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Facility officials working to improve arena flooring

Fresh river-washed sand is being mixed into the flooring of theLincoln County Multi-Purpose Facility arena, an upgrade that willimprove the arena’s equestrian capabilities.

Arena director David Blackwell said the addition of the sandwill bring the arena up to the standards of several equestriandisciplines by providing better footing for the horses. Heexplained how the addition of the sand made the arena moreproductive and safer for horses.

“When there’s nothing but dirt, the horses pack the dirt into aslick pan just below the surface,” he said. “The tops look good andloose, but underneath, that hard pan is slick. If the arena is allsand, it becomes like mud, and the horse could mar up and trap afoot. That can cause pulled muscles and tendons and be damaging tothe horse.”

To create the ideal balance of sand and dirt, Blackwell workedbehind the wheel of a tractor for several days, plowing the newsand into the old dirt.

“This will keep the ground loose, the footing good and it willhold moisture,” he said. “It provides better traction and it’ssafer for the horses.”

Lincoln County Multi-Purpose Facility Manager Quinn Jordan saidthe health and performance of the horses was critical to thewell-being of the arena.

“The dirt is the life of the arena,” he said. “In order to puton and maintain a contest that will bring people in to visitLincoln County, we needed this sand. The better the footing, thebetter the event.”

Jordan said the river sand renovation would keep the facilityclosed to public riding until an unspecified date after the startof the new year, a necessary price to pay for a much-neededupgrade.

“To be a multi-purpose facility, our grounds and our arena alsohave to be multi-purpose,” he said. “We’re making strides to allowfor the grounds within our arena to be flexible enough for allequine events.”

The installation of the fresh river-washed sand was a projectbegan by the Lincoln County Multi-Purpose Facility Commission.Commission Chairman Pat McCullough received approval for theproject during a supervisors meeting on Nov. 19.

Lincoln County supervisors, working closely with Franklin CountySupervisor Jerry Howell, arranged for the free delivery ofapproximately 275 cubic yards of river sand in 40 dump truck loads.The sand was donated from land managed by Howard Herring, a memberof Ridge Point Consultants, a real estate company in FranklinCounty.