When it comes to a horse’s consistency and longevity, footing is everything.
Just about every equestrian has a story about bad footing. Many can even pinpoint a moment when uneven ground led to an injury for horse or rider. Having the right footing can sometimes feel like a Goldilocks situation; too firm creates strain issues, too soft and it slows you down. Then there’s that sweet spot–when the ground is shock absorbing but firm enough to support the hoof and resist for push-off. While almost all equestrians agree great footing makes for a better ride, many ignore the need for it. The right footing is critical to the safety, longevity, and consistency of your horse.
Your Horse Deserves Good Footing
The bond between rider and horse is like no other, and only those who share that bond can understand the gravity of the responsibility a rider has to their horse. The work of training, caring for, and bonding with a horse is massive. And on the flip side, riders require a lot from their horses–whether it be long hours of training, repetitive instruction to finesse a movement, or even just the sheer work it takes to build a relationship with a new rider. Whatever the case may be, you are asking a great deal from these creatures. In return, you take care of them. Inside and out. And through that care, mutual trust is built.
Great footing is a critical part of building that trust. When you are pushing your horse to get the best out of them, how can they respond to your direction if the ground is shifting beneath them? How can they respond to your body if they are having to put undue focus on their own? When you give your horse the right balance of sturdy and soft, you relieve their stress so they can focus wholly on the task at hand–or hoof.
Horses Learn to Anticipate Their Ground
It’s no secret that horses are incredibly smart creatures. One way their intelligence manifests is in the way they react to their ground. When a horse is worked on inconsistent footing, they learn to anticipate the hard and soft spots to prevent injury. These instinctual protective measures cause them to hold back and distract them from the goal of the ride. Experienced riders likely can pinpoint the exact feeling of a horse hesitating due to bad footing. When time upfront is taken to fix the footing, these distractions and hesitations are eliminated. On consistent, level ground, horses are able to give their maximum performance, with more consistency, for years to come.
Arena Footing as Preventive Care
Horse owners are no strangers to spending money on their horses. With all the shots, medications, vet bills, farrier bills, equipment costs, etc. it can sometimes feel like it never ends. But horse lovers know it’s all worth it because the money put into preventive care means better, longer lives for their horses. They get more out of their horse by putting the right stuff in to prevent sickness, illness, and injury.
The same is true for footing. Good footing means safe footing. It means your horses are less likely to strain ligaments or get tripped up. Investing in reliable arena maintenance equipment for proper footing management means saving money down the road with fewer injuries and longer lasting horses.
What Makes Great Arena Footing?
If you are wondering at this point: what exactly makes great footing? The answer is simple: depth and consistency. And the way to get that is by breaking up compaction and applying moisture to the arena footing. These principles apply no matter your set up; so whether you have an arena in your backyard, a round pen, an indoor arena, or anything else with dirt, it’s crucial to break up compacted ground and level out the space.
To make that happen, you need two things: A tow vehicle and the right attachment. Your tow vehicle could be a tractor, gator, or even an ATV. And your tool needs to be able to dig deep enough to break up compaction while avoiding damaging your base, and leveling out the surface for maximum consistency.
Not sure what equipment would work best for your arena set-up? Look through our top-of-the-line attachments or talk to an expert today at 877.788.7253.