Posts Tagged ‘Horse Barn’

Attached Arenas Create Dust in Barn

May 17, 2017

Building or renovating a barn can be fun, but also very time consuming. You’ll want to design a barn that promotes good health for both the humans and the horses in the barn!

Although building your barn with an attached arena sounds like an ideal situation, it could severely affect your horses’ health. An article from The HORSE takes a look at Indoor Arena Dust and the damage it causes to horse and rider. The air quality was tested in four different indoor arenas, each with a different barn layout. They noted that the dust levels were highest in the arena that was in the same building as the stalls.

The arena dust can easily migrate to the stalls, as the dust from the stall bedding as well as hay, can increase the dust levels. Many local barns have been building arenas, with stalls lining the inside of the arenas. This can be the worst combination if the traditional sand is used. With the stalls being located in the arena, the horses in the stalls are breathing as much dust in as the horse doing the riding. Dust is not only harmful to your horses but to you too. It can cause many bronchitis issues as well as sinus infection.

Instead of worrying about dust from your arena migrating into your barn, install a footing that is completely dust-free. Our dust-free footing products will relieve the headache of dust levels being high all over your barn. Not only will you never have to water your arena again, but you’re also providing your horse with the best product for them to train on that will properly cushion their every hoof fall.

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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!

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?

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?

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!

SuperStall Vs. Rubber Filled Mattress

May 3, 2016

You all know by now that I like to write my blogs based on questions I get when talking to customers. Lately I’ve been asked a lot what the difference is between a rubber filled mattress and our SuperStall Mattress. In order to explain the difference, first I’ll tell you a bit about the history of our company.

IGK Equestrian, LLC is the child company of North Brook Farms, INC. Twenty years ago, Peter and Carolyn Kyle (owners of North Brook Farms, INC and IGK Equestrian LLC) were dairy farmers milking 350 head on their 800-acre farm in central New York. Their veterinarian advised them to make their cows more comfortable, since well-rested cows produce more milk. So the Kyles decided to make the cows’ bedding softer and more enticing by incorporating recycled rubber.

They started the business by making these rubber filled mattresses. Over time we realized there were a few things about the rubber mattresses that we didn’t love. The first thing, that was very apparent was that the rubber filled cells, which were about 4ft x 5ft, were very heavy; weighing about 130 pounds! Both the manufacture process of these mattresses and the installation process were very labor intensive. During the installation process, the mattresses had to be pulled off of a pallet, carried to where they were getting laid down and then maneuvered so that they were laying correctly. Everyone’s arms were aching by the time the installation was completed! The second major downfall of these mattresses that we noticed is over time the rubber inside the cells compact. After being under an animal for a long duration, the rubber will nestle down in the cells of the mattress, where the various sizes and pieces of rubber fit together like a puzzle, and become hard. Having this mattress compact over time and become hard defeats the purpose of a comfort mattress for your animal. When we realized that the rubber filled mattresses did this, we decided to switch our systems to a foamSuperStall Foam Horse Mattress System mattress.

We have been using foam in our SuperStalls for over 10 years now. Our foam has been tested over time and has shown less than 1% compaction over a ten-year period. The foam is a lot less heavy than a traditional rubber filled mattress and has proven to provide comfort time and time again both in the dairy and horse industry! Your horse will be much more comfortable in their stall for years to come with a SuperStall System than a rubber filled mattress system!

Dyna’s Story- Navicular Syndrome

May 3, 2016
12987958_944201372343172_1679259081_n

Cindy & Dyna

I love my job. Mostly because I love horses, and get to look at gorgeous barns, pretty horses, and I get to talk to horse people all day. But talking to someone who loves an animal as much as you do is probably my favorite part about my job. Selling the products that we sell at IGK Equestrian, I get to talk to lots of horse people! Last week I had a local woman, Cindy, call me who had heard about our mattress system, from a friend who has our mattresses in her dairy barn! She was so excited about our SuperStall Mattresses that she drove out that day to the office to take a look at our product. She told me how she has two horses, and that one of them has Navicular Syndrome. I immediately fell in love with her story and her horse. I wanted to do everything I could to help out “Dyna”! Here is her story:

“Dyna found me in 2006 at the age of 8. She had been a show horse in many types of events from jumping to western pleasure to a lesson horse by the time I met her. I knew I was purchasing a “lame” horse but to what degree was unknown and by then the bond was formed. I wanted her no matter what! We discovered her navicular at the time of purchase with a routine vet check. After X-rays and many vet appointments and farrier trials with new shoes consisting of rim pads and egg bars along with medication and joint 12980514_944201222343187_1139237171_nsupplements she has been comfortable until this past winter.Knowing that she could become more “ouchy” over time and with age I tried to think of continual ways to keep her comfortable. A friend of mine suggested your product. I researched it online and thought it would be the perfect remedy. The mattresses were installed right away (in both of my horse’s stalls) and I have seen instant relief in how Dyna walks out of her stall and overall movement. I am so grateful and thankful to have found IGK Equestrian. Dyna is a “family member” and I want her to be as comfortable and happy as possible. I love he

SuperStall Horse Mattress System

Dyna checking out her new SuperStall!

Cindy also owns Dyna’s son Riley. Riley is sound and she wants to keep him sound so she figured putting a mattress in Riley’s stall would be a great way to do that. I love hearing stories like this and how much our SuperStall Mattress can help. I have heard so many accounts about horses no longer limping out of their stall, or seeing more shavings on the horse’s body everyday because they’re constantly lying down on the SuperStall. I’m so glad that we could help Dyna feel much more comfortable! If you have any questions and would like to know how our SuperStall Mattress System can benefit your horse, don’t hesitate to give me a call!

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?

Arena Etiquette

March 24, 2016

I grew up riding outside with my friends down trails, across field, everywhere. Then one day I found myself leasing a horse in a local barn, where I now had to ride in an arena with multiple people, and had no idea about arena etiquette. I quickly learned that ring etiquette is very important! Let’s take a look at some of the main riding ring rules at most arenas.

  • Be courteous when you ride with others. Everyone is at different riding levels.
  • Slower riders should stay to the inside of the arena, while faster pace riders should stay on the outside of the arena.Horse Arena 019
  • Try to ride the same direction around the arena, but if for some reason you have to pass by riders, the rule is left shoulder to left shoulder when passing another rider.
  • Mount and dismount your horse out of the way in the center of the arena, not on the rail where everyone is riding.
  • Cue your horse quietly and away from other horses. You know exactly how your horse needs to be cued, but another horse could be very responsive and you could end up cuing another rider’s horse, which could cause problems.
  • If you need to stop your horse, be sure to move out of the path of riders and into the center of the arena before your stop.
  • Be prepared for an emergency. If a rider falls of his/her horse, stop your horse immediately and dismount. If you are closest to the rider that has fallen, see if they are hurt.

Most barns have arena rules posted, before you ride, check with your barn manager on what their specific riding rules are. Follow the rules and have fun riding!

Does your arena have any additional arena riding rule?

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!


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