- Eco-Friendly Options
- Dust Reduction Options
- Dust-Free Solutions
- Compaction Reduction
- Reduce Watering Options
- Installation Considerations
- Grooming Considerations
The equestrian community is not just passionate about horses but increasingly about the environment too. As our understanding of ecological concerns grows, many are searching for ways to make horse care and training more sustainable. One such method is through the use of eco-friendly footing additives in horse arenas. These additives, when mixed with sand, improve the surface for the horse and rider, ensuring optimal performance and safety. Moreover, eco-friendly additives play a pivotal role in reducing the environmental footprint of arenas.
Why Consider Eco-friendly Additives?
Traditional footing additives can contain plastics and other harmful components that might contaminate air particles or local watersheds. These pollutants can be harmful to both horses and humans and can also contribute to broader environmental degradation. But by choosing eco-friendly additives, horse enthusiasts can ensure a cleaner environment for everyone involved.
Eco-Friendly Footing Additives Options:
- Levitare: This innovative additive is made from bio-based rubbers. Not only is it a sustainable alternative, but it also provides excellent cushioning and shock absorption for horses. Beyond the shock absorption, the fabrics hold onto water which reduces the dust and watering needs. This means a reduced risk of injuries and a more comfortable ride for both horse and rider.
- Noviun: Derived from plant-based fibers, Noviun is a natural choice for those looking to make their horse arenas more sustainable. This additive provides the perfect balance of grip and give, making it ideal for various equestrian disciplines.
- FoamFooting: Here’s a creative way of repurposing old yoga mats! Instead of discarding used mats, FoamFooting transforms them into an effective footing additive. This not only diverts waste from landfills but also offers a soft and resilient surface with stability for horse arenas.
- Green Gold: While not as common, repurposed tennis balls can be another eco-friendly additive option. By shredding and integrating them into the footing, arenas can benefit from enhanced bounce and cushioning, while simultaneously recycling a product that would otherwise be thrown away.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Additives:
- For the Environment: Using eco-friendly additives directly impacts the environment by reducing plastic waste, utilizing sustainable resources, and preventing harmful pollutants from contaminating our air and water.
- For Horses: A cleaner arena means a healthier environment for the horse. Less dust and harmful microplastics mean better air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory issues for the animals.
- For Humans: Just like their equine counterparts, riders and trainers can also benefit from the improved air quality in arenas. Plus, there’s the added satisfaction of knowing you’re making a choice that’s kind to the planet.
- Cost-Effective in the Long Run: While the initial investment might sometimes be more, many eco-friendly additives tend to be more durable and efficient, saving money over time.
As the equestrian world evolves, so do the methods and materials we use. By opting for eco-friendly additives, we are taking a step towards a future where horse sports and environmental consciousness go hand-in-hand. It’s a win-win for the planet, the horses, and us.
Dust Reduction Options
Maintaining a dust-free equestrian arena is crucial for the health of both the horses and their riders. Excessive dust can lead to respiratory issues and reduce visibility, making training or competition dangerous. While water is a quick solution to end dust, it is also temporary, time-consuming, and in many cases regularly inaccessible. As we horse enthusiasts continue to search for new solutions, several dust-reducing arena footing options have been brought to market. Here, we explore some of these options and their benefits.
1. Textile Blends or Carpet Fibers
While these options do contain plastics, they have proven effective in reducing dust. How? They retain moisture exceptionally well. Products like TruTex or GGT are popular textile blends that equestrians have turned to. By holding onto the moisture, these textile blends ensure that the arena remains dust-free for longer periods, even during intensive training sessions. This characteristic not only provides a safer environment but can also reduce the frequency and amount of water needed for maintenance. The manufacturers suggested a dampness that is similar to the edge of the water at a beach, and it is known that when dry, the footing becomes deep.
2. FoamFooting and Levitare
These sustainable footing options also excel in holding onto moisture, which plays a significant role in dust reduction. While Levitare holds onto more moisture than FoamFooting, both still hold on and require less than textile blends or carpet-based options. Their composition allows for a resilient, yet stable surface, ensuring that riders can enjoy a dust-free experience. Plus, as previously mentioned, eco-friendly alternatives like FoamFooting, made from repurposed yoga mats, and Levitare, made from bio-based rubbers, make for an environmentally conscious choice.
3. Dust Halt
Looking for an enhancer for your dust control measures? Dust Halt can be an excellent addition. This product targets the smaller particles that are primarily responsible for dust. When activated by water, Dust Halt binds these tiny particles together, making them heavier and less likely to become airborne. The result? An even more significant reduction in dust. DustHalt can be combined with almost all footing options, and at $349 a bucket, it makes for an affordable option that can cover up to 22,000 sq feet.
4. Magnesium Flakes (MAG)
For those who may not have a consistent water supply, Magnesium Flakes (MAG) can be an option. These flakes are highly effective in dust control because they draw moisture from the atmosphere. However, it’s essential to note their drawbacks. MAG can dry out everything they come in contact with, including horse’s hooves. Additionally, they have the potential to rust grooming tools and equipment due to their corrosive nature. When considering MAG, it’s crucial to weigh these factors against the benefit of not requiring water for dust control.
How to Reduce Dust?: Conclusion
The quest for a dust-reduced horse arena doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. Different factors, such as the local climate, the type of equestrian activities, and available resources, can influence the best choice. However, with innovative options ranging from textile blends to unique products like Dust Halt, equestrians can find a solution tailored to their specific needs. By prioritizing both the health of the horses and riders and the quality of training, these dust-reducing solutions represent a significant stride in equestrian arena management.
Note: these options are NOT ADDITIVES. They are the complete footing and require no sand to be added
In the equestrian world, the quest for the perfect arena footing is never-ending. While every rider dreams of a dust-free environment for both their own and their horse’s health, achieving it has often been elusive. However, recent advancements in footing solutions are changing the narrative. This article delves into some of the top dust-free solutions in the market that require zero watering and produce no dust.
1. Arena Green: A Chemical-Free Revolution
Perhaps the most eco-friendly option available today, Arena Green, promises a dust-free experience without relying on waxes or chemicals. Instead, this product blends plant-based fibers with robust silica-like sand to create a natural yet effective solution for dust control. Moreover, for those conscious about cost and depth, Arena Green stands out. Priced at $4.97 per square foot, customers can obtain 3.5″ of depth, a deal available at PerformanceFooting.com. This price point makes it an attractive option for those looking for top-quality footing without breaking the bank.
2. Pinnacle by Attwood: The Polymer Promise
Pinnacle has taken a different approach to the dust problem. Instead of plant-based fibers, Attwood’s solution incorporates binding polymers to keep the dust at bay. While polymers have proven effective, potential buyers should note that this option does not come cheap.
3. Equi-Blend & LiteStride: The Wax Way
Wax has long been a go-to solution for those looking to bind materials together and reduce dust. Both Equi-Blend and LiteStride utilize wax for its binding properties, ensuring a dust-free ride every time. However, similar to some polymers, wax also reacts to temperature changes. This can lead to fluctuations in the texture and performance of the footing, especially in regions with pronounced seasonal variations.
Dust and Water-Free Footing Conclusion
Selecting the right footing for an equestrian arena is a blend of understanding one’s needs, budget, and the local climate. While dust-free solutions like Arena Green offer an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution, others like Pinnacle or Equi-Blend bring their own set of advantages.
One of the persistent challenges arena managers and owners face is compaction. While a compacted surface might seem firm and even, it can lead to jarring impacts on a horse’s legs and strain their tendons and ligaments. Consequently, many turn to footing additives to provide a cushioning effect and reduce compaction. Let’s delve into the top options in the market:
1. FoamFooting: Repurposing with Purpose
Perhaps one of the most innovative solutions in recent years, FoamFooting is crafted from repurposed yoga mats. Not only is this solution sustainable, but it also guarantees a series of benefits: zero chemicals, no discernible odors, resistance to discoloration of clothing, and most importantly, it does not crumble into dust. This makes it a long-lasting and eco-friendly choice for those seeking a resilient yet gentle footing solution.
2. Rubber Granules: Tread Carefully
While rubber granules have been a traditional choice for many arenas, potential users should be aware of their origin. Often derived from car tires, they may contain metals, which could pose potential health concerns. Additionally, the characteristic rubbery odor and the propensity to crumble over time can be deterrents for some.
3. Levitare: A Nod to the Past, A Blast into the Future
Levitare is a fresh face in the arena footing world, drawing inspiration from Nike’s arena footing from yesteryears. Crafted predominantly from plant-based rubbers and fabrics, Levitare offers a sustainable and performance-driven solution to compaction issues.
4. Green Gold: Repurposing from Tennis
A less-known item is Green Gold. Marrying the properties of rubber and fabric, Green Gold brings to the table a unique solution, while it retains some of the rubber’s challenges, such as odors and crumbling.
5. Textile Blends: The Comfort of Carpets
Textiles, like those utilized by brands like GGT or TruTex, have carved a niche for themselves in the footing additive market. These blends, which often combine carpet fibers and other plastic-based textiles, are revered for their ability to reduce compaction.
Reduce Watering Options
One of the critical aspects of maintaining optimal footing is moisture content. Too much water can make the ground soggy and unsafe, while too little can result in a hard, compacted surface. With the challenges of fluctuating weather conditions and environmental concerns, water-reducing arena footing additives have gained significant traction. Let’s delve into some of the top contenders in this arena (pun intended!).
1. Levitare: Nature’s Moisture Manager
Levitare is not just a regular additive; it’s a game-changer in arena footing. Made from environmentally friendly materials, Levitare has an uncanny ability to retain moisture, ensuring the ground remains supple and responsive. But its benefits don’t end there. While it holds onto water to maintain a desirable moisture level, it also efficiently sheds excess water, ensuring excellent drainage. This dual capability makes Levitare a preferred choice for many arena owners seeking a balanced moisture solution.
2. FoamFooting: Dual Performance, Singular Excellence
Another sustainable choice for arena footing, FoamFooting, is crafted from repurposed yoga mats. Beyond its eco-friendly credentials, FoamFooting shines in its ability to maintain an optimal moisture balance in the arena. Like Levitare, FoamFooting retains the necessary moisture to prevent the surface from becoming overly compacted or dusty. Simultaneously, it facilitates the drainage of any excess water, making it an ideal solution for arenas in regions with unpredictable weather patterns.
3. Textiles: A Double-Edged Sword
Textile-based additives, popularized by their plush feel and performance enhancement, do play a role in water management. However, it’s a complex relationship. While textiles require significant amounts of water to maintain their effectiveness, they also have a propensity to hold onto it, sometimes a little too effectively. This water retention can sometimes lead to drainage issues, and in worst-case scenarios, mold formation. Therefore, while textiles offer numerous benefits, their water management capabilities need to be carefully considered and monitored.
Take Aways: Water Reducing Additives
As we forge ahead into an era where sustainability and environmental impact underpin many of our decisions, selecting arena footing additives reflects this shift in mindset With options like Levitare and FoamFooting, arena owners can strike a balance between performance and conservation, ensuring that both horse and rider perform at their peak, all while treading lightly on our planet. However, it’s essential to be informed and judicious in our choices, considering both the benefits and potential pitfalls of each additive. With the right knowledge and products, we can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable equestrian future.
Installation Considerations with Arena Additives
Now that you have investigated the options available, let’s look at installation which can impact your time, labor, and wallet, as the process of installation can vary widely depending on the type of additive and the specific needs of your arena. Let’s explore this topic in-depth.
1. Textiles and Fabric Options: Heavy Lifting Required
The installation of textile and fabric additives is not for the faint of heart. These additives typically arrive in massive bales, often weighing between 500-700lbs or even more. Given their weight, you’ll need specialized equipment or a team of strong individuals to handle them.
Moreover, manufacturers usually have precise recommendations regarding the type of sand suitable for their product. In most cases, they recommend silica. Once you’ve offloaded these hefty bales, integrating them into your sand requires additional specialized equipment. The installation process can be cumbersome, potentially leading to increased labor and equipment rental costs. Many require the installation to use a manure spreader or rototiller in order to mix in the additive to the existing sand.
2. FoamFooting: The DIY Enthusiast’s Dream
If you’re seeking an easier and more cost-effective solution, FoamFooting might be the answer. Packaged in manageable 35lb bags, FoamFooting eliminates the need for heavy machinery or a large workforce during installation. What makes it even more appealing is its compatibility with all arena sands. Whether you choose to use a groomer or hand-rake it into your sand, FoamFooting integrates seamlessly. Its versatility means it’s effective with most sand types, reducing the complexity of the installation process.
3. Levitare: Lightweight and User-friendly
Much like FoamFooting, Levitare is designed for user convenience. It arrives in 25lb bags, ensuring easy handling. Its lightweight nature means that you don’t need to wrestle with heavy equipment or require a team to offload it. Levitare is also versatile, working effectively with various sand types. Installation can be done using standard groomers or by hand raking, making it a popular choice among arena owners.
4. Noviun: The Middle Ground
Sitting somewhere between textiles and the likes of FoamFooting, Noviun comes in super sacks that weigh around 250 lbs. While not as lightweight as FoamFooting or Levitare, it’s still manageable compared to textile bales. The real advantage? You can offload it by hand, and it’s compatible with most sands. Once again, you have the flexibility of using your existing grooming equipment or a simple hand rake for integration.
Installation Take Aways for Arena Footing
The installation of arena footing additives is a critical process that can influence the long-term quality and maintenance of your arena. While options abound, the key is to understand the specific needs of your arena and the labor and equipment required for each additive.
Different additives have different maintenance requirements, and using the right grooming equipment is key to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your chosen additive. Let’s delve into the nuances of grooming and maintaining the popular footing additives.
1. Foam Footing & Levitare: Versatility in Maintenance
Foam Footing and Levitare are celebrated for their flexibility not just in application, but also in maintenance. They can be groomed using a broad spectrum of groomers or drags, offering arena owners significant latitude in how they maintain their surfaces.
Groomers from an adjustable tine with depth gauge like the Arena Dragster to an EquiGroomer can all effectively groom these additives. Even chain harrows, often employed for their ability to efficiently level and spread the surface, are compatible with Foam Footing and Levitare.
2. Noviun: Precision in Grooming
Noviun, while versatile, does have specific grooming recommendations for optimal performance. While it can be maintained with various drags, Noviun’s ideal pairing is with tined drags, like the Arena Dragster from Performance Footing. These drags, with their precision tines, ensure that Noviun is evenly integrated and maintains its cushioning properties.
For those who seek the crème de la crème of grooming tools, the EquiGroomer stands out. It’s designed with two rows of adjustable tines followed by a rear roller, ensuring an even, optimal surface every time. It pairs beautifully with Foam Footing, Levitare, and Noviun, making it a worthy investment for arenas that prioritize top-tier maintenance.
3. Textile Footings: Specialized Care Required
Textile footings, which include synthetic fibers and carpet materials, demand a more specialized grooming approach. Their unique composition means that using just any drag can lead to uneven surfaces or damage the fibers.
For textile footings, dedicated drags specifically designed for this type of material are recommended. While they come with a steeper price tag, starting at $5,000 and going up, they are essential for maintaining the integrity of the footing. Investing in the right drag for textile footings ensures that they provide a consistent and safe surface for extended periods.
The right grooming tools and maintenance practices can significantly extend the life of your arena’s footing additives. Whether you’re working with Foam Footing, Levitare, Noviun, or textile footings, understanding their unique requirements will ensure you provide the best possible surface for horse and rider. Always remember, an ounce of prevention (or in this case, proper grooming) is worth a pound of cure!