The best way to maintain a consistent footing is to keep the footing moist vs. letting it become completely dry before watering it again. When allowing the footing moisture content to go up and down, the feeling and performance of the footing will be inconsistent.
The key is to find a balance between the performance requirements of the arena, the volume of water you are able to practically apply in one session, the frequency that you will be watering, and the rate the water will be evaporating.
It is common sense to assume that the longer you go between watering, i.e. the drier the arena, the greater the volume of water needed to bring it back to the ideal moisture levels. If you water the arena every day and it’s still pretty moist the next day, then you would need to put down a lesser amount of water than if you’re watering every four days.
As the footing gets drier, the amount of support that the footing offers is also reduced. Therfore, the more demanding the work being done in the arena, the more important it is to keep the moisture level consistent.
In order to figure out how much water you would need to be consistent, you will need to know 2 things.
1. The volume of sand in your arena (Length x Width x Depth)
2. The ideal moisture level you are trying to achieve.
Contact your footing company for their ideal moisture level and purchase a moisture meter to ensure proper moisture levels. This simple tool will ensure ideal footing performance and take all the guess work out of your watering routine. By knowing the moisture levels of your footing, you will know with certainty how much or little water to add to your riding surface. This will give you a footing that consistently performs correctly.