Archive for the ‘Dust’ Category

Expensive Now, Worth It Over Time

May 17, 2017

I talk to horse people all day, whether through email, phone calls or in person. But often times, these conversations are cut short as soon as the individual hears the price of our footing. After hearing the price, the conversation ends very quickly. I don’t even get a chance to explain to the customer that yes, our footing is expensive, but it will save them money in the long run.

Longevity: Our oldest arena is 13 years old and going strong! That is not seen with regular sand arenas. Traditional sand will need to be replenished often, while our footing has a long life ahead of it.


Maintenance:
Time spent maintaining the arena is significantly reduced. TruStride and LiteStride both have fiber in the footings, making them much more stable than traditional sand. The stability in the footing leads to less tracks when riding and much less time spent on grooming your arena. In addition to the footing being more stable, it also is dust-free. Say goodbye to your long days watering your arena to fight dust; and say hello to more time spent riding in your arena!

Supplements: By providing a cushioning surface to work your horse on, hoof and joint pain will be greatly reduced as well as give some relief to your horses’ bones, tendons and ligaments. Joint supplements will no longer be needed when riding on this cushioning surface!

Farrier Costs: Farrier costs will also lower by having an arena with a consistent surface. By not working you horse on abrasive material or an unstable ground, hoof injuries will be greatly reduced.

Although the price of the footing is higher priced than sand, the longevity and many benefits of having our dust-free footing make up for higher costs over time. If you’re interested in visiting a barn with our footing installed, just let us know! With over 350 installations across the US and Canada, there are many to choose from!

Advertisements

Ultimate Arena Guide

May 17, 2017

Over the years we have answered numerous questions about how to build an arena from start to finish. You can imagine how lengthy that conversation or phone call can be. For this reason, we decided to build The Ultimate Arena Guide that has everything you need to know about building an arena! There are seven categories on our Arena Guide website. I can break them down to show you what topics are in each section.

Base Information: This section talks about, well the base. It takes a look at stone sizes, characteristics you need for your geotextile layer, what equipment is needed for installing the base, how drainage should be added, and the difference between an indoor base and an outdoor base.

Installation: The Installation category focuses on how to remove old footing and how to dispose of it, how your footing should be installed, andUltimate Arena Guide delivery costs and options.

Footing: Sand is the main components of 95% of the arenas in the world. The footing category explains every aspect of sand from the sieve analysis to shape of the sand. It also explains additives, different coatings, longevity, replenishment, and what footing is best for certain riding disciplines.

Maintenance: Maintaining an arena is just as important as building the arena. This section explains the different types of groomers and relative prices for each.

Arena Dust: Dust can be dangerous for both the horse and rider to inhale. Coatings that help or stop dust are specifically explained in this category.

Water: If you decide to fight dust with water instead of coatings, the Water category explains sprinkler systems, evaporation, and the correct moisture level to achieve maximum performance.

Additional Things to Consider: There are a few odds and ends that go into this section such as insurance for your contractors, what to ask about MSDS Sheets, and consulting for your facility.

We’d love for you to check out our Ultimate Arena Guide, and feel free to leave a comment!

Cost of Maintaining a Sand Arena

June 16, 2016

Maintaining an arena is not always easy. Depending on how much traffic you get a day on your riding ring, you could potentially be grooming it every few days. I want to take a look at the cost of maintaining a sand arena.

For this price breakdown, we are going to assume the following scenario: you have an average 66 x 130 indoor arena with 5 horses a day on the footing. With 5 horses a day, you will have to drag every other day from the ruts and holes that appear. You own a newer compact diesel tractor that has 40hp and a 5ft arena groomer. It takes you 45 minutes to groom your arena from start to finish. You ride year round in your indoor arena.

If you groom your arena for 45 minutes every other day, it equals out to spending 8,213 minutes or 137 hours a year grooming your arena. If you are paying a farm hand to do the work, say minimum wage, (here in New York, minimum wage is $9) you would spend $1,232 paying your farm hand to groom the arena. On top of the time and wages to groom the arena, you also have to pay for gas for the tractor to groom the arena. For your newer (5 year old) compact diesel tractor to work this arena all year with diesel fuel at $2.40/gallon; you would spend $493 per year. Total grooming maintenance per year for your sand arena: $1,725.

IMG_2358Now that number is just looking at grooming the footing. The other issue you deal with in any sand arena is dust. We can take a look at both watering your arena and using Magnesium Chloride Flakes, which seem to be the other popular options. You could get a sprinkler system installed, which is thousands of dollars up front, but then you are still using hundreds of gallons every time you water your footing. Another option is to hand water your arena with just a long hose. Again you are using hundreds of gallons of water to accomplish this, but then you are spending roughly an hour watering the arena. You would have to hand water it every four days, and if you pay a farm hand to do that it would be $821 in wages a year. If you have a well you have to be conscious about how much water you use so that your well doesn’t go dry, and if you have city water, you have to pay per 1000 gallons you use; which can add up pretty fast if you’re constantly watering an arena. Many people use Magnesium chloride flakes to fight dust in their arenas.  Magnesium chloride flakes are roughly $20/bag. For your 66×130 arena, you would need two pallets, or 96 bags; totaling in $1,920 for your arena. These would have to spread and then mixed into your footing. Magnesium Chloride has to be continually added to your arena, therefore forcing you to spend more money all the time to fight the dust.

Instead of worrying about the cost of maintaining a sand arena, switch to an arena footing that will never have to be watered and will remain dust-free! You not only save lots of time and money not worrying about your footing being watered, but you also save on maintenance. We have many customers say that they only have to drag once a month! The sand, fibers and wax create a stable surface that supports your horse in every stride it takes, while not moving too much to the point where holes and ruts are created. Although synthetic footings are pricier up front, but you will save both time and money over time as our footing continues to out perform traditional sand footing.

Spring Cleaning Around the Barn

March 24, 2016

Spring is officially here! And you know what that means? Spring cleaning around the barn! I always try and do cleaning around the barn when I’m there, but it really is great when you take a day (or week!) to thoroughly clean the barn. Grab everyone that boards their horses there or grab some friends and make it a party with lunch involved! Let’s take a look at some good tips on cleaning your barn!

Start with de-cobwebbing your entire barn. After a long winter cobwebs can pile up, creating a fire hazard for your barn. Use a broom or a duster on a long pole so that you can reach higher places in your barn. You can grab one at Walmart for about $17! They are really handy! Once you got all of your cobwebs down, sweep every nook and cranny of your barn. Get every corner, behind tack boxes, under doors, everywhere! You’ll notice a huge difference in your barn immediately after completing both of these cleaning tasks!Renovating a barn, spring cleaning around the barn

Since freezing temperatures are in the past, you can take down all of your heated buckets. Be sure to clean them thoroughly with a sanitizing solution and store them upside down. You may have a few extension cords that you used with the heated buckets. Wrap the extensions cords up nicely and find a good place to store them. You can easily run to your local hardware and grab some extra hooks and hang them in your tack or storage room. That way when you need them next fall you won’t have to dig through any bins looking for them!

Finish tidying up the barn by cleaning out each stall completely. Conventional mats, you would have to pull the mats up, muck out whatever bedding or manure got under the stall mats, and then sanitize the ground under the mats. With our SuperStall Mattress System, which is a wall-to-wall system, you can use a power washer to clean your stall. The mattress connects directly to the stall wall, sealing the foam under the waterproof topcover. A quick sweep of a power wash with an attached detergent (of course make sure it is safe for your horses) can easily kill bacteria and make your stall sparkling again! Spend less time on maintenance and mucking out your stalls by adding our SuperStall system to your barn this Spring during Spring cleaning time at the barn!

How do you spring clean at your barn?

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?

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?

Horse Barn Pet Peeves

January 4, 2016

We all have big pet peeves. And when it comes to horses, we are no different. I’m sure everyone has at least one thing at your horse barn that either a horse, or another person does that can just drive you insane. We all have at least one horse barn pet peeve!

I always follow a few different blogs about horses on the internet, and I recently saw one with a lot of comments from many horse people, voicing their opinions on what their biggest pet peeves at the barn are. Some things that other people do that can get on our nerves are:

  • Other boarders “borrowing” supplies from people, and then those supplies not getting put back where they were to begin with.
  • Halters getting left on one crosstie, and then dropped to the floor.
  • Leaving manure in wash stalls.horse-937683_960_720
  • A boarder feeding treats to other boarder’s horses without permission.

A few things that our horses do that drive us nuts are:

  • Pooping as soon as you finish mucking and bedding the stall. The worst!
  • Pawing when they want to be fed or for attention.
  • Rubbing their teeth together for attention, or towards another horse.
  • Urinating when on cross ties.
  • Pooping in their water bucket.

Some of these things can make me grit my teeth and get my blood boiling. I think my biggest pet peeve of all time is when a horse poops while someone is riding in the indoor, and instead of picking up the manure after they are done riding, they leave it there. When you leave manure in your arena, you’re adding organic compounds to your footing. Dust is created from your sand particles breaking down, and the different organic matter in your footing also breaking down. Leaving manure, or hay, or bedding in your arena will make your battle with dust, that much harder. No matter what footing you have in your arena, you should always pick up your manure!

Do you have any horse barn pet peeves?

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!

Options for Horse Stall Bedding

October 19, 2015

Let’s talk about options for horse stall bedding. The options for bedding in your horse stall are pretty endless. In the end you have to choose something that your horse loves and it works great with you too. Bedding should have a few characteristics in order to dub it the best bedding for both you and your horse. The number one thing is that it should be safe for your horse. Don’t try and experiment with random substances in your stall. Ensure that whatever you have in your stall is going to not harm your horse externally or internally in any way, and should also not be dusty. Whatever material you choose should be absorbent (which is kind of the whole point of stall bedding), and easily composted. Your material also needs to be readily available. If whatever material you choose can be compacted, that can immensely help when looking where to store it in the barn. Most importantly, it should be cost-effective and easy to pick manure from so that you don’t spend hours a day mucking your stalls.IMG_2206

Now that we’ve discussed the criteria for horse bedding, let’s take a look at some options.

Option #1 and most popular: Shavings.

This option can be the most economical based on where you live. For example, where we are located in Upstate NY it is very easy to get ahold of wood shavings for stalls. It is cheap and you can often buy in bulk. It is easy to store and is very absorbent. The only downfall of this option is that it can be very dusty, and can even make your entire barn dusty. You should have good ventilation in a barn where loose shavings are present to give your horses fresh air. Some barns that I have gone to keep their shavings stored in a lean-to on the outside of the barn.

Option #2: Wood Pellets

I really think that this option is becoming much more popular in recent years.  Wood pellets are made of kiln dried wood and sawdust. The kiln dried wood and sawdust is compressed into a small pellet. When this pellet is in the stall and moisture hits it, it will expand to be normal sawdust again and is as absorbent as regular sawdust. This option is low in dust from the compression process and is packaged in bags, so it is easy to store; and is relatively inexpensive. The only issue with this type of bedding is that you will need to spend a little extra time to make sure that you don’t take out any pellets when you muck the stall.

Option #3: Peat Moss

Peat moss is an option that is easily available and horses seem to like it a lot because it gives them that soft bedding to lie down on. You can find this at your local hardware or garden store and a little bit goes a long way so you only need to buy a few bags. It is absorbent in the stall and virtually dust free! The only downside is that if you have a barn with many stalls, this is not your best economical option. It can get expensive for many stalls.

Option #4: Straw

Straw has been used in stalls since the beginning of time. It is often inexpensive and can be easily obtained. If it is mucked properly it stays pretty clean and composts very well. But there are many cons to straw. It is not very absorbent, (which kind of defeats the purpose of stall bedding) it requires a lot of room to store the bales, and can be very dusty. Another note to keep in mind is that some horses do try and eat this. You will need to keep an eye on what horses eat this bedding and possibly change their diet based on that.

No matter what type of bedding you use, if you have SuperStall Horse Mattresses in your stalls you will save tremendously on bedding. Our SuperStall System needs less than an inch of bedding, which will then make mucking your stalls out much easier! If you want to save on bedding, call us today for a sample of our stall mattress!


%d bloggers like this: