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The irrigation project at the Pibrac horse-riding club

IRRIGATION NEEDS TO BE APPLIED DAILY, IN THE CORRECT AMOUNT AND UNIFORMLY OVER THE WHOLE ARENA, THE SAND HAVING THE DISTINCTIVE FEATURE OF BEING VERY DRY AND VERY VOLATILE, CREATING A DUSTY ATMOSPHERE THAT IS ANNOYING FOR THE HORSES AND RIDERS.

 

The Pibrac riding club in the Haute-Garonne region has been equipped with an efficient irriga­tion system for watering its two sand-fibre riding sur­faces. This is a project to which Frans Bonhomme has provided a global solution, benefitting from his knowledge in the field of irrigating riding centres: including the preliminary technical survey, delivery of products and equipment and monitoring the project right the way through to its commissioning.

This is a project to which Frans Bonhomme has provided a global solution

According to Claude Pujol, Irrigation Project Engineer at Frans Bonhomme, there is a niche market for irrigating riding centres: “These last few years we have acquired solid experience in irrigation systems applied to riding centres that use sand fibre on the arenas and courses, with ten or so installations of this type in the South-west. Frans Bonhomme is one of the few suppliers on the market to offer a comprehensive solution: we bring our technical know-how to these riding clubs, guarantee the delivery of efficient products and equipment as well as monitoring the installation right up until it is put into service. This A to Z support is very much appreciated on a growing market.”

 

THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED WITH THE PIBRAC RIDING CLUB

The Pibrac Riding Club has two riding arenas of 45 m x 80 m for the daily routine work of looking after the horses, dressage and competitions. One of these surfaces is covered with sand fibre: it is an ideal sand texture for the horses, which has the advantage of preventing injuries.

Nevertheless, this type of sand has the distinctive feature of being very dry and very volatile, creating a dusty atmosphere that is annoying for both horses and riders. It is, therefore, important to keep it maintained and dampened to ensure that it remains even and thus the surfaces of the arenas are usable. To achieve this, irrigation needs to be applied daily, in the correct amount and uniformly over the whole arena.

Previously, water was applied by a sprayer, using a mobile tank towed behind a tractor. The amount applied could not be controlled, a lot of water was wasted and its distribution was unsatisfactory.

 

A DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT

Frans Bonhomme carried out the preliminary technical study which dealt with the pumping station, water system and electrical control panel with the inclusion of a controller.

The system was set up by Thierry Llorca, an installer. Very good quality natural water supplied from an existing artesian well is used for irrigation. 20 to 30 m3 of water is required per day for watering the two riding arenas. However, the well delivers 1.5 m3 per hour, which is sufficient for the daily irrigation of the two courses.

However, the flow rate of the water drawn from the well was very weak. Therefore, a pump was installed in the well for the purpose of filling a 120 m3 flexible storage tank. On the other hand, a pumping station with a flow rate of 18 m3/h sends the water along a PE pipe system to 12 big gun sprinklers located around the edge of the arenas (i.e. 6 guns per arena). One sprinkler is positioned along each stretch of the arena.

A programmer is installed to control automatically the run time of each gun so each arena is irrigated uniformly and thus a high-quality riding surface is ensured.

 

THE ADOPTED SOLUTION

• 63 cm diameter PE pipes connected by thermally welded sleeves

• Citerneo 120 m3 flexible storage tank

• Jetly 7.5 kw pumping station, flow rate 18 m3/h

• 12 Rain Bird sprinklers, 6 per arena.

• 1 ESP 4 ME Rain controller

 

THE BENEFITS OF THE ADOPTED SOLUTION

The club’s managers irrigate every day in short durations, i.e. around ten minutes of irrigation with a big gun. An arena is irrigated in less than one hour. The water consumption is 10 m3/irri­gation per arena.

According to Géraldine Martres, President of the Pibrac Riding Club Association: “This new irrigation system enables us to ensure that the surface is always wetted, which is absolutely perfect for maintaining the arenas. High quality maintenance of the surface is essential for the well-being of the horses in terms of soil impact and it reduces the amount of dust. Furthermore, this regular and controlled form of irrigation enables us to make significant savings on water.”

“We are very satisfied with our relationship with Frans Bonhomme. In particular, the preliminary technical study carried out by Claude Pujol was very useful. Moreover, the team is always available, having come to the site on several occasions to ensure coordination between the different contractors and give advice. The team supported us at each stage of the project, which was much appreciated!”.

 

THE MAIN PLAYERS

• Client: Association Club Hippique de Pibrac

• Assisting with the preliminary study: Frans Bonhomme

• Installer: Thiery Llorca

• Product supplier: Rain Bird, Jetly, Citerneo

• Distributor: Frans Bonhomme