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Ask H&H: protecting riding arena from falling leaves

Q: My arena is located in our orchard. Every autumn I have a problem with leaves falling on half the arena.

It’s impossible to rake them up without taking up large quantities of the rubber surface with them. I have found the best option is to hand pick the leaves, which takes hours.

I was wondered if covering the arena with some sort of netting might be the answer, but I’ve not been able to find anything suitable. Have you any suggestions?
CR, Bedfordshire

Nwtting is certainly a possible solution. If you do not have overhanging trees and leaves are simply being blown into the arena, a side netting would probably suffice. Jacksons Fencing suggests using a small hole netting (25mm hole), stock code 1931 on its website. This netting comes in a height of either 3ft or 4ft so should be suitable for the height of the posts around the arena and would stop most of the leaves blowing in.

An alternative is Galebreaker mesh — this could provide a more comprehensive covering if needed.

Ben Smith from Maple Arenas advises netting is probably best placed just under the trees in question rather than all over the arena.

An easier option may be to invest in a leaf blower or sucker — as long as it is not powerful enough to take the arena surface with it.

A spokesman from Martin Collins Enterprises said: “It is easier to blow leaves into a corner [or back into the orchard] and then pick them up with boards — it tends to be less difficult if the surface is kept ‘level’ so the leaves do not settle in the divots. But there is no easy answer!”

Leaf blowers are available from most garden centres.

Information

Jacksons Tel: 0800 414343 www.jacksons-fencing.co.uk
Galebreaker Tel: 01594 545600 www.galebreaker.co.uk
Martin Collins Tel: 01488 71100 www.mceltd.com
Maple Arenas Tel: 0870 8776068 www.maneges.co.uk

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (15 May, ’08)

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