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Alternative Agility Field Surface?

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Does any one out there have any preferences/ideas, as an alternative to grass, for an Agility practice arena? I have heard secondhand stories of mulch and shredded rubber being used but no direct feedback.

 

I want to build my wife an outdoor agility arena 120'x120' and we would rather not have to move all the equipment and mow all that grass at least once a week. Also, the thought of a more even, weather proof field is appealing. No mud, ruts, maintenance etc... Am I dreaming?

 

Ideas, Thoughts, Pros and Cons?!

 

Thanks,

 

Dan

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Hey divorce that wife and marry me, I could use a sport (flyball/agility) field of my very own

 

Seriously, I am sure others would be able to give you ideas...

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The place where we are taking aglitiy lessons uses a rubber flooring like on some playgrounds. Of course this is inside but again I've seen the same material on some playgrounds. In Charlotte the local school was a magnet for physically handicap and they used this on their playground so the wheel chairs to get around. It is large squares of the rubber that connect together. I'm not sure where you would find it though.

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Dan,

I have trained at places with small gravel (easy to walk on with bare feet kinda small), dirt, (rolled and tilled types), and grass with the eqpt centered on concrete blocks. The slabs made it easy to mow the grass around it, but I didn't really like the overall setup.

The pea gravel stuff was my favorite, but I have dirt for overall cost effectiveness.

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Sand? When you wet it down (think dressage arena) it's nice footing for the dogs. If it's not too deep it will be ok for the handler. But if it's deep - THAT will be a work out.

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My old elementary school got the Astroturf from Candlestick Park (SFO Giants/49ers) for their playground, when the teams (wisely) went back to playing on turf. Strikes me as an ideal sport surface - or would it tear up pads?

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Here's what I can remember running on outside: Sand (needs a stabilizer though to keep it firm), shredded rubber composite (very expensive, looks like sand, although gives a better surface), mulch, small (fine) pebbles. You might want to post this question to an agility list for more answers.

 

-Laura

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Thanks for everyones ideas, thoughts... and marriage proposal )

 

I have since heard that mulch apparently makes a good surface for a trial field for a variety of reasons. I may try a small area and see how it works out before filling in the backyard!

 

I'll post my success or failure to the board.

 

Dan

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The large agility training / dog-event area near us in Monmouth, OR (Paulus Arena) is a big metal-walled barn sort of building (built just for dog events and training.

 

The floor is mulch/shredded bark, I think, maybe 3" deep, on soil.

 

Seems to work just fine, and much easier on the dogs joints, I think, than mats on a hard surface.

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A woman in my Agility club has done alot of research on this subject and recommended this mix to a local arena that holds agility trials just about every weekend. After running on this surface many times I can say it's one of the best I've run on, it's easy to smooth out, and will hold water well. A well watered surface is a must for any type of mix.

 

Use a mix of 1/3 washed sand and 2/3 fine grind bark. (Don't use cedar bark as many dogs have reactions to the oils in cedar. The sand is washed to reduce dust) Four inches deep is enough to reduce the shock on both dog and human joints, but not too deep to make running difficult.

 

When you're done with that arena, I'd be happy to have you build one for me too!! :rolleyes:

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we use the flyball matts(tuff spun) that is what everyone around here uses anyway, but they are rather expensive($1000 / matt or so) lol they are so expensive when our building was broken into several months ago we kept joking that "if only they knew that all the money was on the floor!"

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