Constructing the Horse Exerciser Track
The Horse Exerciser Track beneath the EuroXciser is an important feature. There are many construction options to consider prior to installing the machine. What are the required steps to build a solid track base? What material should be used for the footing? How much footing material is needed? What planned maintenance cycles are needed? Getting the track correct enables the support, traction and cushion required for your horses as they exercise in the machine. In this two part blog, we review the construction approach with the associated tradeoffs for the horse exerciser track. The steps are similar to constructing a horse arena, with the track receiving more repetitive path use. In our second blog, we review building the Horse Exerciser Footing that sets on top of the track base.
Start with a Solid Foundation
Now that you have selected the location of your EuroXciser, it’s time to build a solid foundation for the machine, with the desired quality of solid compacted ground. The picture to the right shows the general arrangement of the track, consisting of the sub base, geotextile cover, base, footing and fencing.
The initial work scope focuses on the sub base at the planned machine location. Although the horses exercise on the track, it is important to prepare the entire machine pad to achieve a consistent grade, compaction and drainage so the track performs as desired.
- Scrape the organic and surface soil to expose the sub soil ground. This may vary from a few inches to 6 inches or more. The goal is to reach the sub soil / sub base ground.
- Grade the sub base pad area flat – 0% grade – so the track provides an even surface for the horses to exercise on
- Establish a slight grade within the static ring area to facilitate water drainage from the center.
- Compact the sub base to near maximum density
The compaction should be 92-97% if using the Standard Proctor Density per ASTM D698. The soil type may vary depending on your geographic location. A licensed contractor in your area will understand this and know how to achieve a near maximum compaction based on the soil type being more granular to more cohesive. In some cases, adding material is required to improve the sub base such that it compacts properly. The end result will be similar to a unpaved road base; firm compacted ground.
During this phase, the following should also be constructed:
- the drain system/drain lines for the center ring.
- the electric runs from the power drop, to the planned controller and machine center.
- the cement mounting pad for the machine base.
IMPORTANT: Do follow to the manufacture’s power and install requirements. Do use a licensed contractor and meet local codes and requirements. Do have the existing underground lines marked before any construction grading or trenching occurs in the planned area for safety reasons and cost of damage reasons.
If the sub base has aggregate rocks, it’s worth while to add a geotextile fabric on the track between the sub base and the base. The fabric keeps the rocks from moving up into the base and footing of the track. Once the fabric is placed, add the base material on-top. There are many options available for the base material. The overall goal again is to create a solid surface. Local material can influence the best cost options, and some common choices include (and are not limited to):
- “A” gravel topped by stone dust (also known as bluestone, #10 screening, limestone screenings),
- Granular “D” material,
- Decomposed Granite (DG)
The base should be at least 4 inches thick, and compacted to 92-97%. Like the sub base, the base must be flat – 0% grade. The correct moisture level during the compaction process will yield a road like base. A properly constructed sub base and base will provide:
- a flat track surface for the horses to exercise on
- a durable surface that does not rut or sink
- a stable surface to add footing to control the impact absorption qualities desired
Getting the grade and the compaction correct is key to having a solid durable track. An example of a DG base is shown to the right. Porous asphalt is also an option for the base, and creates a solid base to build your footing from. An example of a porous asphalt track is shown to the lower right.
Most manufactures suggest the machine mounting pad be constructed a certain height above the grade, such that after the final base is completed and the footing is added, the partitions are at the correct height relative to the ground. Review this information ahead of time so you can plan out the steps to meet these requirements. With the track, pad, electrics and drainage set, it’s time to install your horse exerciser machine.
In our next blog we will review choices and options for the footing to provide the right impact absorption and traction for your horses.