How A Dusty Arena Harms Horse Health and Performance

Arena dust control is key to creating the best environment for both horse and rider.

Horse in an Indoor Arena

A dusty arena is a burr under the saddle of many riders and trainers. Dust filling the air doesn’t make for good footing or a safe environment. Especially if the dust is up to your knees and getting kicked up into the air because that means both horse and rider are inhaling it into their lungs. We’ve talked before about how horses can’t listen to their rider when they are in protection mode while trying to avoid an injury from bad or inconsistent arena footing. For arena owners running into dust issues, the bright side is, putting some effective watering maintenance practices into place can get your arena back to where horses and riders can be at their best health and performance.

Effective Arena Water Management Practices

So what does effective water management look like? Well, first let’s talk about what it doesn’t look like: Overwatering. A common mistake arena owners face is overwatered footing. When arena footing is overwatered, that excess water settles through the top layers, down to the base of the footing. This can soften the base, causing major issues for your horses and the longevity of your arena. And in clay-heavy soil, this can cause the footing to become extremely slick. 

Some arena owners prevent this by installing a state-of-the-art overhead arena sprinkler system–but that’s a huge financial investment, and not in most arena owners’ budgets. However, for those who want the consistency and reliability of an overhead sprinkler system for a smaller price tag, a water trailer is the way to go. With a water trailer you can eliminate that dusty footing while protecting your base and keeping it intact.

Best Arena Watering Patterns

Another common watering management solution is to use oscillating sprinklers. You can buy cheap oscillating sprinklers that require little installation. A win-win, right? Not exactly. Oscillating sprinklers bring up a host of issues around the ground consistency. The patterns create overlaps and missed spots. Your dust may be tamped down, and your footing may look pleasantly moist, but your horses will be able to feel the dryer and wetter spots. They won’t be giving their rider their full attention, rather they’ll be focusing on anticipating the inconsistencies within the footing to avoid injury. 

This is why it’s vital to create consistent watering. You need to be able to get rid of that dust, without adding a host of new issues for your horses. When your footing is watered evenly, your horses are able to be more in tune with their rider, because they aren’t having to divert focus to avoid slippage.

ABI 550 Compact Water Trailer Indoor Horse Arena

What tow vehicle do you need to get consistency in watering an arena

One hindrance for many arena owners is concern over not having or not being able to afford the right tow vehicle to drag and water their arena. This is why so many choose to go the cheap oscillating sprinkler or garden hose route. 

But it’s a misconception that you need a certain type of tractor in order to pull a top-of-the-line water trailer. You can get a water trailer made for a smaller vehicle like a gator that still hauls a large volume of water. Whether you have access to sub-compact or compact tractor, or you just have a UTV, there are a variety of water trailers to suit your needs.

To find the right water trailer for your needs, view our full line here or speak to an expert at 877.788.7253

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