Raye Lochert’s Arena Drag – TR3 Rake
My name’s Ray Lochert. I’m a trainer here in Santa Rosa, California. I’m also a clinician with travel all over the United States and Canada doing expos and clinics. Training horses is something I’ve been doing for the last 24 years. My typical client is a backyard horse person who likes to go trail riding. They go camping with their horse and they also like to compete on the local level shows, things like that. I do have some higher end clients who compete on a national level and training in an arena that has hard footing or things like that just is not going to go well with my clients. They want to make sure that their horses are going to be well taken care of and I’m going to look for the best performance I can out of their horses and having great footing in my arena helps me do that.
The footing is really important to me because if it’s not consistent all the way through, the horse won’t give me his best. If there’s underlying problems like the sands too deep in some areas and too thin and others or there’s ridges underneath the horse will be real cautious about his steps. He won’t give me everything he’s got, and then I can’t get the performance I’m looking for.
The TR3 rake does a great job in my arena when I want to drag out the whole thing. Even everything out. If I just got a quick pass that I want to do, I’ll use the Arena Rascal. The Arena Rascal I use quite a bit around in the round pen. And in the round pen, the horses are moving quite a bit faster and doing a lot harder turns and things like that and The Arena Rascal really can fluff up the footing a round pen perfectly. The Arena Rascal when I first got it. I used it just primarily for dragging the round pen, but I found many more uses for it. I can rip up pastures with that as well. Smaller areas, tighter areas. If I don’t feel like jumping on the tractor and I just want to climb on the quad and do a quick pass through the arena, the Arena Rascal is perfect for that. Dragging the gravel driveway is if I wanted to quit, touch up the Arena Rascal is fantastic.
I have a perfect application for it in the round pen. That’s where I use most of it. It’s easy to get in and out of the gate. It bites down into the dirt. Fluffs it up perfectly. I get a perfect 3 inch little fluff throughout the entire round pen and it keeps everything nice and flat. Before I bought the TR3, what I was using quite a bit of was I was using arena groomers. I actually had a soil conditioner, chain harrows, discs, anything to break up the footing, box scrapers to even it out. I’d spent a lot of time changing out implements, using different things just to get it just about where I want to. And I still was never happy. I was still too firm in some spots, too soft another.
The TR3 rake has been the best equipment purchase I’ve made on our ranch in I don’t know how many years. The TR3 allowed me to sell four different implements. This is the one that stays on my tractor more often than not. I use it not only for the arena, but it allows me to grade all our gravel driveways around here. It allows me to rip up our pastures for preparation for seeding in the fall. It has been a fantastic piece of equipment here at the ranch.
I used to use a chain harrow on our arenas and you know, in the beginning it looked like it was doing a great job that made the arena look real pretty and everything like that. But after time it starts. It’s just dragging across concrete as well. It seems like it’s not actually breaking up the top 2 inches or 3 inches. It’s only getting in maybe a quarter of an inch. And that’s just not enough for your horse to want to give you its all. It’s kind of like if you were running barefoot across concrete and you’re going to be much more comfortable running on the beach or in the sand. Your feet are going to move more freely. You’re not worried about your joints, but if you’re running down the street on concrete, you’re going to be a lot more cautious with your steps and your horse is going to be the same way.
That’s what a chain arrow will do to your arena over time. TR3 will actually rip down into your footing, fluff it up so it’s more like running in tennis shoes and being a lot more comfortable for your horses joints makes it easier for him to move, gives them a little better grip on the footing. So he’s not going to slip and slide. He’s not going to stick a hoof, which would jar his joints or pull a muscle or tendon or something like that. TR3 will help you prevent all those things.
One of the nice things about the TR3 is when we were first building this arena, we had sand all over the place and I couldn’t get it level. I was trying to use a box scraper, try to use a blade, try to use drags and it wasn’t working out just right. The TR3 showed up on a pallet. I put the wheels on, hooked it up to the tractor, came in this arena, never watched a video on it, never read a manual on it, hooked up to the tractor and leveled it to where I thought it should be and just did two passes in the arena. Everything was perfect after that.
The Arena Rascal is just a hook up and go type of thing. It’s very easy to adjust. You can lower and raise the teeth wherever you want. You can adjust the tilt to the comb to drag dirt. Just fluff it up behind you. TR3 is the same thing. You can fix the comb just perfectly. So does it doesn’t go too deep, it just fluffs it. Or you can drop the teeth and pick up the hard pack.
The self leveling blade picks up off the top area and drops it into low spots for nice even consistency all the way through.
If you’ve got just a backyard uncovered arena, that may be just dirt. Getting that just right makes it better for your horse. Safer for your horse. Safer for you. If a horse stumbles and falls, you could come off the horse. With the TR3, that’s going to soften up your dirt. It’s going to level it out. It’s going to make it a consistent footing all the way through. And then your horse can move more freely, more comfortably, and you’ll be much more secure in the saddle. And it just makes everything a lot easier for both you and your horse.