Visit Us at Equine Affaire!

May 17, 2017

Once again we will be at Equine Affaire in Springfield, ea-logo-color-760x550MA from November 10th-13th. Our booth is located in the Better Living Center, booth #1006.

Every year we have a blast going to Equine Affaire. Past customers always stop by and catch us up on how their dust-free footing and barns are doing along with potential projects for the future. Meeting horse lovers from all over the country and learning details about how their barn is set up, what disciplines they train in, and what the arenas where they’re located are like is always fun too. And of course doing some shopping while we’re there, because you can never have enough horse stuff! We love hearing feedback from our customers and meeting potential customers too. This year we created a whole new booth for our company. Make sure you stop by and visit us this year!

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How Does Your Arena Handle A Rain Storm?

May 17, 2017

Don’t you hate when the weather ruins your riding schedule? The other day I was all excited to work my horse really good when Saturday came. Well Saturday came, along with a huge rainstorm; which then put the outdoor arena out of commission Sunday also. How does your arena hold up after a rainstorm?

There are a few steps you can take to make sure that you don’t end up in a muddy or washed out situation. Location is a huge play in how your arena will react to rain. If you have the luxury of designing your own outdoor arena, be sure to choose a spot that is on higher ground, and away from where your barn rain will drain. Adequate base and drainage play a crucial part in draining the arena too. When building the arena, install 3-4 inches of larger aggregate stone on the very bottom, then 3-4 inches of compacted stone dust with a 2% crown, and finish with 3-4 inches of footing with a 2% crown. The crown will allow for the water to drain off of the surface much better. Pressure treated retaining boards rests on top of the large aggregate stone and outside the fence posts. Retaining boards will help your footing from migrating off of the arena when the water also drains off. Perimeter or curtain drains should run around all sides of the arena around 4-6 buried; the large aggregate stone should also surround the perimeter drains. Below you can see a side view of the base in an outdoor arena.

Footing Side View

Having regular sand in your arena makes it even harder to ride after rain. The sand is easily washed out, and can easily migrate out of your arena. Our dust-free footings are great for both indoor and outdoor arenas. When confronted with water, the wax in the footing blend actually wicks the water off of the surface. Around 80% of the rain is wicked off the surface and the footing only absorbs about 20% of the rainfall. Our customers have given us feedback that they can ride as soon as the rain stops. They don’t have to give their arena time to finish draining the rest of the water. Don’t postpone your scheduled workout again! Choose a footing that can handle heavy rains.

Horse Owners Preparing for Hurricane Matthew

May 17, 2017
Graphic Via weather.com

Graphic Via weather.com

Hurricane Matthew is bringing huge amounts of rain and high winds to the South Eastern part of the United States. Millions of Americans have to evacuate their homes in advance of the storm hitting their area. While people are busy preparing for Hurricane Matthew, so are horse owners.

Horse owners around the country are offering their help to horses located in the affected zone. Transportation services are offering free rides to haul some horses further inland, while barns further from the coast are offering up their extra stalls to keep horses in. There are even established evacuation centers and databases to keep your horses in during the storm.

It’s easy to pack up your dog and cat and throw them in the car to evacuate, but a horse is a different story. It’s dangerous to keep a horse in the path of a major storm. Structures could crumble and fences could blow down. It is highly recommended that you move your horse and not leave them in the path of the storm.

Some tips are recommended for horses that could potentially become loose:

  • Braid a luggage tag or dog tag with the horse’s information as well as the owners contact number.
  • Write the owners name and phone number directly on the horse’s hooves with a permanent marker and then go over it with a clear nail polish. This will make the marker last long.
  • Write directly on the horse’s body with a permanent marker. Again, write the owners name and contact number. This will not hurt your horse in any way.

If you would like more information on disaster plans for your horses. This is a great resource!

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Hurricane Matthew!

Introducing Non-Horse Friends to Your Horse

May 17, 2017

When you’re a “horse girl” most of your friends are also “horse girls”. But maybe you find a friend who has never been around horses; what do you do to introduce this non-horsey friend to your horse? I recently just introduced a close friend to the beauty of horses; here is my experience with it!

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My horse, Red!

My friend had never before been around a horse. The first thing she said was “I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to a horse.” The first thing I did was introduce her to the four horses in the barn and explain their personalities a bit and had her say hello to each of them. When it was time to pull my horse out of the stall to groom him, I went over a few safety precautions about being around horses. To horse-people, they come as second nature, but to someone who has never been around horses, you should teach them how to be safe around horses. Before we even went to the barn I told her she needed to have jeans and boots on. My horse is very gentle, but he’s also clumsy and can easily misplace a foot. I then taught her that horses have many blind spots. I showed her to talk to him as you’re moving around him, and keep a hand on his body so he always knows where you are.

Grooming is always my favorite horse activity, and teaching a friend how to properly groom was fun too! I explained to her that although my horse is very laid back, there are other horses in the barn that when you groom them you need to move slowly and not be loud around them or they’ll spook. As I was saddling my horse up, I was explaining what each piece of equipment is and what the purpose of it was.

Once in the arena, I hopped on and rode around the arena a few times to show her the different gaits and how to move him off of your leg, etc. Then it was time for her to try. She was a little nervous before she got on but I explained that he was a very gentle horse and nothing would happen. I lead her around the arena a few times just walking until she got used to what it feels like to be on the horse. After about 20 minutes I asked if she wanted to walk around the arena by herself and she did!

I really had a blast showing a friend of mine a bit of what owning a horse is like. If you have a friend that you can introduce your horse to, I encourage you to do it! Loving horses is easy, sharing that love with other non-horse people is easy too!

Daily Hoof Care

May 17, 2017

“No hoof, no horse!”

We seem to hear that phrase a lot in the horse world. Taking care of your horse’s hooves are essential for your horse’s livelihood. Daily hoof care benefits more than your horse’s hooves; it can give you early clues to potential problems and so that you can address the issues.

  1. Daily clean out: Cleaning out your horse’s hooves daily not only keeps them as clean as possible, but can set a precedent for what is “normal” in your horse’s hooves. Be sure to note the temperature of the hooves and check the frog over. If you establish what is normal for your horse, you will also notice if there is a time where your horse’s hoof feels too warm.daily hoof care
  2. Look for common hoof problems: look for thrush, punctures, cracks and abscesses. Thrush is a dark, foul smelling bacterial condition that is usually caused by standing in moist environments. Pick up some thrush remedies at your local tack shop. (My personal favorite is “No Thrush” which is a dry powder. I have had great luck with it!) If you notice a puncture, large crack, or abscess, be sure to contact your vet or farrier for advice on what the next game plan to solve the problem would be.
  3. Schedule regular farrier visits: if your horse is like mine, I have to have the farrier come out every 6 weeks on the dot. Some of my friend’s horses are around the 8-week mark, but there is no standard interval for trimming or shoeing. It really just depends on how your horse’s hooves grow. Your farrier can always suggest if he should come earlier or later than he is.

If you follow these easy tips and take care of your horse’s hooves daily, you will have a horse with hooves that are healthy and strong! Like the old saying goes, “no hoof, no horse!”

Benefits of a Round Pen

May 17, 2017

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of requests for quotes for round pens. So I decided it would be a great time to write a blog about the benefits of a round pen for you and your horse. Round pens are very versatile and create a controlled environment where you can evaluate, train, and bond with your horse.

The last time that I went with a friend to look at a horse to buy, the barn had a round pen. We were ecstatic! Bringing a horse into a round pen is a great area to evaluate the horse. You can free lunge the horse through the gaits to see how they move without anyone but the horse having control. This allows their full movement. It can be determined by watching the horse if they are lame or have behavioral or physical issues. Free lunging will let you see the horse’s natural abilities.Benefits of a round pen

A round pen can also be used as a good place to train a horse. One of my favorite exercise is to despook in the round pen. Have him walk over a tarp or poles. This way if he does spook, he can’t get far away from the object and can’t hide in the corner of an arena. It also is a great area to bring him in to free lunge before a ride. By free lunging before a ride, his muscles will warm up and get all of the “kinks” out before you ride.

Last but not least, it is a great place to bond with your horse. A round pen provides a non-threatening area. The horse can run around in circles until he has calmed down and realized that you are not a threat to them. He also will be able to focus on you and the commands you are asking of him. Spending time on ground manners, grooming and saddling in the round pen can strengthen your bond together, all while doing this in a safe space for your horse.

There are plenty of companies that sell round pens where you can purchase them, as well as create your own. There are lots of recommendations for height, materials used, etc. You can find some great information in this article by Stable Management.

When looking for footing for your round pen, don’t hesitate to give us a call for dust-free footing with great performance!

Empire Farms Days, Seneca Falls NY

May 17, 2017

Come and see us at the Empire Farm Days, August 9-11th in Seneca Falls, NY! IMG_0276The 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!

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.

Bonding with your Horse

May 17, 2017

Have you ever had an instant bond with a horse? Maybe you’ve had a horse that you’ve had since he was born, so he’s never lost trust in people. Or maybe you have a horse that is very distant and you have to work everyday to get the horse to trust you. Creating a connection with a horse will ensure that your horse will try his hardest for you whether you are in the ring, or going on a trail ride with a dicey situation. Here are a couple tips to increasing the bonding with your horse.

  • Groom your horse. For me, I could groom horses all day long. It not only is a stress reliever for horses but for me too! Horses groom each other in their natural habitat to bond within the heard. It is the same if you groom your horse. Find the areas your horse love getting scratched. They will appreciate it and come to enjoy grooming time with you.
  • Massage your horse. In addition to grooming, learn the basics of equine massage. Any type of form of therapeutic massages or T-touch (moving your fingers in small circular motions) can make your horse relax and enjoy his time with you. Some horses will even lean into you, when you massage a spot that needs work.
  • Don’t just go to the barn for work. Although our schedules may be busy, don’t only go to the barn and work your horse. Take a day out of your scheduled barn visits to just spend relaxing time with your horse. Bring him out to a lush area of grass they normBonding with your horseally can’t get to or sit in the pasture with him and just enjoy each other’s company. I love to read a book while relaxing in the pasture. You can also groom them while you’re there too!
  • Learn to understand your horse’s signals. Learn the different noises they like to make. Observe his facial expressions, how he is holding his head, and tail and watch his ears. I can always tell my horse is relaxed when he puts his head down. When my horse is agitated, he always swishes his tail. Learn what body language your horse has when he’s upset or relaxed or happy.

It could take a few days to earn trust from a new horse, or you could get a horse like me, where it takes months to earn his trust. But once you earn the trust of a horse, you have a friend for life.

How do you bond with your horse?

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!


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