arenas and we arranged a site consultation for the next day. 

Keith from KLH Arenas arrived and took a good look at the arena. He dug down through the sand, checked the surface and fencing and told me exactly how much work needed doing and how long it would take and the cost. 

A massive decision so I talked it all through with my mum and after doing a few sums decided that it was definitely something that needed doing; I was going to go for it. I really didn't want to be stuck without a school for any longer… The decision had been made. 

Katy jumping in new school
I couldn’t believe how quick things started once I had informed Keith I was going ahead, On Tuesday 25th February Keith and all his equipment arrived at the yard and he got straight to work, there was so much to be done. I was amazed as to how much one man could achieve in such a short period of time. Within days he had taken the arena apart and had started to put it back together again. 

The land my yard is built on is clay, which has been the main problem with the drainage, first the clay had to be dug out, followed by a drainage ditch around the outside of the arena to catch any water that runs down from my fields - no more water logged arena!!

Next a membrane went down to stop any clay from rising up through the surface again, followed by a layer of hardcore and then another membrane went down to stop the hardcore rising up into my new and improved surface.

To save some money we re-used some materials such as the old sand which was used as a base to go under my new recommended surface of a wax/fibre/rubber/sand, which looks and rides great. . 

It took a total of 9 days to complete the arena and day by day my confidence and excitement was growing. I must say a big thank you to KLH Arenas and Keith who made such a big and scary project so much easier to deal with and the speed at which Keith worked was quicker than I could have ever anticipated.. 

Katy New school and surface
With my new arena I am now able to look forward to doing a lot more teaching and riding. I can now plan my competition season around my preference and not the weather. 

Although scary at the time, I am now very happy to have made the decision to go ahead with the new arena and all the worked that was involved in making it happen – The future is now looking exciting and it’s great to see the impact the new arena has had on everyone, including the horses’ 

Having a reliable arena is very important for me and I believe the investment will now allow me to achieve all my future plans as a coach and as a rider.

Katy trotting new schoolI am very happy that I can now get back in the school and utilize all the advantages it has alongside all the other key elements of riding, hacking out still remains a big part of my riding as it is really important to give your horse a good balance of exercise and different experiences.

Next time – A jumping lesson with Olly in his new school.
Read more real life stories that will inspire and motivate you and your riding