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Top 10 Blog Posts

May 17, 2017

Top 10 Arena Footing and Stall BeddingWe have had our blog up and running again for a solid year. It has been a year full of a large variety in challenges associated with arena footing, arena installations, and stall bedding along with barn tips, and stories of happy customers. Let’s take a look at the 10 most popular posts to date on our blog, in reverse order.

#10: Are Your Stalls Ready for Winter? A few steps that you can take to ensure your horse remains dry and comfortable all winter long.

#9: East-West Arena Construction. Our largest dealer located in Little Falls, MA is an expert in building arenas and installing our footing.

#8: Footing for an Outdoor Arena. Finding the correct footing for an outdoor arena can be tough, we have a few things to look for when choosing footing for your outdoor arena.

#7: Options for Horse Stall Bedding. The options for stall bedding are endless. Here you can see four of the most popular options.

#6: Picking up Manure in Horse Arenas. There’s a reason we tell our customers to remove manure from your footing!

#5: Biggest Mistakes when Installing an Outdoor Arena. We’ve seen some disasters over the years from installing arenas correctly. Here’s the top problems we see.

#4: Rubber vs. Foam Mattress… Which Mattress Material is Ideal For Your Stalls? See the benefits and drawbacks of solid rubber mats vs. our foam mattresses.

#3: Retaining Boards in Arenas. Take a look at the importance of retaining boards in your outdoor arena.

#2: Barn Hacks for your Barn. Running a barn is hard work, here are a few barn hacks to make your life at the barn easier.

#1: Flaking out on Magnesium Chloride Flakes. Magnesium Chloride flakes are a popular option to fight dust, here are a few downfalls of using them.

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Keeping Horses Cool During Hot Weather

June 16, 2016

The summer hasn’t technically started yet but the heat is climbing steadily here in Upstate NY. Always be sure to do everything you can to keep your horse cool and comfortable this summer. Here are a few tips:

  • Provide shade. If your horse is outside in the paddock for the hotter part of the day, make sure there is provided shade. A run- in shed wouldhorse-1328890_1920 be the best option, but trees can also be a source of shade.
  • Choose Cooler Turnout Times. A lot of barns around here turn their horses out at night. If you don’t have the option to turn the horses out at night, then turn them out early in the morning or later in the day.
  • Create Airflow. If you are able to keep the horses in the barn doing the day, be sure that air is flowing through the barn and the horses are
    getting air in their stalls. Fans are a great source to help with airflow, but be sure that they are in a position where no horses can get ahold of cords and plugs.
  • Adjust your Riding Schedule. Try riding early in the morning or late at night. The temperature will be the lowest during these times of day.

Always check for signs of heat stress such as increased heart rate and respiration rates, profuse sweating, or droopy ears. If there are signs of heat stress, call your vet and hose your horse off with water and immediately remove the water with a sweat scraper while you wait for your vet to arrive. We all look forward to summer riding, just be sure to keep your horse comfortable this summer!

Do you turn your horses out at night or during the day in summer?

Geotextile Fabric

June 16, 2016

I always talk about how important the base of the arena is. If you install the base incorrectly, you could spend large amounts of money trying to fix it later down the road. One layer in the base that is often overlooked is the geotextile fabric. There are two different types of geotextile fabric: woven and non-woven fabric.

Woven geotextile fabric is a bit cheaper of an option that is created by actually weaving individual threads on a loom. Woven geotextile is strong, and pretty stiff. It is primarily used for steepened slopes, retaining walls, wind erosion, or for cushion. The downfalls of woven geotextile fabric are that it can be easily opened by angular aggregate and does not drain well.

Non-woven fabric is created when the material is bonded with chemicals or with heat to create the consistent surface. This fabric is created for ideal filtration and drainage. It is mostly used for erosion control, separating layers, or drainage fabric. Non-woven fabric is a bit more expensive than woven, and is slightly thinner but can be made at different thicknesses or can be reinforced.

Non-woven geotextile fabricWhen explaining the ideal base that you need for your arena, we always recommend 2-3 inches of large aggregate stone, a layer of geotextile fabric to separate the stone layers, 2-3 inches of crushed stone on top of the fabric, and your footing directly on top of your compacted crushed stone. The geotextile fabric that should be used is a non-woven fabric. This allows for all water to be able to move freely through your base, so that you don’t have any type of water buildup in your base, leading to water buildup in your footing. The reason we also recommend non-woven is because it is stronger than the woven fabric in that the large aggregate stones can’t break through. This ensures that you don’t have stones migrating up into your footing.

We love to help people who are planning their arenas. If you have any questions about what we recommend for your base construction, please feel free to give us a call!

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.

East-West Arena Construction

June 16, 2016
East-west arena construction horse arena IGK Equestrian footing installation

A gorgeous arena with footing installed by East-West Arena Construction

IGK Equestrian has dealers all over the country. These dealers have all installed our footings in various settings. Our biggest dealer is

Mike Waidlich from East-West Arena Construction, located in Millers Falls, MA. Over the past few years, Mike has been building and installing many arenas with our dust-free footings. I wanted to catch up with Mike and ask him a few important questions about the excavation and installation process so that others can better understand it:

How do you choose an appropriate arena site, for both an indoor and outdoor arena? What do you look for?

“The best site for both an indoor and outdoor arena is a place on the property that is elevated above the surrounding land with places for water run off. The better the site, the less excavation work is needed to complete the project. This varies from site to site and is one of the most important parts to quoting a project.”

Do you need to excavate a site?

“For new facilities there is always some excavation work that needs to be done. Usually this involves removing the topsoil and grading the natural sub-base layer.”

What type of fill do you use for the sub-base and base?

“At places with good natural material, we can use the existing material as our sub base. At places that are wet or need to be elevated to promote drainage, we use either a screened bank run gravel or in some cases processed gravel to build the site up. This may vary based on pricing and availability.  For the base, we usually use stone dust. The material is usually 1/4″ and smaller in size. It compacts well and seals out any rocks or gravel beneath it from coming up into the footing.”

What is the best drainage design to use for an indoor vs. an outdoor arena?

“Outdoor arenas need to be elevated above the surrounding land and also pitched in order to get the water to run off the arena surface. With wax coated footing like IGK, we usually use a half percent slope or six inches of pitch over a hundred feet. Depending on arena size, we use one plane or a crowned center. Indoor arenas should be elevated and have good drainage around the outside of the building so water is not able to flow inside.”

What is your opinion of the grid system vs. stone dust for an arena base? Is one system better in an outdoor vs. an indoor arena?

“In my opinion stone dust is the better option. The cost is significantly less and I haven’t seen much of a difference in performance or longevity.”

How do you install the footing layer?

“We grade every layer with precision laser guided equipment. I use a Level-Best grading box on a tracked skid steer. We set the desired pitch with a laser and remote receiver and the machine automatically adjusts the cutting edge of the blade to cut the slope. We’re accurate to within a quarter inch. We install the footing with this equipment as well.”

Why do you/ your customers choose IGK Equestrian’s Footing?

“We’ve been very happy with the products from IGK. For our customers, the low maintenance is very desirable. There are no irrigation or watering routines needed. For a lot of facilities who don’t have someone to do that maintenance, IGK dust free footing is the perfect solution. The mixture of sand, fiber and wax is just right. I like that it’s consistently the same product because it comes straight from the source in NY. Good sand is a hard to thing to find in many areas and IGK takes the guess work out.”

What has been the feedback from customers about IGK Equestrian’s Footing?

“We’ve had a great response to the footing. Since we started offering it to our product line it is consistently the most desired product we offer. Our customers who have purchased it from us are thrilled with the results.”

How do you like installing IGK Equestrian’s footing?

“The fact that it comes pre blended and ready to be installed saves us a lot of time. I like having the option to ship in bulk or by the bulk bags because some sites are difficult to access.”

How long have you been doing excavation work?

“I grew up on a farm with extended family (aunts and uncles) in the dairy business. I’ve been running trucks and heavy equipment since I was tall enough to reach the pedals. After college I started in the trucking business. We hauled fertilizer to farms, landscapers and lawn care companies throughout the northeast. I slowly started buying heavy equipment and doing small jobs on the side. In 2011 hurricane Irene came through our area and we had record flooding; which eroded farm land and river banks through our area. I spent the next 8 months working to repair hundreds of acres of land; which propelled me into the excavation market. As far as the arena work goes, my wife Naomi has been a life long equestrian and convinced me to try installing horse arenas as a side market. One thing led to another and now we have a consistent arena building business.”

To contact East-West Arena Construction for a quote or for more information, check out their website: http://www.eastwest-construction.com or take a look at some of their beautiful arenas on their Facebook Page!

Breathing in Dusty Arenas

August 24, 2015

Everyone that rides horses has probably been in a dusty indoor or outdoor arena. Like the ones where just walking into the arena kicks up dust. Whenever I work a horse or ride in an arena like this, I notice that I continue blowing dirt out of my nose for the next four hours. It got me thinking, if I’m inhaling that much dust, how much is the horse I’m working with taking in?

While doing some research I found out some really interesting information. The average adult human consumes roughly 19 liters or 5 gallons during light activity such as lunging and light riding. To put this into perspective, the average gas can (like the ones you fill up lawnmowers with) are 5 gallons. Meanwhile, while a horse is in a walk, they consume 50-70 liters (13-18 Gallons) per minute depending on size. They’re consuming roughly 3 times the amount of air that we are. During a heavy workout such as running a race or playing a sport, a human consumes 80 liters per minute (21 Gallons). This amount could fill a commercial size garbage can. When a horse is at their peak, let’s say a thoroughbred running a race, they consume 1350 liters per minute or 356 Gallons! An average bath tub holds 60 gallons, the amount of oxygen that a horse uses per minute when galloping equals almost 6 bath tubs full of oxygen!

After trying to comprehend these numberHorses Breathing in Dusts, as mind blowing as they are to me, I realize that it is crazy that we allow our horses to breathe in this dust. It makes us uncomfortable, so why do we let them breathe it when they’re taking in much more than we are? Horses have hairs inside their nostrils, just like us, to filter out debris. Further in their repertory system, they have moist mucus membranes that help to capture and filter foreign material. This membrane lines the twists and turns of the airways of the horse. If the dust is captured in this part of the airways, it will be pushed back out through a sneeze or a runny nose. It can get pretty thick inside their nose, which is when you can notice a horse sneezing often when riding or trying to push it out. If some dust gets past this, it will go further into the respiratory system. If it surpasses this defense, it will go into the tracheal and bronchial tubes, where it will either be sneezed out or swallowed; this is why your horses sneezes much more in an indoor arena. It can however end up deep into the lungs, which can cause major issues.

Next time that you’re lunging or riding your horse in an arena and feel your nose fill up with dust, think about how they feel. For your health and your horse’s it’s important to look into a dust free surface. Fighting dust is a big, uphill battle. You can try virtually everything to limit dust, but the best way to limit dust is to purchase a footing that is a dust-free footing. All of the footings at IGK Equestrian are dust-free, you never have to water them or maintain them to keep them dust free. Keep your nose, and more importantly, your horse’s nose free of dust, so that you can focus on training your horse, and not worrying about his/her health.

Combating Flies in Your Horse Barn

August 17, 2015

Summers are the best time for horses. You can train almost every day in the summer and do work around openphotonet_hairy flythe barn without wearing fifteen layers of clothing. Another thing that comes along with warm weather: flies in your barn. These pesky, annoying pests are very common around stables, barns, and outdoor arenas.

You can probably find a few different species of flies in your barn, including the house fly and the stable fly. The main difference between the two is that stable flies are blood suckers, and will often attack the flanks of your horses, which causes them to stomp or kick at themselves. They’re very aggravating to your horses, and can also carry harmful diseases that can be transferred to your horse when they bite.

Horse barns are the perfect habitat for these insects. They provide food, moisture, and the perfect breeding grounds for flies, so you could end up with a lot of them. You will probably be constantly scratching your head on how to get rid of them or at least decrease the population. I’ve made a small list of a few tips on how to help reduce the population.

  • Reduce their breeding grounds, get the manure out of their stall as soon as possible and store your manure pile as far away from your barn as you can.
  • Store your feed in tightly sealed containers so that flies cannot get into your feed.
  • Use fans to blow down and out of your barn, this can prevent flies from entering the barn in the first place.
  • Looking into purchasing Fly Predators, these are relatively inexpensive and can get shipped right to your door. An example of a fly predator is a small non-stinging wasp. You would dump the container that they come in on your manure pile around dusk, both the wasps and wasp larva feed on the flies and fly larva.
  • A more expensive approach is to install a horse fly spraying system in your barn. These can be custom configured to your barn and sprays a light insecticide mist in your barn 24/7 and are relatively maintenance free.
  • Install fly traps or sticky glue around your barn, (Where horses can’t reach them) to collect some flies. The numbers of flies on these traps can also help to determine if you need to boost up your pest management or if you are doing well in maintaining low fly numbers.

IGK Equestrian’s SuperStall is very helpful with aiding the fight to decline the flies in your barn. Deep warm bedding in stalls along with manure in stalls are a fly’s favorite spot to lay eggs. When SuperStall is installed in stalls, you’re only using enough bedding on the surface to soak up urine and manure, therefore stopping the possibility of breeding in deep bedding.  By eliminating the deep warm bedding for the flies to breed, you tremendously decrease the fly population in your barn.

How do you combat fly problems?

Come See Us at the Empire Farm Days!

August 12, 2015

IMG_0276This week, from the 11th to the 13th, we will be at the Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls, NY! The Empire Farm Days is the largest outdoor agricultural trade show in the Northeastern United States. It showcases all of the latest farm equipment, dairy industry innovations, live animal seminars and more than 600 exhibits! We will be there showing off our dust-free arena footings and SuperStalls along with our father company: North Brook Farms. North Brook Farms sells SuperStalls for Dairy Farms with the option of a few different topcovers to choose from. So come and find us on Make-A-Buck Lane, booth 317 and stop by and say hi! We’d love to meet you!

SuperStall Saves on Time and Money!

August 12, 2015

Who loves spending hours and hours taking care of a horse stall? Not me that is for sure. I think the biggest issue that takes up the most time with mucking a stall is the horses that love to spread their manure around the entire stall. These are the types of stalls where you have to go through every inch of the stall with a pitch fork to make sure to separate the manure from the 3 inches of bedding. A few different barns that I have been in have either rubber mats as the flooring, or just a dirt floor. These types of floors normally have a few inches of bedding on top of the floor or mats; which can lead to hours of your time trying to differentiate the manure from the bedding.

I think my favorite part about SuperStalls is the fact that you save so much time! You only put in enough bedding to soak up the urine. You don’t have three inches of bedding to sort through to muck out the stall. You literally go right into the stall, pick up the wet bedding and manure and you’re done! SuperStalls need at the most, an inch of bedding. The topcover of our stalls are soft on the hocks so that there doesn’t need to be deep bedding for your horse to lie down in this stall. By having less than once inch of bedding, you will notice a huge difference in how much bedding you use and the tHunter Harrison 037ime spent going through and mucking the stall. You’ll be saving tremendously on time and labor!

I recently caught up with a customer that installed our SuperStalls in the fall of 2014. She was telling me that her gelding loves to lie down in his stall. After she installed our SuperStall, she noticed he no longer had lesions or sores on his hocks and ankles. She said how much her horses love the SuperStalls and spend more time lying down in their stalls than ever before. It truly was great feedback to hear.

We love to hear from our customers on how much they, and their horses, love our SuperStall! What is your favorite part about your SuperStall system?

We’re Headed to Switzerland!

August 12, 2015

Flying over the Swiss Alps!

We are happy to announce that IGK Equestrian is going to Switzerland, well two of us are! Grant Kyle, Senior Vice President, and Ian Kyle, VP of Research and Development were both invited to represent IGK Equestrian at the Fédération Equestre Internationale Headquarters, located in Lausanne, Switzerland. FEI establishes the rules and regulations for all events in Dressage, Jumping, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining all across the world.

A meeting of footing manufacturers, footing experts and scientists all around the globe were invited to Switzerland to discuss the introduction of an FEI seal of approval for arena surfaces for Jumping. Being invited to such a prestigious meeting of the minds along with 40 other experts in the field was truly an honor. It will be great hearing about what was discussed and accomplished at this meeting. We can’t wait to hear all about it when Ian and Grant return and of course to see pictures of the beautiful country of Switzerland!


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