I have been getting a lot of questions about the use of Magnesium Chloride flakes for dust control in horse arenas so I decided to conduct some research on this topic. Magnesium Chloride Flakes are white flakes that consist of magnesium chloride, containing over 51 percent water of hydration. Seeing that these flakes can absorb moisture that is in the air and hold it inside of them, they have been starting to be used as an additive to horse arena footing. This product is very popular in southern areas where it is often humid or where arenas have to be watered excessively to keep dust down.
The main problem (in my opinion) is that these flakes can severely dehydrate the natural oils in horse hooves, as any salts can. If you ride a horse on an arena with these Magnesium Chloride Flakes added, the flakes could pull the necessary moisture out of the horse’s hooves. With this type of footing, every rider has to make sure that they wash and dry horse’s legs and feet after each ride in the arena, and apply oils to the hooves of the horse. The rider should also wash and moisturize their riding boots too!
A second major issue with this type of additive is that there is a very fine line on how to apply and maintain the flakes. When applying Magnesium Chloride Flakes, it is very easy to add too much of the product. When this happens, the footing will become fully saturated, creating a muddy, slippery, wet footing. This texture of footing is very dangerous to ride on, causing extreme strain on the tendons of the horse’s legs. In this situation, you’re supposed to add water to the footing to wash away some of the Magnesium Chloride Flakes, and then add more once it’s dry to the right consistency.
Magnesium Chloride Flakes is supposedly great for outdoor arena use, except for the issue of rain. When it rains on the outdoor arena footing, the Magnesium Chloride Flakes will actually be washed right off. With the product frequently being washed away, more would have to be purchased to apply once again to the arena. Where will the Magnesium Chloride Flakes go when they wash off of your arena? Directly into your vegetation around the arena. This creates an entirely new issue of the effects on vegetation. If it is applied as recommended, it will not harm vegetation; however if it has been applied to an outdoor arena multiple times and has been rained out multiple times, it has 17 to 56 percent more chloride ions than regular table salt, therefore could cause drying out and killing your vegetation.
It is also suggested to not water the arena but to groom it on a normal basis. The maintenance care says that you may “sprits” an indoor arena with water once and awhile. However, after every grooming of either your indoor or outdoor arena your equipment needs to be thoroughly washed because of the corroding that it could cause to your equipment. This will cost you both time and labor.
Although buying Magnesium Chloride Flakes may seem like a great idea in the short run, it could cost you in the long run. You could be forced to buy and apply it more than once.
If you are interested in a long term solution to a dusty arena be sure to check out our different options for dust free footing. Our footing is installed in over 350 both indoor and outdoor arenas all over the country. All of these arenas spend very little time on maintenance of the arenas and never have to water it, ever! Give us a call today to find out more about introducing your arenas to the best dust free footing on the market!
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