Extend Life of Arena

Everyone wants to extend the life of their arena. There are many ways to extend life of arena, to get the most out of it, for as long as you can. The want to spend money up front, and not have to spend money again on the arena for years to come, although it sounds nice, is not realistic.

Grooming your footing is one way to extend life of arena: Routinely grooming your footing can significantly extend the life of your arena. Almost all horse show organizations now have rules to groom between so many riders. Grooming every 4-7 riders, breaks up the footing and can considerably reduce the injuries to a horse and rider in an arena. If there are clumps, or deep and shallow spots in the arena, it can cause injury to the horse for the inconsistency in the footing. Dragging prevents ruts against the wall and the surface compacting in the corner. Continuing to regulate your grooming is a great way to keep your footing looking great, and performing great!

Picking up organic material is another way to extend life of arena: I have been to barns where horses are constantly turned out both in indoor arenas and outdoor arenas. Although this space is nice to let a horse run around, horses shouldn’t be kept in this space for long periods of time by themselves. Manure and urine lead to a decline in your footing. Once manure gets into your footing and breaks down, this creates organic material in your footing, which then creates airborne dust. Manure should be picked up before it can be worked into the footing, and horses should not be left in an arena for long periods of time. In addition to manure in the footing, horses should never be fed hay in the arenas. Hay also can easily get broken down in the footing, which again creates dust.

Premium footing is an investment for all equestrian facilities. TruStride™LiteStride™5K Ranch™, and Equi-Blend™ are the only footings on the market, which use recycled components and require no more than regular maintenance. Regular maintenance includes arena grooming and most importantly following the rule of picking up after your horses and not turning them in your arena. Keeping these simple rules in mind when concerning your arena can significantly extend life of arena footing and the base.

Transitioning our Topcover

Since the start of our mattress system journey almost 20 years ago, there have been many changes in the industry. Let’s give you a bit of background on our company! IGK Equestrian, LLC is a family owned business, which has a parent company: North Brook Farms, Inc.

Here is our story:

More than 20 years ago, the Kyle family ran a dairy farm milking 350 head on their 800-acre farm in central New York. Their veterinarian advised them to make their cows more comfortable, since well-rested cows produce more milk. So the Kyles decided to make the cows’ bedding softer and more enticing by incorporating recycled rubber. The Kyles and their three sons scouted out local tire recapping shops for discarded tire buffings, packed them into stalls, and covered them with an industrial fabric. The cows readily laid down in their stalls, milk production soared and other farmers took notice.

Hunter Harrison 037When they saw how fast the cow mattresses took off, they decided to also produce horse stall mattress systems. They started with the rubber filled mattresses, then transitioned to the foam mattresses, which is currently used. Also over the past years, the Kyle’s and the rest of the employees at IGK Equestrian has studied and tested many different topcovers.

We have gotten feedback from many potential customers over the past few years that people would like
a more economical SmartStall™ mattress system. Here at IGK Equestrian, we take all feedback very seriously. Due to the feedback we have received, we currently are in a transition period with our topcover. We are trying to find a topcover that would lower the cost of the mattress system, but would still perform under a horse the way we want it to.

The new topcover is currently in the testing phase in the new product development cycle. Although we are very excited to be rolling out a new product in the future, we do not want to rush this process in anyway. The durability and the lifespan of the product under a horse is our top priority and we want to be sure that this topcover performs in the correct way. At this time, we are hoping to have the product available for purchase in late Spring 2017- Summer 2017.

From all of us here at IGK Equestrian, we thank you for your patience as we find a topcover that will be the right fit for our customers. When the product is available for purchase we will be adding it to our website, as well as writing blogs about it and advertising it. Be sure to keep checking back in a few months to see when we will be offering the new economical mattress system!

 

 

Catching Up With Customers

Equine Affaire is always our favorite show to go to. It gives us the chance to talk to lots of the customers and equestrian community. We love hearing how new and current products and are becoming of use. Another important thing we love to hear is img_3331future expectations of how customers want footing to perform for their horses.  As I mentioned last year, we pulled together a new way for people to view our footings at shows. We created a side view of how we recommend the base to be constructed, as well as a good amount of footing for people to touch and feel. It gives them the chance to touch all of the footings and feel the differences between each of them. We sometimes quiz them after, by asking them what type of riding they do and what footing they think would be best for them!

We get to hear from students who have our footing at their college, riders that board at a barn with our footing, and directly from the customers that purchased the footing. Hearing testimonials from the broad range of people that I
interact with is great. Most times we contact with customers solely over phone or email and it is great to finally meet in person. We also have some customers who stop every year to tell us how their footing is doing, how their barn is doing and any projects they have in the future. It is so nice to see these customers year after year.

If you didn’t stop by this year at Equine Affaire, we hope to see you next year!

Let IGK Equestrian know if you plan on attending the Equine Affaire next year !?!

 

 

Visit Us at Equine Affaire!

Once again we visited everyone at the Equine Affaire in Springfield, ea-logo-color-760x550MA from November 10th-13th. Our booth was located in the Better Living Center, booth #1006. 

Every year we have a blast going to Equine Affaire. Past customers always stop by and catch up on how their dust-free footing and barns are doing, along with potential projects for the future. Meeting horse lovers from all over the country and learning about how their barn’s are set up, what disciplines they train in, and what the arenas where they are located are like, is always fun. And of course doing some shopping while we’re there, because you can never have enough horse stuff! We love hearing feedback from our customers and meeting potential customers too. This year we created a whole new booth for our company. Make sure you stop by and visit IGK Equestrian this year at the Equine Affaire!

Daily Hoof Care

“No hoof, no horse!”

We seem to hear that phrase a lot in the horse world. Taking care of your horse’s hooves are essential for your horse’s livelihood. Daily hoof care benefits more than your horse’s hooves; it can give you early clues to potential problems and so that you can address the issues.

  1. Daily clean out: Cleaning out your horse’s hooves daily not only keeps them as clean as possible, but can set a precedent for what is “normal” in your horse’s hooves. Be sure to note the temperature of the hooves and check the frog over. If you establish what is normal for your horse, you will also notice if there is a time where your horse’s hoof feels too warm.daily hoof care
  2. Look for common hoof problems: look for thrush, punctures, cracks and abscesses. Thrush is a dark, foul smelling bacterial condition that is usually caused by standing in moist environments. Pick up some thrush remedies at your local tack shop. (My personal favorite is “No Thrush” which is a dry powder. I have had great luck with it!) If you notice a puncture, large crack, or abscess, be sure to contact your vet or farrier for advice on what the next game plan to solve the problem would be.
  3. Schedule regular farrier visits: if your horse is like mine, I have to have the farrier come out every 6 weeks on the dot. Some of my friend’s horses are around the 8-week mark, but there is no standard interval for trimming or shoeing. It really just depends on how your horse’s hooves grow. Your farrier can always suggest if he should come earlier or later than he is.

If you follow these easy tips and take care of your horse’s hooves daily, you will have a horse with hooves that are healthy and strong! Like the old saying goes, “no hoof, no horse!”

Empire Farms Days, Seneca Falls NY

Come and see us at the Empire Farm Days, August 9-11th in Seneca Falls, NY! IMG_0276The Empire Farm Days is the largest outdoor agricultural trade show in the Northeastern United States. It showcases all of the latest farm equipment, dairy industry innovations, live animal seminars and more than 600 exhibits! We will be there showing off our famouse IGK Equestrian dust-free arena footings and SmartStall™ along with our father company: North Brook Farms. North Brook Farms sells Stall systems for Dairy Farms with the option of a few different topcovers to choose from. So come and find us on Make-A-Buck Lane, booth 317 and stop by and say hi! We’d love to meet you!

Top 10 Blog Posts

Top 10 Arena Footing and Stall BeddingWe have had our blog up and running again for a solid year. It has been a year full of a large variety in challenges associated with arena footing, arena installations, and stall bedding along with barn tips, and stories of happy customers. Let’s take a look at the 10 most popular posts to date on our blog, in reverse order.

#10: Are Your Stalls Ready for Winter? A few steps that you can take to ensure your horse remains dry and comfortable all winter long.

#9: East-West Arena Construction. Our largest dealer located in Little Falls, MA is an expert in building arenas and installing our footing.

#8: Footing for an Outdoor Arena. Finding the correct footing for an outdoor arena can be tough, we have a few things to look for when choosing footing for your outdoor arena.

#7: Options for Horse Stall Bedding. The options for stall bedding are endless. Here you can see four of the most popular options.

#6: Picking up Manure in Horse Arenas. There’s a reason we tell our customers to remove manure from your footing!

#5: Biggest Mistakes when Installing an Outdoor Arena. We’ve seen some disasters over the years from installing arenas correctly. Here’s the top problems we see.

#4: Horse Stalls Rubber Mat vs. Foam Mattress? See the benefits and drawbacks of solid rubber mats vs. our foam mattresses.

#3: Retaining Boards in Arenas. Take a look at the importance of retaining boards in your outdoor arena.

#2: Barn Hacks for your Barn. Running a barn is hard work, here are a few barn hacks to make your life at the barn easier.

#1: Flaking out on Magnesium Chloride Flakes. Magnesium Chloride flakes are a popular option to fight dust, here are a few downfalls of using them.

SmartStall Vs. Rubber Filled Mattress

You all know by now that I like to write my blogs based on questions I get when talking to customers. Lately I’ve been asked a lot what the difference is between a rubber filled mattress and our SmartStall™ Mattress. In order to explain the difference, first I’ll tell you a bit about the history of our company.

IGK Equestrian, LLC is the child company of North Brook Farms, INC. Twenty years ago, Peter and Carolyn Kyle (owners of North Brook Farms, INC and IGK Equestrian LLC) were dairy farmers milking 350 head on their 800-acre farm in central New York. Their veterinarian advised them to make their cows more comfortable, since well-rested cows produce more milk. So the Kyles decided to make the cows’ bedding softer and more enticing by incorporating recycled rubber.

They started the business by making these rubber filled mattresses. Over time we realized there were a few things about the rubber mattresses that we didn’t love. The first thing, that was very apparent was that the rubber filled cells, which were about 4ft x 5ft, were very heavy; weighing about 130 pounds! Both the manufacture process of these mattresses and the installation process were very labor intensive. During the installation process, the mattresses had to be pulled off of a pallet, carried to where they were getting laid down and then maneuvered so that they were laying correctly. Everyone’s arms were aching by the time the installation was completed! The second major downfall of these mattresses that we noticed is over time the rubber inside the cells compact. After being under an animal for a long duration, the rubber will nestle down in the cells of the mattress, where the various sizes and pieces of rubber fit together like a puzzle, and become hard. Having this mattress compact over time and become hard defeats the purpose of a comfort mattress for your animal. When we realized that the rubber filled mattresses did this, we decided to switch our systems to a foamSmartStall™ Foam Horse Mattress System mattress.

We have been using foam in our SmartStall™ for over 10 years now. Our foam has been tested over time and has shown less than 1% compaction over a ten-year period. The foam is a lot less heavy than a traditional rubber filled mattress and has proven to provide comfort time and time again both in the dairy and horse industry! Your horse will be much more comfortable in their stall for years to come with a SmartStall™System than a rubber filled mattress system!

 

 

 

 

Stall Rest

At some point when owning a horse you may go through a time period where your horse needs to be put on stall rest. Your horse could be put on stall rest after an injury, surgery, or show fatigue. If he is used to getting worked daily or turned out daily, it may be a big change for him to be cooped up in his stall all day. I pulled together a few tips to help you both stay sane during stall rest.

  • Stall Rest RecoveryLocation, location, location. If your horse is in his stall all day, keep him in a stall in a high traffic area and not in the corner of the barn. If he’s in a high traffic area he can watch what’s going on around him. Ask everyone in the barn just to stop and say hi to him so that he isn’t lonely. Along with being in a good location, give him a stall where he can see other horses, or one where he may have a window to see outside. Once again this gives him something to do while he’s in his stall.
  • Keep him on a schedule. Take him out a few times a day to groom him. Many horses find this relaxing. Check with your vet, and see if he can go on short walks or can be hand grazed. Bringing him outside a few times a day for short periods of time instead of being outside for one long period of time. Breaking up his day in the stall will help him tremendously.
  • Try out some stall toys to entertain your horse. There are lots of toys at tack shops that you can take advantage of. A slow feeder/treat dispenser can occupy a horse for horse. Some of you may even add large sized stuffed animals attached to their stall door. No matter what toys you decide on, be sure that there is no way that the horse can injure itself by playing with it. If you tie up a toy or stuffed animal, double-check that there are no loops where a horse could potential get their hoof caught in.
  • Keep his mind stimulated. This would be a great time to teach him a few tricks. Many trainers like to use a clicker to train their horses. Work with him for five minutes, several times a day to teach him some simple tricks.

Stall rest doesn’t have to be a nightmare for both of you. Always check with your vet on what your horse can and cannot do. The most important thing is that your horse is comfortable in his stall while on stall rest. Having a mattress system with memory form and a waterproof topcover would be the perfect way for your horse to spend lots of time in the stall. The SmartStall™ system will make him comfortable while he recuperates in his stall!

Broodmare Stall Tips

If you intend on breeding any of your horses or maybe have some borders that have bred horses, it really is important that you have a broodmare stall available at your barn. I’ve had some customers just open a partition between two stalls to create one big stall, or they put a big stall in the corner of the barn. However you build your broodmare stall, I have a few tips for creating the perfect atmosphere for your horse to bring her foal into the world.

A broodmare stall needs to be larger than a normal stall. Your mare needs to be able to roll around when she’s in labor, and the stall can’t be too small where she could accidentally step on her foal after its born. A lot of farms do at least a 12×18 stall, or if you are going to use two stalls with a partition you could go up to 12×24. Make sure that there is good ventilation in the stall area that you choose, but be sure that there is no direct drafts that may make the newborn cold.

The stall needs to be 110 percent disinfected. Be sure to strip any old bedding of the stall out and remove any buckets or feeders. Wash the walls of the stall, stall door, stall floor, basically any surface in the stall with a pressure washer or garden hose, and scrub with a stiff brush and detergent. You then can disinfect all stall surfaces with 2 ½ tablespoons of Lysol concentrate per gallon of water. Apply the solution with a spray bottle, sponge, or mop. Allow this to air dry. Pay close attention to any splintered pieces of wood or any imperfections that could harm the new foal. Fix or remove any problem areas.

The bedding in the stall should be safe for both the mare and the foal. Thick bedding in the stall is necessary, and needs to be kept clean. Straw is the best option for broodmare bedding. Shavings or sawdust can harbor bacteria, which could be a danger to your new foal.

Last but not least, double-check that you have enough lighting. There should be adequate lighting to be able to see everything that’s going on in the stall, but not so much lighting that your mare is stressed out from it. At night you should dim the lights or turn some of them off so that she has the nighttime feeling, but set the libroodmare stallghts so that you can still see the progress in the stall.

Many of our customers purchase out SmartStall™ system for broodmare stalls. It is very easy to sanitize and clean, and provides a comforting area for her to give birth in. They’ve even used it to go up the walls of the stall! Our stalls are all custom made for your exact stall size, so if you decide to create stalls that are partitioned, where the partition can be moved or if you do one large broodmare stall, we can make the stall for you!

Let IGK Equestrian know how you have your broodmare stall set up?