Our team at F.I.C.S. has had the privilege of working with hundreds of incredible trainers, Olympic riders, equestrian facilities, barn managers, and farm owners. Our testimonials are a testament to our passion for customer service and working with our clients to find a custom solution that fits their individual needs.
Brittani reached out to me in the spring of 2021 looking to have an outdoor arena installed. She and her sister were bringing their horses home and needed a ring for schooling and training their show hunters. We evaluated her property and determined that the only feasible place to put a ring was in the middle of a few existing pastures on an incredibly steep incline. It was a challenge, but I knew my crew could handle it. We came up with a site plan and over the next few weeks we worked with Brittani and the county to get all the proper permits and plans submitted and approved so that we could begin. Once everything was cleared, we broke ground and got to work!
There was a lot of sitework needed to prep the area before we could actually begin working on the arena itself. We installed a construction entrance, did a lot of large-scale grading, earth moving, and soil stabilizing, and did all the drainage prep so that we could ensure the ring would have the foundation it needed to last.
While that was being done, Brittani and I discussed footing and maintenance options to figure out which blend would make the most sense for her. Between working a full-time job and managing all the other responsibilities that come with owning a farm, low maintenance was the key. She knew she wouldn’t have a lot of time to drag and probably wouldn’t have a way to water to prep the footing before each ride, but wanted a good quality surface that she could ride on year-round, in as many varying conditions as possible. She visited some other arenas we’d done in the area and talked to a handful of clients and then decided on a custom sand/DuraCush Rubber blend and one of our Red Master Harrows. We wrapped things up in late summer and she’s been riding on it and enjoying it ever since.
“I presented Sandy with a piece of land to build my outdoor on that was anything but flat. Sandy and her grading team came up with, and executed, a plan to turn a hilly field into a beautiful outdoor.
Sandy guided me every step of the way, from the grading steps, to the footing, all the way up to how to drag properly. Our ring settled nicely, and we are able to use it the day after a big storm, which means we are always able to keep up with our riding schedule.
Two and a half years later, Sandy is still always there to answer questions and help. Nowadays, it’s extremely hard to find companies that care about their customers, and prioritize customer service.
Sandy has always made this a priority from day one, which made the ring building process a much easier and more pleasant one.
I would highly recommend F.I.C.S. to anyone looking to build a new ring, or refurbish an existing one.”
Holly’s existing arena was problematic to say the least. Not only was the footing broken down and not able to keep up with the demands of her growing boarding/training business, but the arena was decades old, not square, built at the bottom of a hill, had way too much fall, multiple soft areas/sink holes, was adjacent to protected wetlands, and was built on top of a gas pipeline!
Without an indoor, Holly’s goal was to have an arena she could use as many days of the year as possible, even in extreme weather. Being able to ride despite rain and freezing were her biggest concerns.
We were restricted by the gas company, the county’s environmental regulations, and the overall terrain of the property, but we got creative and came up with a plan that worked for everyone.
“We had just about every issue you could name with an outdoor. Water travels through our whole farm, down a sizable hill to the arena but Sandy and her crew engineered swales and raised the entire arena to grade so water now drains off of the ring without taking all the footing with it. Then together we came up with the perfect blend of stone dust and DuraCush rubber that has totally exceeded our expectations.
The drastic weather lately has made for the final and ultimate test of the new arena. It has held up in the worst weather scenarios imaginable. Tons of rain, flash freezing, temps in the single digits for days…I can hardly express how excited I was when it was completely, 100% beautifully ridable by noon.
It has been an incredible equestrian dream to work on such an amazing surface. I cannot recommend Sandy and her group with F.I.C.S. enough. They really know what they’re doing and will do just what you need.”
I had worked with Laura and Trish on a small outdoor at their previous facility and was excited for them when they reached out to say they’d found a new property and were building a covered arena. We had them penciled in on our schedule to install the base and footing once the builder was ready for us, but their project kept getting delayed due to unexpected zoning and county regulations.
Eventually they decided to change course and just build an outdoor arena, with the thought in mind that they may cover it later. Understandably, they were anxious to move forward since they’d already lost so much time and had been riding in a field for months just trying to keep their horses going. And now without knowing if/when they’d ever have an indoor, their goal was to have an arena that was as all-weather as possible. They also decided to add an exercise track to the project to give their horses some variety. So while the timing and scope of the project changed drastically on our end, we were able to adjust accordingly as things progressed to meet their new requests.
Since we weren’t originally planning on doing any of the site work, we hadn’t seen the property and didn’t know what we were starting with. With an indoor, it’s a controlled environment and by the time a new one is under roof and ready for the base and footing, all grading and drainage obstacles have already been addressed. But with a new outdoor, all of the existing topography and soil conditions have to be considered.
When we met on site to evaluate things and come up with a plan, we discovered that the area designated for the arena had quite a bit of standing water, so we modified our working design to reinforce the base with geotech fabric and install culverts to ensure the integrity of the arena. While that phase was underway, I worked closely with both Laura and Trish to finalize a footing that would meet their training needs and then advised them on what maintenance equipment would be best suited to their facility.
Both the arena and the track turned out great, and it was a fun project despite all the surprises! Shortly after we wrapped that up, we also installed an automatic fly spray system in their main barn and aisle flooring in their auxiliary barn.
“After receiving bids from several vendors, we elected to go with Sandy/F.I.C.S for helping us build a new 90’x200’ outdoor arena and a separate 10’x 800’ track. We are a small, private boarding/training/Hanoverian breeding facility on the Eastern Shore of MD focused primarily on dressage.
Originally, we had planned to build a covered arena but, after many months of working on permits with our local county, decided the regulations/requirements were going to take so long and add so much cost to the project we would pursue the best possible outdoor arena we could install instead.
Of course, as soon as we made that decision, we wanted it installed immediately and F.I.C.S was able to start shortly thereafter. Having just experienced a fall/winter of enormous rain, a big requirement was the best possible drainage so that the ring would be usable asap after heavy rains.
The ring and track have now been in a few months, and we’ve had multiple crazy storms where we were able to safely ride within 12 hours! F.I.C.S has been fantastic to work with – responsive, knowledgeable, reasonably priced and delivered on their word in every way possible.
Based on the ring/track experience, we’ve also just recently installed a barn fly system and are about to install interlocking mats in our grooming area/wash stall with F.I.C.S.”
The Potomac Horse Center contacted me about wanting to renovate 3 indoor arenas and 1 outdoor. In addition to needing all new footing, each arena had unique base and structural issues that also needed to be addressed.
Like most public facilities, their budget was limited and they had to keep things running to help pay for the cost of renovations.
Together we developed a timeline and schedule that was minimally disruptive to their lesson program and allowed them to fundraise for the project as we went along.
We had at least one major surprise with every arena, but we adjusted as needed and made it work!
“After exhaustively researching the options, there was no doubt that F.I.C.S. was the right choice to tackle the complete renovation of our four riding arenas. Installed in the 1960’s, the arenas had only been groomed and top dressed over the years. Subsequently, the base of all three indoor and one outdoor arena had been impacted by decades of flooding, leaky roofs, pounding hooves, tractors, weather fluctuations, etc.
F.I.C.S. worked closely with us from beginning to end, guiding and informing us each step of the way through footing removal, arena leveling, choosing appropriate base and footing materials for our specific needs, proper grooming equipment and techniques and maintenance practices going forward.
Sandy and her crew were complete professionals throughout, holding our hands as one 60-year-old issue after another popped up. They solved each issue quickly and efficiently keeping our needs and budget in mind at all times, and business was minimally impacted as they worked around our busy lesson program schedule.
We highly recommended F.I.C.S.!”