Horse Show Arena Footing for Jumping | Performance Footing

Horse Show Arena Footing for Jumping

Jumpers deserve top-of-the-line horse footing products when they enter your facility. As niche competitors, they require a specific riding surface that supports athletic horse movements and prevents injuries.

As a discipline, jumping requires equestrians to practice on the same footing they’ll use in horse shows. That way, animals can acclimate to the cushion and firmness of the surface in time for the event.

It’s a nightmare when investors and arena owners choose the wrong indoor or outdoor arena footing for jumpers. We’ve seen flooding, injuries, and dust bowls all too common.

They often lose jumpers outright.

To prevent these issues and build the highest quality equestrian arena possible, we want to tell you more about horse show quality footing for jumping.

What Makes for the Worst Jumping Arena Footing?

Whether you’ve spoken to a facility owner or erred yourself, you’ve probably heard about what happens when picking the wrong footing.

These issues extend to all horse arena footing and disciplines that every investor struggles with if they don’t invest in horse show quality products.

  • Flooding
  • Pooling
  • Uneven ground
  • Footing that’s too deep/shallow
  • Footing that’s too soft/compact

Dressage horses, example, can also lack performance when training on cheap types of sand and footing.

Jumpers know a poorly-constructed arena surface when they see one: they’ve spent thousands at niche jumping facilities their entire careers.

If they spot any of these problems, you’ve probably lost their business. And their lucrative equestrian career for years to come.

What Materials Do Some People Put in their Jumping Arenas?

You can be tempted to lay down a jumping surface with materials other than horse show quality footing if you’re on a budget.

Horse owners and blogs explain how these materials retain moisture and cushion horse hooves like more expensive brands. However, they won’t draw in or retain the niche audience you’re looking for.

The following are some of the options we’ve seen some investors opt for:

  • Limestone Sand & Wood Shavings
  • Sand
  • Limestone Gravel
  • Wood Chips

Non-footing surfaces can function when building an arena for multi-purpose use, but serious jumpers will walk out the door. Local, national, and international regulations don’t approve of DIY footing, preventing jumpers from training on the right surface.

What Makes the Best Footing for Jumping?

Top-of-the-line jumping footing and additives have several factors in common that attract competitors.

When catering to these audiences, it’s important to understand what they’re looking for when scrutinizing at your facility’s niche riding surface.

Then, you can purchase accordingly and make the most ROI on your horse footing investment. They deserve the chance to land legendary horse jumps that put your arena on the front cover.

Meets Jumping Regulations

First and foremost, the best footing for jumping is horse show quality. That means the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) approves the additive and uses it on highly-televised international events.

Shock Absorption

The best jumping footing supports a horse’s weight when taking off and when landing. Unlike dressage, this discipline requires cushion in one place rather than in multiple spots.

Low Shear Resistance

Jumping horses need the ability to quickly land their hooves in the footing, rotate it forward, and prepare for the next jump all in one motion. Low shear resistance allows this process to work and functions with horse hoof mechanics and how they land their feet during the heat of competition.

Dust-Free

For jumpers and any discipline, they need horse footing materials that will not kick up fine dust particles in the air.

Retains Moisture

Another dust control aspect of jumping footing is the ability to retain moisture. When the riding surface holds water, it can weigh pesky dust particles down so they don’t get trapped into rider and horse respiratory systems.

What Does the USEF Have to Say About Jumping Footing?

In the Chapter Hunter/Jumper Competition Standards, the United States Equestrian Foundation is very clear about the type of footing they consider as “horse show quality”.

“The footing in all competition rings, schooling rings, exercise areas and lounge areas must be safe, consistent, and appropriate for the intended use and type of competition.” (HJ – 10)

They also dictate chronic arena maintenance so every jumper gets optimal conditions for performing at their best.

“Provisions must be made (by having on hand functioning proper equipment and scheduling sufficient breaks in the schedule) to maintain the footing in those areas by dragging, watering, and raking, if necessary.”

Other Materials to Use in a Jumping Riding Arena

You can’t run a professional jumping arena on horse show quality footing alone: the sand, watering system, and base play a major role in how the surface functions too.

We recommend speaking to a footing specialist to get a quote on all aspects of your arena so they can recommend the right jumping additive.

Arena Sand

River sand may be the cheaper and easier option, but it won’t support a professional jumping arena. Footing specialists recommend a particle size of .25 to 2 mm and for it to be angular arena sand.

Mixing equestrian-standard arena sand with jumping footing creates a plush, yet firm surface that drives riders to your facilities. You shouldn’t just go off existing sand either since it can’t support a jumping horse’s athletic movements.

Watering System

Unless you opt for waterless horse footing, jumping arenas require you to water the riding surface. Otherwise, it can dry out and become more prone to dustiness, harming both rider and horse.

You can dump tens of thousands down the drain into a 5 to 10 year footing investment that goes sour without taking care of it.

Arena Base

We would argue that the arena base materials are more important than footing. You’ll still run into constant flooding, uneven ground, and other footing issues without the proper foundation.

It needs to be durable enough to withstand heavy horse traffic and have natural permeation to drain excess storm water.

Custom Horse Show Quality Footing Blends

Did you know that footing companies offer custom blends of competition-approved jumping additives?

With varying amounts of textile and fiber, you’ll receive world-renown footing that provides rebound and resistance against compaction.

Our team offers GGT Footing that’s been used in FEI jumping and dressage competitions. You can purchase GGT with yoga mat footing for even more cushion to train and trot.

The best part is that custom horse show blends can work as footing for dressage arenas too and not just jumping.
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Get More Jumpers with the Right Footing

Horse show quality footing comes down to whether you want to attract more jumpers to your facility or not.

They expect nothing less than the best you can buy that directly transfers over to practice sessions. Without USEF-approved footing, jumpers can’t train on your riding surface without jeopardizing their competitions.

You can speak to our equestrian-led team to learn more about purchasing the right jumping footing as well as arena sand and foundations. They all come together to create a revenue-generating property that provides far more than you put into it.

Talk to our expert team by calling (877)-835-0878 today.

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