Archive for the ‘Arena footing’ Category

Arena Etiquette

March 24, 2016

I grew up riding outside with my friends down trails, across field, everywhere. Then one day I found myself leasing a horse in a local barn, where I now had to ride in an arena with multiple people, and had no idea about arena etiquette. I quickly learned that ring etiquette is very important! Let’s take a look at some of the main riding ring rules at most arenas.

  • Be courteous when you ride with others. Everyone is at different riding levels.
  • Slower riders should stay to the inside of the arena, while faster pace riders should stay on the outside of the arena.Horse Arena 019
  • Try to ride the same direction around the arena, but if for some reason you have to pass by riders, the rule is left shoulder to left shoulder when passing another rider.
  • Mount and dismount your horse out of the way in the center of the arena, not on the rail where everyone is riding.
  • Cue your horse quietly and away from other horses. You know exactly how your horse needs to be cued, but another horse could be very responsive and you could end up cuing another rider’s horse, which could cause problems.
  • If you need to stop your horse, be sure to move out of the path of riders and into the center of the arena before your stop.
  • Be prepared for an emergency. If a rider falls of his/her horse, stop your horse immediately and dismount. If you are closest to the rider that has fallen, see if they are hurt.

Most barns have arena rules posted, before you ride, check with your barn manager on what their specific riding rules are. Follow the rules and have fun riding!

Does your arena have any additional arena riding rule?

How Long Does Your Footing Last? Part 2

March 24, 2016

Last week I talked about our most popular question: “how long does yourIMG_0897 arena footing last?” We talked about how the sand particle plays a huge role in the longevity of your arena footing. Today we’re going to talk about the different additives you can have in your footing and how those play into the longevity of the footing.

As I’ve spoke about in blog posts before, we spent a lot of time finding the perfect ingredients for our footing. When it comes to additives for your footing, there are vast options. Let’s start with fibers that can be added to the footing. Fiber is divided into the natural or synthetic fiber categories. Examples of natural fibers are burlap and cotton, and synthetic fibers can be nylon or polypropylene. Fibers interweave with each other and create a web-like surface, which then creates a stable and consistent footing. Fiber is mixed in with sand footing and should not be used alone. We use a mix of both nylon and polypropylene. Depending on the footing, they are normally ¼”-1.5” long. Fiber is a major factor in extending the life of your arena footing. If you choose to use a natural fiber, the fibers will break down much faster than a synthetic fiber and will need to be replenished. By choosing a synthetic fiber, we added stability to our footing, but also increased the longevity.

In order to keep our footing dust free, we coat all components of our footing in wax. Not only does the wax make our footing dust free, but it also increases the life of the footing. There are lots of other options that are usined in footings to coat the material to keep it dust free, both natural and synthetic, but nothing seems to last as long as wax. Our oldest footing is 14 years old and is still going strong! Wax does not break down and decompose like other binders.

Choosing one of our footings not only saves you time and money spent on fighting dust and the amount of labor it takes to maintain a normal arena footing, but also ensures a footing that will last year after year. We worked hard to find the perfect materials to give you the perfect arena footing!

How Long Does Our Arena Footing Last

March 1, 2016

We had a great show at the New York State Farm Show this past week. Shows really give me an opportunity to educate many barn owners, trainers, and riders about our footing. They get the chance to stick their hands in it and get a feel for the different properties of each footing. When I go to shows I always pay close attention to the different questions that I’m asked. The most popular question at this show was “how long does your dust-free arena footing last?” Footing longevity is our most popular questions!

The longevity of footing really comes down to the components of it. Let’s take a look at the sand this week. You have no idea how different sand particles can be until you start comparing them. We have looked at sand from all over the world! The size, shape, and mineral composition are the most important properties when it comes to sand for horse arenas.

Mineral composition is going to be the most important. Basically, this is how hard or soft your sand is. For a horse arena you need something that is very hard and can take the pounding of hooves on it. If you choose too soft of a material, it will break down into very fine particles and create dust in your arena. Choosing a hard sand particle is the first and most important thing when it comes to the longevity of the footing.

Arena Footing SandThe particle shape is the next most important. The shape of the sand plays an important part in the way the arena footing will perform. If you choose a rounded particle, it will create an unstable surface because these particles tend to roll. But if you choose an angular or subangular sand, it will lock together creating a more stable surface. You want your sand to lock together to create the stable surface but you don’t want them to lock too tightly together; this could potentially create a very hard, concrete like surface.

Lastly, you can take a look at choosing between clean/washed sand or unwashed sand. If you just get sand from a pit, it could contain a lot of silt, clay or organic material. All of these materials are the components that make up dust in your arena. Some barn owners decide not to clean their sand because they believe that the sand will move more if it doesn’t have all of the impurities holding it down. You will have to decide if you’d rather use clean sand or uncleaned sand.

Sand is a huge factor in how long your arena footing will last. We specifically looked for years for the perfect sand that we wanted to use in our footing. We found one that is very hard, has the right shape to it, and has no organic material in it. By using this specific sand we have created the perfect formula for our dust-free footing. Next week we can take a look at the specific additives in our footing and how that truly affects the breakdown of the arena over time!

How did you decide on what sand to use in your arena?

Deep Sand in Your Horse Arena

February 1, 2016

Have ever tried to run on the beach? Not on the wet sand near the water, but in the dry, deep sand in your arenadeeper sand? You have to struggle just to walk through it; running is even harder! Horses struggle just as much through deep sand. Having deep sand in your horse arena can be potentially dangerous for your horse.

Sand is the most popular footing and is relatively inexpensive. The issue is that you want it deep enough to give your horse traction and provide cushion, but you don’t want it to be so deep to the point where your horse is struggling through it. Sand should only be about two inches deep in your arena. If you are practicing reining, or something else along those lines, you may want it a little bit deeper but not by much. There should not be one-inch deep horse prints in the footing after riding, and the sand should never cover the hoof while standing in the arena.

Deep sand in your arena can lead to various injuries, but almost all of these injuries have to do with the tendons and muscles in your horse’s legs. They can develop wind puffs, or fluid filled swellings, which are almost always chronic, strains and sprains in the legs, which can consist of either just a strain or a complete rupture of a tendon, and lastly a pulled shoulder or hindquarter. Pay close attention to your horse and their actions. If he seems to be sweating more or seems to be working harder, he could possibly have a strained muscle in his legs.

Instead of having to worry about if your deep sand in your arena is going to injure your horse, put one of our dust-free footings in your arena. The fiber in our footings creates a web-like surface allowing for your horse to spring off the surface and not sink into the footing. The lattice-like footing also eliminates tracking in your arenas so you will never see those deep horse footprints in your sand again!

Do Your Research Before You Build!

February 1, 2016

Researching horse arenas is your very first step in building one. And then do more research; and then even more. I always suggest looking at forums, such as Chronofhorse.com and seeing what problems others are having with their arenas, and see what they did wrong or how they fixed it. It’s important to be aware of potential issues if the arena is not installed correctly from the beginning.

One major problem I always see on forums is that horses are “punching” through the footing to the base. Most of the time when this occurs, it is from an incorrect installation of a base. A base for your arena should consist of compacted subsoil, then 3-4 inches of large aggregate stone, followed by a geotextile fabric, and then 3-4 inches of compacted limestone with your footing on top. Clay should absolutely not be used as a base material. Your base will take a beating from riding on top of the footing. If you use clay as your base, it will eventually break down from the beating and from constant moisture. When the clay breaks down, you will have uneven spots in your arena where the clay has collapsed, and dust from the smaller particles.

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A second issue that I see a lot in forums is standing water in your outdoor arena. This can be caused from a few things. Your base needs to be slightly crowned so that water moves to the outside of your arena. On the outside of your arena, buried about six inches deep should be perforated drains that run the perimeter of your arena. These drains will carry water away from your arena so that your arena does not hold water. It is very important to make sure your outdoor arena has drainage, even if the arena is located in a higher section of your property.

Lastly, I see a lot of issues with dust. Everyone has different ways to fight dust in their arena, whether it be watering the arena daily, adding different kinds of salts, or trying different sands. I’ve seen everything from pond sand, to river sand, to pool sand; but no matter what type of sand if it is not coated, you’re going to have dust. Our dust-free arena footings are all 100% dust-free. Our footings consist of silica sand, different additives based on what type of footing you choose such as fiber and rubber granules, and then both the sand and additives are coated in wax. The wax acts as a binder to hold all of the products together, and also coats the sand so that you will never have any dust! Choosing a footing that is dust-free is much more cost effective than fighting dust, year after year. Add one of our dust-free footings to your arena, and enjoy it for years to come!

Did you do research before you built your arena?

Footing for an Outdoor Arena

February 1, 2016

I don’t know about you but I am definitely missing riding in the outdoor arena. Riding in the indoor of course is nice, but there is nothing like riding outside in the fresh air with a great view. Finding the correct footing for an outdoor arena can be tough at times; here are a few things to look for when choosing footing for your outdoor arena.

  • Your arena should be able to be wet and still ride on; it should not become slippery and or hard after getting wet. There are a few footing options that can become very slippery even with the slightest amount of moisture such as dew on your arena. Slippery arenas can be catastrophic for your horse. (check out this blog I wrote on slippery footing!) It should also not be rock hard after rain. Some types of sand will become almost like concrete after rain, not something you want to have to spend time on trying to break up.
  • The footing should not break down outside. When withstanding the elements, some footings break down very fast and have to be replenished often; costing you lots of time and money. Any organic matter that is in your footing will break down in a rainy climate.
  • If you have additives in your footing, they have to be held in the footing. For example: if you have fiber or smaller rubber additives, they should not be blowing away with the wind. You don’t want to watch thousands of dollars just drift out of your arena and across your property.

Finding the perfect recipe of footing for an outdoor arena can be tough at times, but look no further than our dust-free footing products. All of our dust-free footingsFooting for an outdoor arena can be used in outdoor arenas. All of our footings are composed of pure silica sand that is sub-angular, giving horses the perfect amount of grip, while not compacting. The additives in the footing are bound to the sand with our wax component. The wax in the footing not only binds the elements to hold the footing together, but it also is what makes our footing dust-free, you no longer have to water your outdoor arena! The wax component allows for water to wick off of the surface, so that you can ride immediately after a rainstorm.

Don’t spend more time fighting with footing in your outdoor arena. Switch to our synthetic dust-free footing and no longer worry about your footing becoming hard, slippery, loosing your additives, or replenishing your arena constantly!

Do you like riding in an indoor or outdoor more?

Why Our Footing Cannot Be Mixed With Your Footing

February 1, 2016

Around this time of the year, customers are planning their spring barn projects causing our number of inquiries to rise; along with how many questions we get about our footings. Recently, we’ve noticed a few popular questions come up, with the most popular being: “what do I do with my old footing? Can yours be mixed in?”

Our footing is manufactured in a specific mixing facility in Upstate NY. This allows for us to control all aspects of the environment that the mixture isArena Footing cannot be mixed,  being created in. If we did not so closely monitor the manufacturing process, the footing could end up with particles in the footing that create dust, or an incorrect type of sand in the footing, which could cause the footing to compact. We have kept the same formula for our footing since we started in 2004, and do not want to alter it in anyway.

With our footing being manufactured in such a specific way, there is not an alternate approach for making our footing such our footing to be mixed in with what is currently in your arena. If you have a current arena with footing, it will have to be completely removed in order to install our products. The most common approach for removing footing is to hire a contractor that has worked with horse arenas before. It is important to check references before the contractor starts work. The footing has to be removed in such a way that it does not damage the base. More than likely, a bit of base work will have to be done before adding our dust-free footing.

We love all of the questions that we get asked and if you have any questions I may have no answered in our blogs, let me know!

Winterize Your Horse Barn

December 1, 2015

Here in Upstate NY, our winters are brutal. Being located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, we can get buried pretty quickly by lake effect snow. In the winter of 2015, we had 125.3” of total snowfall! As we start to batten down the hatches, or close the stall windows of our barn to keep the nasty cold out, you also should start thinking about how we are going to winterize your  horse barn. Here are a few tips!

  • Stock up on supplies you may need in the winter, such as hay or bedding. Some barns I know cut and bale their own hay, but if you purchase hay from someone else, stock up on it at the end of summer when prices will be the lowest. If you wait until the first of the year when you are running out of hay, prices can almost double. Be sure your hay is stored in a well ventilated area.
  • Take the extra time you’ll be spending in the barn to do a good dusting. Cobwebs in a barn can be a fire hazard and are not sightly. Use a broom covered with a cloth and go through your barn with a good cleaning. The cobwebs and dust that has collected over the summer aren’t good for your horses’ health or yours!
  • Walk around your barn and see where there may need to be repairs. Waiting until there are sub-zero temperatures to fix a gate is definitely not an ideal situation. Complete all of the repairs that you may see. Also be sure to know where everything is located around the outside of your barn. If you live in a climate like we do, snow can accumulate very fast and you may lose sight or forget where something was placed outside of your barn. Draw a map of your facility if you have to, so that you know where everything is located outside once the snow covers it up. Be sure that gates are all still accessible in the snow.
  • Although our first instinct is to close everything in the barn up for the winter to keep heat in, you still need to keep your barn well ventilated. During the winter, your horses are probably going to be spending 50 percent or more of their time in their stall. Mucking your stall daily, and keeping good ventilation throughout your barn will keep your horses breathing healthy air and keeping them happy.
  • Make sure you have enough space for your winter manure. A 1,000 pound horse can generate 50 pounds of manure each day. Even a barn with a few horses can quickly create a mountain of manure. Before winter comes, create an adequate place to store the manure for a few months, or construct a plan on how to remove the manure even with snow on the ground and how you’re going to dispose of it.
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Winterize your Horse Barn

The biggest issues that you may face in the barn in the cold winter months are spending additional time mucking out manure from the horses being inside more, and trying to keep the dust in your indoor arena down, without freezing your footing.  Both of these potential problems can be solved by installing our SuperStall Mattress System and our Dust-Free Arena Footing. Our one piece, wall-to-wall mattress system will eliminate deep bedding and cut down on time it takes to muck out your stalls. By installing our dust free footings in your indoor arena, you no longer have to worry about watering your footing in the winter and then the footing freezing from the moisture. Winters can be hard in a horse barn, but installing our products in your barn and taking some steps to winterize your horse barn
can make it easier!

Correct Footing for Horse Disciplines

October 12, 2015

Horse disciplines are all so diverse. There’s reining, barrel racing, jumping, grand prix jumping, dressage, endurance, polo, eventing… should I go on? Each discipline asks the horse to do different things and the horse has been trained long and hard to accomplish ever command the rider asks. With each discipline being so diverse, so should the footing for the disciplines.

When you’re a barrel racer, and trying to cut milliseconds off of your run each time, every little aspect of your ride matters.  If you’re riding on a hard ground, your horse isn’t going to be able to slide around the barrels. He’s going to have to work hard to grip the hard ground and turn faster. Now let’s say that you’re jumping your horse, performing some high grand jumps, around 5-6 feet (this is great pretending we can jump that high). If you’re jumping your horse this high and landing on a hard surface, your horse could get seriously injured from landing on a hard surface. The surfaces that you ride your horse on, makes a huge impact on how your horse feels, continues to train, and performs.

Our TruStride Footing, is designed specifically for the high jumps that we just discussed. The footing is composed of rubber, synthetic fiber, wax, and pure silica sand. The rubber works hard to create that bounce back effect that a horse needs when jumping such heights, while the fiber forms a lattice-like surface and the wax makes the footing dust free. It is also great footing for Thoroughbred Tracks, allowing race horses to spring off of the surface and forward in their race.

Our LiteStride Footing is the perfect footing for various disciplines such as dressage or hunter/jumper. LiteStride consists of synthetic fibers, wax, and pure silica sand. The fibers make the perfect surface to support your horse while training for dressage and going over smaller jumps; allowing the surface to “give” a little while still staying resilient.

The newest product of footing: Equi-Blend is our most economical option. The formula for Equi-Blend was constructed with the average barn owner in mind. We wanted a footing that everyone could afford while still staying dust free. This footing is recommended for a variety of disciplines such as dressage, Western/Pleasure, or small jumping at a low traffic barn. If you Frog Hollow (14)- Editedare doing higher jumps or it is a higher traffic barn, we would encourage you to consider our TruStride footing.

5K Ranch was developed specially for western riders. It is perfect footing for flat work, loping, cutting, and barrel racing. This is a looser footing that is only used with western pleasure. It consists of our pure silica sand and wax. It stays dust free while still allowing for the “slide” in the footing that is needed in a discipline such as reining.

No matter what discipline of horse riding you train long and hard in, we have the perfect footing for you. Send us some information about your arena and we can suggest the right footing for you and send you a sample!

What is your favorite discipline?

 

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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