You've probably heard about GGT footing, maybe even ridden on it. It's used in many of the top equestrian facilities in the world, such as the Kentucky Horse Park and the Devon Show Grounds. The GGT stands for German Geo Textile, the name of the company that manufactures the footing additive.
GGT is a shredded textile product intended to be added to sand to improve the function of the sand as horse footing. GGT comes in different types depending upon the kind of sand you have and the intended purpose of the footing. All types of GGT act to stabilize the sand particles, improve the shock-absorbing properties of the surface, reduce dust and help prevent the surface from compacting.
Arena Footing installed by East-West Arena Construction
Basic GGT surfaces are constructed by mixing sand with shredded polyester fiber textiles (Geo footing). GGT also has two types of fiber than can be added to increase the impact and shear resistance of the surface. One of the fibers is regular and one is elastic to make the surface extra-springy. Different types of GGT surfaces can be created by mixing different proportions of the textile and fibers into the sand:
- Geo, basic footing for multi-purpose arenas
- Dressage, stable and fluffy to prevent injuries
- Jumper, high impact resistance and greater stability to facilitate a strong jump and a secure landing
- Western, works well for cutting, reining and barrel racing
The synthetic polyester fibers do not rot or break down from exposure to heat or sunlight. Some mechanical wear does occur over time, but most surfaces last for at least ten years before requiring amendment. The textiles absorb moisture and reduce the need for frequent watering of the surface; they also reduce the amount of dust in the air. GGT also sells an additional product that will reduce dust even further when added to GGT footing. Because the textiles resist packing, the surface doesn't need to be harrowed as often as most surfaces.
In addition to being low-maintenance, if installed properly in a well-designed, well-drained arena over a good base the surface becomes an all-weather riding surface. In cold conditions it resists freezing solid and easily crumbles apart under the horse's hooves rather than becoming concrete-like. In very dry conditions it holds moisture and resists releasing dust. In very wet conditions it absorbs the water and doesn't become slippery or sloppy.
Unlike some footing additives (aka rubber), GGT is environmentally inert. It doesn't break down or release toxic chemicals. It can be disposed of like any other non-hazardous waste. The MSDS indicates it is non-toxic and safe to handle and use.
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