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When you’re riding, you have plenty of things you need to focus on and it is important to have the proper arena footing for horse and rider safety. Whether you are working on lead changes or practicing a dressage test in your arena, the footing material should be the last thing you’re worried about.
Wish you knew more about horse arena footing? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more about footing and raw materials for the ideal arena.
Why Is Horse Arena Footing Important?
A good horse arena footing will allow a horse’s legs to slide into the loading phase. In horse gait mechanics, the loading phase is the period of time in which a limb accepts the majority of its body weight. Once the weight has been accepted and the hoof is completely in contact with the ground, it will push off of the surface in order to generate movement.
Soft tissues are more likely to be injured during the loading phase. It’s important that your arena footing can support both the impact of movement as well as the push-off into motion.
Qualities of Good Horse Arena Footing
The ideal horse arena footing is a firm but springy surface with great traction. This material should preferably minimize the amount of dust created when the horse is moving around the space. The right material will:
- Provide traction for movement
- Is easy to maintain
- Provides a clean and safe environment for horse and rider
- Absorbs impact and allows for a safe, cushioned surface to generate movement
Types of Horse Arena Materials
When browsing footing raw materials, most equestrian centers tend to lean towards a material that is both affordable and long-lasting. The most common materials include sand and wood products.
Sand is the most common material for horse arenas. The particle size may vary, so you will want to do your research to determine how fine the sand should be in your arena. Sand should not be spread deeper than 6 inches to avoid injury.
While wood products have a tendency to be sharp and not as supportive as sand, a finely milled sawdust is sometimes used to provide cushioning and moisture-holding. Because of the fibers in wood products, this type of footing provides ample traction.
Horse Arena Maintenance
Maintaining your footing is a crucial aspect of keeping your investment in working order. A proper horse arena drag will move the footing back to where it should be. This will help you to avoid any dips and uneven
Ride With Confidence
Once you have created a safe environment for riding, training can become more productive. You can also ride knowing that your horse is much less likely to experience injuries on safe and cushioned horse arena footing.
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