Every horse owner understands the importance of riding on an appropriate surface. You wouldn’t gallop on a hard and unyielding surface, as the horse’s lower leg and hoof structure would be subjected to unacceptable levels of stress, not to mention the potential risk of the horse slipping and possibly falling. Equestrian arena surfaces have been developed and refined over many years in order to provide the safest and most comfortable surface for the horse, in all gaits and across all disciplines.
Investing in a good-quality arena surface costs money, so it needs to be money well spent if it’s going to serve as a long-term investment. It’s the dream of every owner to have their own defined area for schooling and jumping, with a guaranteed safe riding surface throughout the year, in all weather conditions. However, for one group of riders and owners, the issue of riding arena surfaces is crucial to their training and success, and that’s competition riders.
Protect Your Horse’s Legs
Good competition horses are an expensive investment, and it’s no wonder – many hours of hard work go into producing a high-quality competition horse with the potential to compete successfully in their respective discipline. The ability to carry out precise and complex school movements, like those requested of a Grand Prix Dressage horse, in a safe and comfortable environment, without the risk of injury, is absolutely paramount to their ongoing development and success. An Equestrian arena surface should provide enough traction and support to the horse during these movements; the surface should be firm enough to support the horse’s tendons and ligaments, especially during the loading stages of a movement, yet be cushioning with enough energy return to encourage the horse’s continued movement.
Research into Equine Footing
A study conducted by a veterinary research laboratory in California has concluded that when selecting riding arena surfaces for performance horses, it requires the same level of care as the selection process for racehorses, who will often be withdrawn from events if the surface conditions aren’t appropriate. The report indicates that a surface which is too hard may cause harm to a competition horse’s hooves, joints and bones. A surface that is too soft or yielding risks causing irreparable damage to the soft tissues of the lower limbs and joints, whilst irregular surfaces can be responsible for some of the most acute injuries, and at the very least can make the horse less certain of its footing.
Choose the Best
New systems and technologies are being developed all the time to upgrade and improve the quality of equestrian arena surfaces, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some excellent surface materials available now. Whether your arena is indoors or outdoors, Day Equestrian can offer high-quality surfaces that are fit for purpose and developed for the particular needs of competition horses.