Evaluating Horse Arena Footing
The proper riding arena surface gives the horse confidence and the ability to perform at his best. So, it is important to learn how to evaluate which horse arena footing is good and safe for your horse to ride on by recognizing hard, deep and loose footings and their impact on the soundness of the horse.
The perfect horse arena footing provides a cushion that helps the horse perform by absorbing concussion and therefore reducing the risk of injury. However, the arena footing should also be stable and give good shear strength so the hoof can push off from the surface. A good rule of thumb is to be able to see that the toe is able to penetrate into the footing by 1 to 1.5 inches. If you cannot see the indentation of the toe penetration, then you are riding on horse arena footing which is too hard and dead which will lead to injuries.
To the contrary, horse arena footing that is too soft and loose makes the horse work harder, which means more fatigue to the ligaments and muscles. Soft and loose horse arena footing causes an uneven surface for the horses’ legs to land on.
Consistency of the horse arena footing is another key element of an arena that rides safe. Even watering is the top priority. Only surfaces with an even moisture content can be dragged evenly. If the watering is uneven, then your arena drag will harrow-in differently and the surface will ride differently.