A five-day rain stretch has finally come to a close and you decide it’s the perfect time to take your horse outside to train and get some fresh air. Although the ground is a little soggy and wet you’re sure he’ll be okay. After you start to lunge him you notice that he’s already sliding all over the place on the slippery footing. So you decide that although you love the fresh air, it might be better to take him inside the riding arena. But once you start riding inside, you realize he still doesn’t seem to be griping the arena footing right. What is going on?
In the collection of the published scientific papers titled Equine Surfaces White Paper, eight different researchers came together to study how the different surfaces that horses train or work or ride on, can greatly affect the horse’s ability or performance. Although I have been riding horses my entire life, I never realized how surfaces truly could affect riding. When riding, the hoof to surface impact has roughly four phases: primary impact, secondary impact, midstance, and rollover. Just to keep things short and sweet we can focus on the secondary impact. This is when the hoof has completely met the surface, and the body of the horse tends to push the hoof forward. The surface that the horse is training or working on can greatly affect just how much hoof slide the horse has. A small amount of hoof slide is the correct amount, not too much but not too little. However, if the area where the horse is has a very slippery surface, and the hooves are sliding too much, this can lead to injury in the muscles and bones in the legs of the horse from large frictional forces.
During these rainy weeks we have been having, horses still need to be trained and most of the time, training continues in an indoor riding arena. It can get very dusty and sometimes the materials that are used can create this slippery situation we just discussed. If you are riding in an arena, whether indoor or outdoor, where the footing isn’t ideal, maybe it’s time to look into new materials to put down in this area. If it comes time to change these conditions, look no further than TruStride™ by IGK Equestrian. TruStride™ has the perfect combination of pure silica sand, shoe sole rubber granules, and a special wax that makes the perfect indoor arena material. The combined materials create a uniform surface that is flexible, resilient, and dust free! The rubber granules in the special mixture allow the horse to rebound off of the surface with the correct amount of hoof slide. When you have TruStride™ in your arena, you can focus more on the training of your horse, and not on worrying about a slippery arena footing and the damage it could cause.
How do you ensure your horse is training safely?