Archive for the ‘Sand arena’ Category

The Top 5 Complaints About Arena Footing

March 15, 2012

Bad arena footingOver the years, Peter and I have heard dozens of reasons why people want to upgrade their arena footing. Here are the top five, each one guaranteed to make your horse look for the fastest way out of the ring.

  • Complaint #5: Too hard. Nothing makes a horse ring-sour faster than training on a highly compacted, unyielding surface that fails to absorb the shock of concussive hoof force. Except, perhaps, a riding surface that’s…
  • Complaint #4: Too deep. How deep is too deep? Generally, anything deeper than three inches has the potential to strain tendons and ligaments or pull a shoe. Exceptions can be made for reining or cutting, where a deeper layer of footing material is desirable.
  • Complaint #3: Too cuppy. A dry, loose surface that breaks away under your horse’s hooves can make him bow a tendon, strain a suspensory or slip a stifle. At the very least, it will make him resent his job. And maybe you.
  • Complaint #2: Too much maintenance. The last thing you want is an arena that requires an hour of maintenance for every hour of riding. We hear this complaint most often with loose materials like sand and stonedust that require frequent dragging and daily watering to keep dust under control. Which naturally leads us to the #1 complaint about arena footing…
  • Comp1aint #1: Too dusty.  Airborne dust can cause eye, nose and respiratory problems (including asthma attacks) in both riders and horses, reduce the amount of available oxygen at the time the horse needs it most, impact visibility, alarm your neighbors and require up to thousands of gallons of water a day just to keep it under control. Dust is far and away the biggest headache for owners of sand and stonedust arenas.

Fortunately, a dust-free footing like TruStride®, composed of recycled rubber, fiber, sand and wax, provides a riding surface that’s 1) properly cushioned, 2) stable yet resilient, 3) supportive,  4) rarely needs raking and never needs watering because it’s 5) truly dust-free.

Peter and I have installed TruStride® (and its economical cousin, LiteStride®) in more than 250 indoor and outdoor arenas throughout North America. Now folks in these facilities are spending more time training – and less time complaining.

What’s your biggest beef with arena footing?

“Help! My arena footing froze!”

February 8, 2012

Frozen arena footingWe occasionally hear from riders and trainers about mishaps on arena floors when the temperature drops below freezing. The risk of freezing is highest with materials with too many fine particles that tend to compact, like topsoil. The risk is somewhat lower with sand, wood chips/sawdust and stall waste. Rubber and stone dust-based footings rarely freeze, although waxed footings can stiffen up a bit.

Then there’s the whole issue of watering in sand arenas: water too often and you end up with an ice rink; water too little and your riders choke on dust.

The best footing material for cold climates has a) a low freezing point, b) drains well, c) resists compacting and d) needs little or no watering. Owners of arenas in these areas may want to consider a fiber/rubber amendment like SoftShoe® byIGK Equestrian. By incorporating fiber/rubber into your new or existing riding surface, you’ll not only lower its freezing point, but also help reduce compaction for greater stability in all types of weather. And, of course, the less sand in your footing, the less often you need to water.

Share your frozen footing stories – and solutions – here!


My name’s Carolyn. I’m an arena footing freak.

January 18, 2012

Carolyn KyleA few years ago, my husband Peter and I were at the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament watching Margie Engle navigate the World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix. While everyone was watching Margie, we were watching the footing. You see, we made it and installed it. So while Margie delivered yet another breathless performance, Peter and I scanned the arena floor, silently assessing its traction, stability and response.

That’s what we do, Peter and I. We travel to shows and stare at floors. I guess you could say we’re arena footing freaks. We have to be. As owners of IGK Equestrian, we manufacture and install arena surfaces in coliseums, equine hospitals and lesson barns (we’ve even helped make footing for Thoroughbred tracks in Dubai and Hong Kong). We also make equine comfort systems – mattresses made of foam or rubber — designed specifically for performance horses. So you could say we know quite a lot about the equine footing and bedding business.

Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of the same comments about footing and bedding. Too dusty. Too slippery. Freezes too quickly. Too abrasive. We’ve heard about footing that shifts suddenly under the horse, leading to a loss of confidence at best and an injury at worst. We’ve heard from owners of sand arenas who are using up to 3,500 gallons of water per day just to keep dust under control. We’ve heard from trainers who hate to rake and horse owners who hate to muck (sound familiar?). We can’t completely eliminate raking in the ring or mucking in the stable, of course, but there are ways to make these things less of a pain — for you, your crew, your riders and boarders.

I started this blog to address some of the main challenges associated with footing and bedding, share success stories and provide a discussion forum for trainers, arena owners, veterinarians, stable managers, and riders of all disciplines. Please feel free to chime in. Because when you get right down to it, it’s all about supporting your horse.


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