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Choosing a Base Material for a Horse Arena

Written by on August 29th, 2018.      0 comments

Choosing a Base Material for a Horse Arena


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Choosing the correct base material for a horse arena is paramount. Primarily, this choice impacts on the health and welfare of your horse, and therefore its performance. It means the rewards you receive for the time and energy you invest in your horse will be greater. Here’s some points to better inform you about choosing a base for your horse arena.


“The softness of sand myth”


Traditional sand-based arenas, which have been popular in the past, are usually made too deep which can negatively affect your horse’s biomechanics. This can lead to numerous physical issues, including tendon, ligament and back strain.

The latest research coming out of America suggests that surfaces that the horse travels over, rather than through, are far superior for the correct functioning of a horse’s limbs, joints and ligaments, plus the muscles of the hind end and lumbar region. This theory has been supported by organisations such as the International Lameness Prevention Conference and Equine Lameness Prevention Organization.


Benefits of Shell


Shell provides the ideal base surface for a horse arena, as it reduces leg concussion, giving support to the hoof without giving way. It provides an excellent non-slip surface and is easy care.


Crushed Mussel Shell is an excellent solution as it packs down well and lasts for a long time.  It is organic and consists of lime and other trace elements, such as calcium. The natural process of weathering bleaches out the colour, leaving a nice white shell which is odourless.


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Ocean Shell Superiority


Wholesale Landscapes Ocean Shell is a superior product and here’s why it should be your choice as a base material for your horse arena.


Ocean Shell has been aged for 12-18 months which removes all unpleasant odours. Wholesale Landscapes allow a natural bacterial process to remove any by-product from the shell whilst it is monitored and turned. During this process, the sharpness of the mussel shell reduces significantly which provides a safe surface for your horse. Natural trace elements contained in the shell base, such as lime and calcium, will improve horse’s hoof health, making them less susceptible to injury or disease.


Our Ocean Shell is crushed to a size which will accommodate a horse’s impact over a 2-4 year span. The range of particles in the shell means that your horse gains high impact-protection whilst eliminating any artificial sponginess.


For more information please contact:

Ben Homan

Arena Specialist

Wholesale Landscapes



From the Horse's (owner’s) mouth

Sarah Cornwall

"I have had my Crushed Ocean Shell arena down for two years now and it’s such a joy to ride on. The horses track across the surface (even when still in large shell form) rather than through like they would with sand. The horses don’t stumble or trip and it provides a cushioning ride so less stress on their joints.

I find the Ocean Shell doesn’t need as much grooming as a sand arena does and maintains a more even surface for longer. The shell even when broken down doesn’t blow away in gale winds and there is far less dust coming off the surface, so horse and riders are not inhaling or being covered in dust.

Wholesale Landscapes provided an excellent service, very professional and easy to deal. Would highly recommend them and using Ocean Shell as an alternative arena surface to straight sand or sand/rubber mix.”

 Maureen Taylor

"Recently, we have purchased shell from your company to surface our round training yard, and also our 40 x 40m riding arena which we use for both dressage and jumping.

We have found this surface to be durable, have excellent footing for the horses and gives the ideal balance between being non-slip, and having sufficient concussion absorption, without being too deep and causing unnecessary strain on tendons, muscles and ligaments.

We have recommended this surface to several of our friends and associates, one of which has installed a shell arena already and two others are planning to do the same."


Topics: Equestrian


About Us

At Wholesale Landscapes, we supply a wide range of landscaping products that are aged and blended to ensure the absolute highest quality. We deliver commercial quantities of bark-based landscape supplies to resellers and projects across NZ. We have a trade yard in Stoke, Nelson where landscapers and contractors can conveniently pick up bulk landscape supplies - all year round.

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