Archive for the ‘Dust Free Footing’ Category

Standard Pattern to Groom a Riding Ring

May 3, 2016

Riding on a freshly groomed arena is my favorite thing. You put fresh hoof prints into the perfectly fluffed footing. But riding on a badly groomed arena? Not the best experience. I never realized that there is a specific way to groom an arena until I looked into it. Let’s take a look at the standard pattern to groom a riding ring.

I’m a very visual person, so I pulled together some quick visuals so that you can see what I’m explaining. Start by dragging the ring down the centerline. Once you get to the end of the arena, turn left or right and go towards the outside of the arena. Follow the rail until you get back to the beginning end of the arena, turning towards where you originally entered the ring. Follow the outside of the original drag on the centerline. When you get to the end of the ring again, follow the inside of the drag along the rail. Follow this same pattern, at a consistent speed and you will eventually end up with the outer-perimeter of the ring left un-dragged. Finish dragging the outer perimeter, and exit down the centerline. Throughout the standard pattern, be sure to keep the corners smooth and the speed of the drag consistent. The next time that you drag the arena, be sure to go in the alternate
direction. This will help to keep the footing evenly distributed throughout your ring.

.                                                       Pic1    pic2    pic3    Pic4

There are a few more ways to drag an arena, including some ways to help pull footing from the outside rails or corners, towards the center of your arena. If you have an established crown, take caution on what grooming pattern it used; grooming it the incorrect way could damage the specific crown put into place.

IGK Equestrian is a certified dealer for Parma Groomers. The Mini Groomer with a Coil Tine Conversion is the perfect groomer for synthetic footing. The coil tines don’t dig too deep into the footing, so as not to disturb the fibers and the groomer is a very lightweight groomer, weighig in at right around 400 pounds! Grooming the standard groom pattern in your IGK Equestrian Dust-Free footing is the best way to groom your horse arena!

What is your favorite pattern to groom your arena?

Advertisements

Kick Walls in Indoor Arenas

April 5, 2016

Gorgeous Indoor Arena kick wallsI’ve mentioned before, that my favorite part about selling footing is being able to go to lots of different barns and look at how each barn is designed differently. A trend that I have noticed a lot recently is more and more barns are installing kick walls in their indoor arenas. Let’s take a look at the importance of kick walls!

Kick walls are both aesthetically pleasing and serve a purpose. A kick wall is a wooden boarder around the base of the indoor arena walls. Normally a kick wall has a bit of a slant to it, around 15°, with the bottom being the most wide. You can build kick walls, or some companies such as Equitrend, has kick walls can be easily mounted.

Although kick walls make an arena have a nice, clean finish, they do have a purpose to them too! One main reason for having a kick wall is that it forces the horse away from the wall. Since the bottom of the kick walls are further away from the walls, the horse doesn’t ride right on the wall, which can save your legs if you have a naughty horse! Another major advantage of the kick wall is to keep footing from building up against the walls of the arena. Your groomer can get closer to the kick wall than the indoor arena wall because it won’t get snagged against a pole or beam. You don’t have to worry about the footing getting between the different poles in the barn and not being able to get it out from those areas.

Almost all indoor arenas that install our footing choose to install kickboards. For the fact that it is so popular, we designed a side-view of how the base of your arena in an indoor arena should look when kick boards are installed. Just like outdoor arenas, you have your base installed. The base consists of 2-3 inches of large aggregate stone, a layer of geo-textile fabric, and 2-3 inches of compacted stone dust. If you are going with the traditional wood kick wall, you would build them directly on top of the stone dust. Other types of kick walls may be mounted to the arena wall after footing installation is done. After the kick walls are installed the correct depth of footing is installed depending on what type of discipline is performed in the arena. Choosing one of our dust-free footings is the perfect addition to your new arena installation. If you have any questions on base installation, or footing installation don’t hesitate to call us! You can see the side-view of an indoor arena installation below!

indoor arena footing sideview kick walls base installation

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?

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.

IMG_2185
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!

Don’t Get Bored In Your Indoor Arena!

January 4, 2016

winter-1090649_960_720Winter is not my favorite season when it comes to riding my horse. If you’re like me, you get easily bored in your indoor arena. When asking an equestrian what their favorite season is, you’ll most likely hear Summer, or Spring, or Fall. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an equestrian say “I just love riding in the winter!” Shows and races start back up in the spring and continue into summer and fall. Sure the winter is beautiful to trail ride through woods that have a light snowfall, but once the snow hits a certain depth, we all are pushed into indoor arenas to ride. Indoor arenas can make both you and your horse feel confined. Riding a few times clockwise around the arena at a walk, trot, canter; then a few laps counterclockwise with the same routine. Not only are you bored at this point, but so is your horse. I pulled together a few different options for keeping both you and your horse from becoming bored in your indoor arena.

Start off by changing up how you ride around in the arena. Instead of doing the usual, riding on the rail around in a circle, try some different patterns. Work on riding in a big figure 8 in your arena. Place a cone directly in the center so that you have a visual of where your 8 should cross over. Be sure to pay attention to how you are bending him around the circle, and try to keep the circles as equal as you can. Another idea is to ride in a diamond shape. At each corner, create a swift turn to travel up the other side of the diamond. Be careful not to rush your horse. Start with a walk first, and then trot the diamond. One more variance to try is to be about ten
feet off of the rail towards the center of your indoor and ride in the same motion as you would if you were on the rail, a rounded rectangle. At the long sides, allow your horse to extend, but then collect him as you come into the corners and keep him collected or slower on the shorter ends of the rectangle. This will help you increase and decrease speed smoothly.

If you feel very motivated you can use various obstacles in your arena. Some obvious examples are setting up smaller jumps, or poles on the ground for you to work your horse over. But if you have long winters like we do in upstate NY, you have time to get creative. One example I read about is to set up various barrels around your arena and place a cone on a few of them. Work on walking to the barrel, stopping, picking up the cone and then walk to a second barrel and place the cone down. As you progress in this challenge, don’t stop at the barrel to grab the cone, make your horse move right past it while you grab the cone. A few other options are placing tarps on the ground and working with your horse to calmly walk over the tarp, even though it may make scary crinkling noises. I have also seen others use hanging noodles that you walk your horse through through. Walking through these various obstacles will build your horse’s confidence and trust in their riders. It is hoped that the horse will react calmly if they were to encounter something like these obstacles in real life situations.

Riding in an indoor arena can also be a hassle because of trying to deal with dust. Focus more on training your horse through various obstacles or different patterns than worrying about dust by switching to one of our dust-free footings. You will never have to water your arena again!

How do you stop from getting bored in the winter?

Our Footing Can Help You Go Green!

October 26, 2015

Farms all around the country have been working harder and harder to “Go Green”.  Both horse farms and dairy farms are focusing on how to minimize their impact on the world around us. Dairy farms for examples often times use digesters that recycles their cow manure into electricity that runs their entire farm. Horse farms can do their part in trying to “go green” too!

A few tips that can help your farm become more environmentally conscious:

  • Make sure your hoses or faucets around the farm don’t leak.
  • Compost your manure
  • Harrow your pastures to break down manure and spread it out for the grass to utilize the organic material
  • Plant a water garden here the rain runoff from your barn runs to, these are plants that help soak up water

Our dust free footings for horse arenas are a great start to helping your farm go green. I recently wrote a blog about what our footing is composed of. Here’s a recap. The rubber in our footing is 100% post-industrial waste that we recycle. It comes from a factory that makes shoe soles, and we take the scraps or what is left over from the molds of the shoe soles. Our fiber blend in our footing is also 100% post-industrial waste, these also come from a factory that would have otherwise thrown them away. Both the fiber and rubber would have sat in landfills, taking hundreds of years to break down. The components that we choose to create our footing with, we choose with the environment in mind.hand-157251_1280

Additionally, our footing is dust free. You will not need to water your arena, ever! An average sized arena could use up to 3,500 gallons of water per day to adequately keep moisture level in the 20% range. Think of how much water you can save by switching to our footing, not to mention time spent watering! Stay tuned for next week’s blog on how your horse stalls can become environmentally too!

Breaking Down the Recipe of our Footing

October 5, 2015

We get many questions about what our footing is made up of so I thought I would take a few minutes and explain the components of our footing and why we use such components. Each of our footings has their own special formula. (I’m not going to give you the secret recipe though, sorry!) Let’s take a look at what’s inside.

Our TruStride footing is composed of rubber granules, synthetic fiber blend, wax and pure silica sand. LiteStride is made up of a synthetic fiber blend, wax and pure silica sand. The new Equi-Blend footing has the same components as LiteStride, but less fibers and less wax, which minimizes the cost. And our 5K Ranch footing is composed of pure silica sand and wax.

Let’s start with explaining our rubber granules. The rubber comes that we get comes from a factory that manufactures shoes. When shoes soles are created, there is a mold that they are in, once the shoes soles are cut out, there is excess material that is considered a waste to this factory. This waste is ground up and delivered to us as small rubber granules, making this 100% recycled post-industrial material. We chose to add rubber granules to our TruStride footing to give it the extra cushion needed for high jumping disciplines, busy barns, or thoroughbred tracks.

Our synthetic fiber blend that we use is made up of premium recycled fibers also making this ingredient a 100% recycled post-industrial material. We chose to use synthetic fibers because they do not break down over time. The fibers in our footing create a lattice like effect, holding the footing together and allowing it to “give” a little while still creating a stable surface.

The most important components of our footings, and what keeps it dust free is our wax that we use. There are plenty of otherIMG_0897 options that are used in footings to coat the material and keep it dust free, both natural and synthetic.  The logic behind this choice was the longevity of wax. Our oldest footing is 14 years old and is still going strong. Wax does not break down and decompose like other binders.  It is a top of the line wax that we have never had a problem with and love working with!

The pure silica sand is the last but not the least. We have spent a lot of time finding the perfect sand for our blend. The sand that we chose is subangular sand. Normal sand has lots of different shapes and angles. When this type of sand is put into an arena, the sand angles on the sand particles will eventually be worn down, creating dust in your arena, and also causing your surface to not be as stable as it once was. Subangular sand has been partially worn down so that there are some small angles but most of it is rounder. By using sand like this, the smaller angles allow the sand to get nice and tight together while still allowing room to move. It creates the perfect stability that we wanted for our footing.

We’ve spent many years in research and development before we came to have the perfect recipe for our footing. That’s why our footing is the best dust free footing on the market! Feel free to contact us and ask for a sample so you can visualize the different components that are used.


%d bloggers like this: