What Arena Watering System Works the Best?
Water is an important tool for ensuring your horses are training on footing that’s consistent and has the right balance of give and firmness. Water on your arena also prevents your footing from becoming dusty, which can be unhealthy for both horse and rider.
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Hi, everyone! Matt here with ABI Attachments. Welcome back to another episode of the ABI Dirt. It is hot outside, and humid, and in some places around the country, just downright miserable right now. So we thought it’s no better time than now to talk about water, and specifically, water as a tool. Which, I know, a lot of us right now are using water as fun and water as restoration and water as recovery. But water actually plays a vital role around your property, and specifically, for those of you with horses, in your arenas, as a tool to help you keep your horse safe and to achieve maximum potential of performance with your horse, and those are the topics of conversation today.
Arena Dust Control
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the value of footing and why footing matters so darn much when it comes to the health and longevity and performance of your horse, and actually, a lot of those same principles apply to why water plays such a vital role in your arena. Now, those of you in very dry areas, you already know the value of water when it comes down and sprinkles every now and then just to settle the arena dust, and although that’s nice because it keeps things looking nice and keeps things feeling a little bit less dry and miserable, it also actually has a significant positive impact on the health of your horse, and actually your health as well. When you water your arena, whether God’s gift coming down as rain, or whether when you take some kind of water source and spray water outta your arena, you’re actually keeping the dust down, which mean it’s less dust particles into your nostrils, and the nostrils of your horse, which will help with preventing all kinds of lung issues and breathing issues that your horse could potentially run into in dry conditions.
Horse Arena Watering System
Now, when it comes to water as a tool that can help with your performance, your horse’s performance, let’s draw that connection a little bit. We discussed, again, a couple of weeks ago, how quality footing, how soundness, purchase, sheer strength are vital to your horse, performing its best. Remember that water is actually a binding agent. If you take, and try me on this, actually test me out, walk into your arena when it’s bone dry, grab a handful of soil, grab a handful of footing. It’s going to crumble and fall apart. Add some moisture to it, spray a little bit of water hose, grab a bucket and just splash a little bit, pick it back up, all of a sudden, those soil particles are sticking together. So if you think of water as a binding agent, think about how a controlled, and there’s a keyword there, a controlled and consistent amount of water spread over your arena can help all of the soil in your arena bind together so that as you are riding, as you are training, as you are performing, your horse has that consistent step with every pass.
Arena Water Consistency
And that actually brings us to second step. It’s not just water as a tool to bind the soil particles together, but how do you keep it consistent? So, many of you, myself included, have spent time on a water hose, or hooked up that sprinkler, or maybe you went ahead and invested sprinkler systems around the edge of arena and you’ve got the sprinkler systems going, but what happens? You got puddles here, dry spots there, places that have overlapped. Well. now you’ve got inconsistencies, and if you’ve been following the Dirt for any amount of time, you know that when it comes to footing, one of the worst things that you can have throughout your arena are inconsistencies. High spots or low spots or compaction here and looser material over on this side. Water’s the same way. If you are using water as a tool, as a binding agent, to keep your soil particles kind of bound together and keep the sheer strength of your footing, well, if you’ve got one part of your arena that has more water and therefore the soil is more tightly compacted or has more sheer strength there then the other side, your horse is going to feel those inconsistencies, which means it’s going to be thinking about what it’s stepping on rather than listening to your signals around your arena. So then that is why we have, over the past number of years here at ABI, intentionally designed water trailers for arena purposes. The way that we have constructed the plumbing, the amount of attention we’ve put to things like recirculation valves. so you can control exactly how much water you’re putting down, and even the maneuverability of the spray nozzles on the back end of water trailers all give you complete control of how much water you’re putting down and the spray patterns, so that as you’re holding that water trailer through your arena, you can get the water right where you want it and not where you don’t.
When we talk about sheer strength and how water impacts the the firmness or the sheer strength of your footing, easiest illustration to help it all make sense is actually a beach. Go figure, since your arena probably has a large quantity of sand in it. The closer you get to the water when you’re on a beach, the more water that is mixed in with those sand particles, those soil particles, the more firm that sand is. The further away you get from the water, the less water in that soil, in that sand, in that beach, the more shifty it is, the less fun it is to walk in, especially when it’s hot and dry. So if you think of the difference between sand right next to the water and sand way up far away from the water, which would you rather run in? Which would you rather slide in? Which would you rather train on or perform in? You’re gonna have a whole lot harder time working, running, walking way up in that dry sand than you would further down next to the water where you’ve got a lot of water binding those soil particles together.
Now, one question we get all the time. It’s a fair question. What’s the point of having an independent water trailer if you can just put a water tank on a drag? I mean, a lot of you have been to the big shows, the big event centers that use the ABI DragMaster, the ABI SpeedMaster, you see those drags spraying water down mid-show, between runs, between classes, so what’s the point of having a bigger water trailer?
The answer is simple, but no less frustrating. The reality is, it just takes an enormous amount of water to keep the soil particles in an arena tightly compacted together, especially in a hot climate, arid climate, especially in an outdoor arena. When you see those big arena drags at the big event centers that are putting down water, that’s really just to keep the footing consistent from one contestant to another. If you look around the property, and I challenge you to take a look around the property, that’s your homework, if you look around the property at a big event center, you’re going to find a large water trailer, a large water truck to appropriately prepare that giant arena for the show before the show begins.
That’s all we’ve got today. Hope that helps a little bit in understanding how water can be used as a vital tool around your property, not only to keep your horse healthy, but also to optimize your training regimen. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be talking more about water as a tool around the property, other uses outside the arena, as well as taking a look at specific design features of ABI water trailers. We do things a little differently around here. We talk about that often here on the Dirt. So stick around. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the channel, please do so. We’d hate for you to miss an episode. We’d love to keep you informed. And as always, if you have any questions, give us a call.