Archive for September, 2015

Picking up Manure in Horse Arenas

September 29, 2015

We love to catch up with customers. If we are in the area of where we know an arena is installed, we always like to see if we can stop in and check out the arena. I talked to a customer the other day that has had our footing for 9 years, and still tells me how much she loves it! Think of all of the time and water she has saved during the past 9 years!

One of the biggest mistakes that many of our customers make is to not pick up their horse manure in the arena. Many people don’t know this but leaving horse manure in an arena, actually adds dust. Manure is made up of organic material. When manure is left in an arena and is ridden over, it breaks into smaller pieces. Not only do these smaller pieces release airborne bacteria, but it also releases the dry particles that create dust. We had one customer who had our dust free footing in her arena, and her boarders were leaving their horse poop in the arena when they rode. She contacted us because her arena footing became dusty. After viewing the footing under the microscope, we discovered that it was full of organic material and there really was no way to fix the arena without completely removing the contaminated footing and replacing it with new footing.Untitled-1

Being sure that both you and whoever else rides in your arena picks up their horses manure is crucial. We recommend that every barn with our footing post signs around the arena that reminds boarders or trainers that the poop has to be picked up. We also urge everyone to keep a bucket with a pitchfork in the arena to further remind everyone to pick up their manure, and to stop anyone from having an excuse from picking it up. Whether riders pick it up immediately after the horse does their business, or after they’re done riding is not an issue. If they decide to wait until they are done riding in the arena or there is a busy class going on and don’t have time to pick it up during the class, it is important to not ride through the manure during the rest of the ride or lesson. When a horse rides over it, the manure will be pushed deeper into the footing, making it almost impossible to pick up without accidentally leaving some behind.

Always picking up the manure is going to increase the longevity of your arena. Our oldest dust free footing was installed in an arena over 14 years ago and is still doing great! If you have any questions about the maintenance of our footing or would like a sample please feel free to contact us!

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Retaining Boards in Arenas

September 21, 2015

Let’s talk about outdoor arenas. What is your biggest issue with your outdoor arena? Outdoor arenas are trickier to build and maintain than an indoor, for the fact that you are working against Mother Nature. An all-weather horse arena needs to be designed and constructed to deal with the many different weather conditions that Mother Nature may send your way. Having a traditional sand arena during these situations can make the fight even harder.

I think there are many aspects of outdoor arenas that are overlooked when building, then by the time you are done you wished you had done something differently. One of the biggest, minor things that I think is overlooked is the importance of retaining boards in an arena.

Retaining boards are very critical to an arena. They have the job of holding the footing in the arena, and stopping it from migrating into the drainage outside of the arena or grass. Many times, without using a retaining board, footing is pushed to the outside every time the arena is groomed. During this instance, customers have to replenish their arena every few years because of footing loss into their yard. Along with keeping the footing in the arena, retaining boards also create a nice clean boarder around the arena. This will stop grass from growing in the arena, and make it easy to maintain and mow the area around it.

Just below, you can see a graphic of a side view of how arenas should look. Your base should be about 2-3 inches of large aggregate stones, with 2-3 inches of compacted stone dust on top of that. Your retaining board needs to sit on the outside of your fence posts, directly on top of the aggregate stone. The retaining board can be held in place by the aggregate stone drainage on the outside of the arena, or you can install pins in the boards to hold it in place. The top of the board should be about 1-2 inches above your footing in order to stop the footing from escaping the arena.Footing Side View

IGK Equestrian has spent years studying and researching the best ways to build both outdoor and indoor arenas. We have driven or flown out to see customers, whether an hour away or across the country many times to help them with the installation process of their arena, and we can come to your arena for a consultation at any time, just call us up or send us information online! Our dust-free footings are the perfect addition to your arena installation. With never having to water the arena and less time on maintenance, you have more time to ride and train your horses.

Is there something you wish you did differently when installing your arena?

Barn Hacks For Your Barn

September 8, 2015

Running a barn is a lot of work. Whether you have IMG_2205a lot of help or not. It can be easier with different tips and tricks that you can use around your barn. I’ve pulled together a nice list of a few “barn hacks” to make your life at the barn easier!

  • In the summer, freeze gallon jugs of water and throw them in your outdoor water buckets to keep the water cool for your horses.
  • Put your feed and hay in a central location in your barn so that you’re not running to one end of the barn every time you have to feed someone.
  • Mount a bucket horizontal with the opening facing out where your hose is, you can wrap the hose around the bucket for organizing your hose, and the bucket serves as a perfect spot to store your nozzles, brushes and soaps for giving your horse a bath!
  • If your horse likes to drag his bedding out into the isle, install broom bristles at the opening of his stall, it will keep the bedding in.
  • The most annoying noise to me is when you drop a cross tie and it clinks against the wall, I’ve even had horses scare from this noise. To help this issue cut a tennis ball on both ends to slip the cross tie through, it won’t make any loud noises when you drop it!
  • Install a PVC pipe near an indoor or outdoor arena to hold your various whips. If it’s outside just make sure to drill a hole in the bottom so that water can get out.
  • Colored duct tape is a great way to distinguish everyone’s supplies, just tape the handles of grooming supplies. Everyone gets their own color or their own pattern.
  • Use shoe organizers in your tack room to store all of your polo wraps and boots either in the barn or in your trailer. Grab a larger clothes hanging organizer to store helmets!
  • A pool skimmer comes in handy when trying to clean out your horses water bucket, quickly use it to grab debris that’s in both your outdoor water buckets and stall buckets!
  • During the winter time, hang your bridle around your neck, inside your jacket to warm it up for your horse, they’ll greatly appreciate a warm bridle and bit!

I would love to hear any other “barn hacks” that you may have in the comments below!

No Foam Compaction, Ever!

September 1, 2015

IMG_0538I’ve had a few questions lately on how our foam does over time. So I thought this would be the perfect topic for this week’s blog. My favorite thing about my job is catching up with old customers of ours. It’s usually a call or sometimes they’ll return an email describing how much their horse loves SuperStall, and most of the time I’ll hear that they’ve had them in for several years.

In 2008 we decided that we would take what we knew about cow comfort from selling mattresses to dairy farms through North Brook Farms, to IGK Equestrian and create a horse stall mattress system with the same quality foam and a topcover. The foam we choose, called an open cell foam, was specifically made to accommodate horses and their size. Horses are usually lighter animals (other than all those draft horses out there!) compared to cows and have a wider hoof; because of these differences, the foam needs to be optimized to a horse’s weight and stature and so we’ve created a foam to specifically suit a horse’s needs.

Despite being incredibly soft and light, don’t let this foam fool you – it’s very tough. Since 2003, we’ve installed tens of thousands of pieces under both cows and horses and our oldest pieces of foam under both types animals are still going strong! Our customers do not see compaction or break down and the animals continue to get a soft, supportive bed to relax and recuperate on. Over the last 12 years, topcover has been pulled back to reveal foam looking like it was just put in. We’ve tested the foam to have less than 1% compaction over a decade of keeping animals comfortable, and our customers are truly amazed at how the foam never changes and consistently offers their horses a supportive surface for their legs and hooves in their box stalls.  One word of caution when using these mattresses: be ready to hear the snores of a horse that you never thought would lay down. Loud snores have scared the dickens out of more than a few owners and hands coming in for AM chores.

I’d love to hear any other questions that you may have about our SuperStall System! Please feel free to contact me at info@igkequestrian.com!


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