North Carolina Heavy Rains And A Perfect Base

April 18, 2010

So we had massive rains (think buckets of water dumping from the sky). It was so loud pounding on the roof that I woke up and my first thought is how I wished I could look out and watch how the base was battling the rain. The next morning first thing I looked and the base won and MY, MY how did it win. There were puddles of water all around but the base, smooth and perfect without blemishes was just there no puddles, nada! I walked out there and as silly as it seemed I thought how fun it would be to lay down, look at the still rainy sky above and make snow angels in this perfection. I immediately snapped back to reality thinking, those guys would kill me if I ruined their perfect work. Hehe.


The other half will be getting leveled and we’ll have part of the sand delivered to get ready for blending with the GGT footing. I simply can’t wait to see this. It’s going to look amazing!

So I will be installing more kickboard all the way around to make up for the bad local folks work and one final complaint/note to myself is to make sure and hire real pros (like Attwood Equestrian Surfaces) for the entire project so you’re not spending extras for more materials in base and kickboard or anything else. You guys at AES are simply the best!

Attwood Equestrian Surfaces!!!!

April 17, 2010

Anil and Jason, with Attwood Equestrian Surfaces, showed up to do the finish grading only to find out they also had to fix the awful rough grade. What I learned from all this is I should have asked Attwood about doing the entire job from start to finish. They immediately set the laser level and went to work showing me all the errors in the rough grade. Don’t worry is what they said. This is what they do and they can fix it and produce a wonderful arena.

Essentially these guys did our rough grade walking every foot feet to set the grid of the sub-base and how to properly set the base on top of it. It WAS/IS a science and I so respect their work. They were super professional, fun to chat with and just all around nice people!

Anil is a maestro with the Bobcat! Wow, he dusted base with the bucket like a find chef sprinkles on seasoning! What fun to watch!


Did I mention they were hard workers? They started a little after 8 in the morning, worked solid (NO lunch break) until almost 8 in the evening!


Here’s the roller in the sunset.


As if walking a grid with the laser level wasn’t perfect enough, they laser grade the surface!


The ultimate professionals! I’ve never worked with people so passionate and good at what they do when it comes to arena development and working with heavy equipment!

All My Ducks In A Row

April 16, 2010

I took this as a sign for the best possible outcome with the arena. All my ducks (and peeps) were in a row!


Just look at how pretty Dooney is. What a great close up!


Over Two Hundred Tons Of Base

April 15, 2010

We brought in over 200 tons of base material to be rough graded by the local “pro” land clearing guys. I worked with Morton Trucking and have NOTHING BUT AMAZING THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THEM. Ben, the drivers and everyone I came in contact with at Morton Trucking is awesome. If you’re looking for talented drivers, great product and quality service I HIGHLY recommend these folks! Their website is and if you’re in the area and in need of material, please check with them. Awesome folks!

Ben ran 4 trucks for our job that day. Here’s one of the trucks driving and dumping the base for me. The drivers were awesome asking me specific placement for each load and a joy to work with. Their professionalism made my day!

It was the beginning of the end when the local “pro” land clearing guys didn’t phone and didn’t show up until 11:30. I found out their dozer guy didn’t show up and he let it slip the rest of his crew didn’t show up either for other jobs stating they were likely still hung over. Whoa. That’s not so “pro” if you ask me. Ex and I jumped in saying we could do our best with the awesome Kieser Edge to drag and drag for a bit of leveling and the owner of the company informed me they would be back first thing in the morning. Here’s Ex using our modified Kieser Edge! Thanks Scott and ABI Equine!


So essentially they didn’t show up the next morning, they didn’t phone again and I rang them up at 11:30 to find out their dozer guy was still out. How hard would a 2 minute phone call at 8:00 in the morning been? Oh well, I fired them, the owner said he would be there in the afternoon to pick up his dozer and roller and told me to “have my cash ready” so I guess it was about the money and not a good job. Just a funny side note, they showed up to pick up part of the equipment, commented how his dozer was $95,000 and that my job was a small one. I wanted to reply (but bit my tongue) “Your dozer is worth zero unless you have a skilled person to operate it.” So my rant with the local guys is almost over. I promise. 😉

Here’s the arena after Ex and I spent about 5 hours dragging and dragging. The Kieser Edge is brilliant at leveling and so easy to pull!


Building Containment

April 14, 2010

I should back track a little bit from my previous blog on the “rough grade” as at that time I did think it odd they wanted cash payment and I try to believe people when they tell me something and the owner of the land clearing company directly told me “It’s as good as it’s gonna get. There’s about a 4.5 to 5 inch drop on either side like you asked for and only about a 3 inch drop from one end to the other.” so I was thinking 3 inches across the long side was not TOO bad. So… we begin to build our containment on his rough grade going on that he wasn’t lying. Hmfp!

I need to say it now and say it many times. My partner is a rock star. He is the best. He works hard. He’s the best fence post digger, setter, leveler in the entire state of the North Carolina. Moreover, what I’m proud of is how he is proud of me, supports me, HorseGirlTV and my ambition to represent the US at our Pan American games! That said we can move on to the 132 posts that were dug, the 132 posts that were set in concrete in a near perfect line and over 500 feet of 2 by 8s laid up to make the containment (essentially the box for our sandbox!).

Yes… 132 of these all spaced a few feet apart and 2 feet deep.


ALL of them set in concrete and nice and level.


The post hole dirt moved. Well, most of it at least.


Over 500 feet of kickboard cut and installed. Yes, I helped!


A hot day was made low sweat by my Draper Equine Therapy tee and the nice face cover of my Stübben cap. Thanks Draper and Stübben!!


Now had all this 3 days of work been on a true and honest rough grade we would have been golden! The next step?.. Bring in your base.

A Rough Experience With Rough Grading

April 12, 2010

To say it was a rough experience with the local “professionals” doing the rough grade for me would be the UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY! Now these guys were nice, I’ll give them that but they evidently they way over-faced themselves with what I thought was not rocket science. Evidently… it IS!

They will go un-named but if you’re in Eastern North Carolina and looking for a recommendation of who NOT to use for your arena rough work just contact me. 😉

They came out a few times, looked at the existing pad, said yes we can do it, gave a quote and after a couple times of this over the last 4 months I committed to working with them on the rough grade. They were 100% aware of how exact this needed to be. It’s not hand-grenades or horse shoes by a long shot.

I’m realizing there isn’t a short way to explain this but in as short as possible, they didn’t do what they said, still expected payment (in cash I might add) and thought it acceptable to drive their bulldozer across my law making horrendous tracks. All the while I was thinking how foolish I was to think these guys could actually do what they said they could.

Regardless, I did take some pictures and video of rough grading for the record as we’re shooting a series on arena dev and footing with this project. Now I can surely pass along what NOT to do when hiring local so stay tuned for the webisodes!


Their first go round was massive drop from one end to the other. The guy walked off the job leaving me hanging but then came back saying he would give it one more try. To be exact I put the sketch we’d been referencing on a light cardboard (picture below). I thought with that it would be near impossible for them to NOT understand what I was talking about. Really it wasn’t a matter of not understanding but rather a matter of not caring and just wanted their cash payment and move on. Oh well! Again lesson learned! Here’s a snap of my plans. I put this on the ground and basically said “make this please” and he scratched his head. At that point I should have followed Monty Python’s lead “run away. run away. run away.” haha!


Do keep in mind the next step after (after proper I might add) rough grade is the containment. Sigh!

Picollo’s Hiding Place

April 11, 2010

This is completely random but now that I have my work station standing up with my writing desk to my back, Picollo and Zita find it completely necessary every morning to play, quite literally, at my ankles or ON my feet. When Picollo has had enough playing yet Zita still doesn’t realize it, he hides under the writing desk. Just too cute!


Spring Ducklings & Peeps

April 10, 2010

What else could someone who’s planning a massive arena project need but the time it takes to prep peeps and ducklings in a cage. I drove down to the local feed store to pick up some feed for the horses and came back with these! Ex mentioned wanting ducks but probably not in the middle of preparation for our biggest project on the farm this past year! LOL!

It was too sweet this little rooster falling asleep standing up!


They are still a bit nervous but quickly eating and drinking so definitely settling in.


This is my favorite. I’m hoping she’s a Peking and we’re calling her Dooney. The other one is maybe an Indian Runner and is named Burke. The peeps don’t/won’t have names.


Developing Summer Evening Paddocks

April 9, 2010

Coming out to the East Coast this whole turning out during the summer over night was very new to me but after my first hot and humid days of late spring I quickly grasp the necessity of nightly turnout with the days inside under a fan!

Last summer the horses were out in pastures in the evening just roaming around. I thought this summer it would be nice to setup a series of smaller paddocks already for dry lot that they could overnight in saving the larger pastures for a few hours of daily grazing. The result thus far is a couple 2 rail (like Anky’s!) paddocks with packed stone dust set a bit off the creek.


The dogs were very diligent about helping out!


They are getting closer to being complete and ready for the hot summer days and kinda hot nights.


Our Very Own Easter Bunny!

April 4, 2010

This little guy walked up the drive, under the gate and sat down near the tree and daffodils for a good half hour. I thought it was sweet for the Easter Bunny to stop by personally and visit us! Now that’s service! Happy Easter HorseGirlTV® fans!