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The Importance of Arena Surfaces in the Development of Competition Horses

Every owner dreams of having their own riding arena, with a surface that is safe and which always performs, no matter what the weather – but for competition riders and owners, equestrian arena surfaces are crucial to their everyday training and competitive success.

Protect Your Horses’ Legs

Top level competition horses are an expensive investment and it’s no wonder – it takes many hours of hard work and extreme dedication to produce a successful competition horse. The ability to carry out precise and complex school movements, like those required of a Grand Prix dressage horse, in a safe environment without the risk of injury is paramount to their ongoing development and success.

A good equestrian surface should provide enough grip and stability to the horse during these movements – the surface should be firm enough to support the tendons and ligaments, particularly during the loading phase of a stride, yet be cushioning on the bones and joints with enough energy return to encourage the continuation of the movements.

Research into Equine Surfaces

A study conducted by a veterinary research laboratory in California has concluded that the process for selecting riding surfaces for performance horses, requires the same level of care and consideration as those selected for racehorses – who will often be withdrawn from events if the surface conditions aren’t appropriate.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 bones, joints and hooves. An equestrian surface that is too soft or which rides deep, risks causing irreparable damage to the soft tissues of the lower limbs, whilst irregular or uneven riding surfaces can be responsible for some of the most acute injuries.

Choose the Best

New systems and technologies are being developed all the time to upgrade and improve the quality and performance of equestrian surfaces, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent surface materials available now – whether your arena is indoor or outdoor, Day Equestrian can offer high-quality equine surfaces that are fit for purpose and developed for the specific needs of competition horses.


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