East-West Arena Construction Blog

Equestrian Footing Companies: What Do They Do?

Posted by East-West Arena Construction

Aug 15, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Equestrian footing companies design the most important part of equestrian facilities- the surfaces the horses work on. Some equestrian footing companies simply advise local contractors on how to build the base and footing, but others have their own builders on staff that perform the construction as well as doing the designing. 

Designing horse footing takes a lot of thought and consideration of trade-offs. What is more important, a low-maintenance footing or one with a uniform density and high shock absorption? Is reducing dust more important than improving drainage? What about reducing sheer versus reducing packing? An experienced equestrian footing company can talk with the owner of the facility and guide the owner through all of the many decisions involved in constructing a footing that meets the needs of the facility. 


Caption: The right footing for an equestrian arena depends on the goals for the riders. Every situation is unique, and requires a unique solution.


Some might think that building equestrian footing is a simple task- surely one perfect base and footing combination has been developed that will work for all equestrian facilities. No, one size does not fit all- each facility is unique and the type of footing that is perfect for one facility may be a disaster at another. For example, the climate affects footing properties. In a very hot climate, certain footing materials can melt. In very cold climates, controlling dust when the footing cannot be watered is an issue that simply isn't of concern in other locations. A base that will drain sufficiently in dry climates might turn arenas into lakes in wetter climates.

The type(s) of equestrian work being conducted at the facility will also affect choices of footing. Some sports are best performed on very firm surfaces and with others, the horses do better with softer, more shock-absorbing surfaces. A multi-use facility will have to select a compromise surface that will work with all sports.  

Making the wrong decisions can produce a footing that is unusable much of the year, a footing that requires endless amounts of work to remain usable, a footing that causes serious injuries to the horses, or even compromises the respiratory health of the riders. Building the correct surface to ride on in the first place will prevent a lot of grief and will also save money in the long run. 

As you can see, it is important to consult an equestrian footing company before you begin work on your dream arena- if the wrong decisions are made, your dream may turn into a nightmare. Or, if you already own an arena that does not meet expectations, consulting with an equestrian footing company can help you figure out how to improve it. 

For information about building or improving your equestrian facility, do not hesitate to contact us.

Topics: Footing