Today’s riders and trainers are more aware of the importance of high-quality arena footing for the safety of horses’ joints, legs and feet. Horse owners, universities and equestrian event facilities install premium footing in their indoor and outdoor show arenas and warm-up rings for maximizing performance and safety. Although premium footings, such as GTX blends are long lasting, maintaining the footing with an arena groomer can extend arena life even further.
Why Use an Arena Groomer
Even premium equestrian event facilities hear complaints from riders during competitions with comments about the arena footing being too deep, too hard, too slippery or having uneven ground. Show management and facility owners take these complaints seriously because dressage performances and the health of horses and riders are at stake.
Caption: Arena groomers prepare the footing by adjusting the depth for effective cushioning and applying enough water to prevent dust and packing.
In fact, horse show organizations now follow the example of the racing industry in striving for optimum arena surfaces for performance horses. In fact, footing is such a debated topic that the American Horse Show Association held a Special Summit on Footing to discuss how to improve arena footing for exhibitors and shows.
Grooming the Arena Footing
Show management is very conscientious about arena footing and ensures that the surface is harrowed and leveled before allowing horses in the ring. Arena groomers prepare the footing by adjusting the depth for effective cushioning and applying enough water to prevent dust and packing. Some arena drag equipment can actually move the footing material and apply the water at the same time when needed. A spray boom is convenient for water control when intense arena lighting dries the surface.
Dragging the footing with an arena groomer prevents ruts along the arena wall and from surface compacting in corners. The amount of time spent dragging the arena depends on the amount of horse traffic in the arena. Grooming the footing helps it keep its bounce and spring for confident horse performance.
Premium footing is an investment for all equestrian facilities and regular arena grooming lengthens the life of both the arena footing and the base.