A dusty equine arena can be problematic for both humans and horses. As an arena owner, we know that you want to create a top-notch environment where humans and horses alike can perform at peak levels, and excess dust can get in the way of that.
Why Is Dust Problematic?
Aside from the obvious annoyance that dust in the air causes, dust can cause some legitimate health and performance issues so you should take steps to prevent your arena and footing from becoming dusty.
- Health: The more dust that the horses kick up, the more dust particles float in the air. Humans and horses alike then breathe in this dusty air, which can exacerbate and cause breathing problems. While this occurs in outdoor arenas, air quality considerations are particularly important for indoor arenas, where there isn’t as much air circulation.
- Performance: In addition to the health concerns, dusty arenas prevent horses and riders from performing to their full potential. It can inhibit their vision. More importantly, however, dusty footing means that the horses can’t get the traction that they need. Without a good grip, horses can become hesitant when riding them. They can slip and fall, which can easily cause injuries.
What Are Some Solutions to Dusty Arenas?
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to completely eradicate dust from an equine arena. With sand being one of the main components of footing, some dust is inevitable. This is particularly true for outdoor arenas in drier areas, where dust is prevalent in all outdoor areas. While you won’t be able to completely prevent dust, you can take steps to reduce it.
One of the most common solutions to a dusty arena is simply increasing the amount of water that you use. It is almost impossible to completely eradicate dust by just watering your riding arena, but you can definitely decrease the amount.
The best way to make sure that your entire footing gets a good rinse is with a sprinkler system as opposed to just using a hose. With a watering system designed for arenas, it is easier to ensure that you soak the whole area without overwatering any section.
There is such a thing as too much water, however. Too much moisture in the footing will cause sloppy slick footing, preventing the horses from getting the grip that they need.
In addition to simply putting more water on your footing, you can add salts that suppress dust. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are the two most common additive salts. Assuming that the air already has some moisture in it, both can absorb water from their surroundings.
Unfortunately, while both of these can work to combat dust, they have negative side effects. Equisearch says that both can dry out your horse’s hooves.
Some people choose to have almost entirely synthetic footing as a way to combat dust and to maintain control of composition. Most arena owners, however, choose to simply add some synthetic materials to their footing. There are plenty of dust control products on the market.
For instance, some arena owners use wood additives. Wood tends to break down fast creating even more dust and can be slippery when wet.
- Decreases dust levels
- Environmentally friendly
- Softens the impact on your horse
- Improves cushioning
- Decreases frequency of injuries
If you are looking to decrease the amount of dust in your arena and improve the overall quality of your arena, schedule a consultation with us. We can help you reduce the dustiness of your arena in no time!