Indoor Arena Ground Improvements

By Vernon Mortensen, Utelite Corporation

The Wasatch County Events Complex ( in Heber City, Utah is one of the nicest facilities of this type in the state. Built in 2006, partially for equestrian enthusiasts to have a place out of the harsh elements of the Heber Valley, the events complex also plays host to numerous non-equestrian events each year such as high school graduations, cowboy poetry festivals, Motocross, RV Shows and a circus. Many of these events are made possible by a state-of-the-art removable floor which is placed over the ground in the large indoor arena.

Previously, when the floor would be taken up, tractors with the arena groomers would spend hours trying to break up the hard compacted clay dirt in preparation for equestrian riding events to resume. With the addition of ArenaBlend, an expanded shale lightweight aggregate supplied by Utelite Corporation in Coalville, UT, the time spent grooming the ground back into a usable state for horses was cut by approximately 80%.

In addition to time savings, the expanded fine lightweight aggregate also solved other problems or issues so frequently experienced in other indoor and outdoor arenas across the country. Fine lightweight aggregate has also been used at several other locations around the intermountain area to break up the hard clay soils keeping them loose, workable and preventing clumping and compaction. It also provides a good firm footing while maintaining an ideal moisture content, which reduces dust and keeps competition fair and equal.


Fine lightweight aggregate also works well in outdoor arenas by breaking up clay particles so the ground is more free draining and absorptive, thereby greatly reducing delays or cancellations due to rain or excessive moisture accumulation.

A video of Jon Provost, the director of the Wasatch County Events Center, sharing his thoughts on the ArenaBlend Expanded Shale Lightweight Sand is available on YouTube at

In addition to Jon’s comments about the excellent condition of the ground after a very large, weekend-long barrel race event, Annie Rose with the Utah Barrel Racing Association said, “In 20+ years as a Professional Barrel Racer I have never seen and run on such awesome, consistent and safe ground. Less water was used, less tractor time and less dust. WOW, I’m a believer in ArenaBlend.” She went on to say that they had a total of over 1,317 runners during the three-day event and the fastest time of the whole race came in the middle of the day on Sunday which also set an arena record.

Annie and several others, including facility directors, maintenance personnel and private arena owners have been amazed by the improvements in the ground condition through the implementation of expanded shale, clay and slate fine lightweight aggregate to their arenas.


For information on blending and how to determine the appropriate ratios for your arena, contact the ESCSI manufacturers in your area or visit