If you're considering building or improving an existing jumping arena, it's important to choose high-quality footing that provides both traction and impact resistance. The sport of show jumping poses several challenges for athletes. Good footing for jumping arenas must take into account the bio-mechanics of the sport yet provide a surface that's easy to groom and maintain, especially in professional arenas and training facilities that see plenty of use. Fortunately, newer products on the market offer horses and riders greater comfort while offering farm and facilities managers less work.
Footing Requirements for Jumpers
What do you think of when you think of show jumping? Speed, tight turns and high fences immediately come to mind. The three things that make show jumping such an exciting sport also take their toll on horses' legs and hooves. Surfaces for jumping arenas must provide adequate support for takeoff but prevent jarring upon landing. Most surfaces provide adequate footing for lessons and general riding, but for a professional jumping arena, consider the following:
- Grading: Laser grading can help you build the crown of the arena with a 1 1/2 foot grade, which is recommended by some arena construction facilities to help wick water away from the center.
- Surface: A surface mixture of sand and shock-absorbing footing, such as GGT footing, is ideal. GGT footing is a synthetic mixture of polyester and felt that offers cushioning and support. Mixed with sand, it also keeps water from collecting on the surface.
- Depth: Standard jumping arena footing depth is two to three inches. Anything deeper strains tendons and ligaments.
- Maintenance: Dragging the arena to remove hoof marks and divots, as well as break up manure clumps, creates a smooth surface for maximum speed.
Whether you're building a professional arena for show jumping competitions or retrofitting an existing arena, invest in the best footing you can afford. Your horses and their owners will thank you for it.