The ideal horse arena footing provides a supportive, even, springy surface with excellent traction, good drainage, and minimal dust. Unfortunately, many arenas fail to meet these criteria, causing damage and eventual injury to your equine partner and possibly yourself. Textile horse arena footing like Athletex is a simple, cost-effective way to revive your existing footing without replacing your entire surface arena.
Athletex is a fiber footing for horse arenas that binds your existing footing to reduce dust, prevent over-compaction, and retain moisture. Athletex stabilizes almost all sand types and works particularly well with concrete and construction sands, which are substandard options for arena footing. There are many different footing products from which to choose. Investing in quality footing products may be more expensive initially, but it will increase the longevity of your arena and is more cost-effective in the long run.
Signs of Poor Footing You Should Know
You can recognize poor footing materials visually and by feel, but enlisting the help of a professional through a free sand analysis and report or free consultation is the best way to learn more about the differences between quality and inferior footing. Watch out for the following signs of poor footing:
Sand composed of softer minerals and composites breaks down quickly and turns to dust, creating dust clouds in your arena, negatively affecting the performance and health of the horse and rider. Dust clouds signify that your footing product is too soft, negatively affecting athletes and their equine partners.
Shifting, Uneven, Rolling, or Unstable Surfaces
A surface that often shifts underfoot and is too soft or loose compromises the safety and performance of the horse and rider. An unstable or uneven surface creates more work and less stability for your horse, which will adjust its stride and movement to cope with the extra energy required to ride on this surface.
Deep or Sinking Surface Areas
Surfaces that are too soft and deep also create more work and less stability for your horse. Walk around your arena and notice how hard or easy it is to do so. Do you sink farther than you expect? Is it a chore to slog through and push off? If it is difficult for you, it is also difficult for your horse. Footing should support each phase of a horse’s footfalls. When it is too deep, it will not provide the proper cushioning, rebound, or grip for your horse’s hooves and legs.
Hard Surface Areas
Footing that is too hard or shallow also causes problems for horses and riders, increasing the risk of injury and poor performance. Hard surface areas can occur when the footing is too compact or too shallow, leading to bone and joint problems. You can detect harder-than-average footing if horses frequently shorten their stride to adjust or if you can distinctly hear hoof beats more than average.
If water is pooling or collecting after watering or a rain storm, you may have issues with drainage. Poor drainage will negatively impact your footing and cause many of the problems discussed previously. Having a good arena base is vital.
Unique Features of Athletex Textile Arena Footing
Athletex textile arena footing is made from a combination of nylon and polyester fibers that are clean, safe, and recycled. Athletex is designed to bind your existing footing and increase its quality, longevity, and performance. Adding Athletex to your sand will decrease compaction and dust, reduce the abrasiveness of angulated sand, and add cushioning and support. Athletex can be mixed with all types of sand, including:
- Concrete sand
- Construction sand
- Coarse sand
- Fine sand
- And more!
Athletex is unique because it can bind with a broad spectrum of sands, from coarse to fine. It increases the performance of your arena and cuts water costs by retaining moisture for longer and decreasing dust.
Footing Solutions: How to Maintain an Arena with Athletex Footing
If you are interested in installing Athletex in your arena, first find out if Athletex is suitable for your sand by requesting a free sand analysis report. Once Athletex is mixed into your existing sand, you will need water and grooming equipment, such as a drag with tines, to keep the product well-mixed and your footing even.
How Does Athletex Footing Product Improve Concrete Sand?
When it comes to arena footing, the biggest mistake people make is getting the wrong sand for their arena from the local quarry. There are more than 10,000 different sands available in the US, so finding the right sand for your arena can present a challenge. Without the guidance of footing experts like Premier Equestrian, many people end up with concrete sand in their arena because it’s widely available and affordable. Unfortunately, it’s not the best choice for a riding arena. But if you find yourself stuck with concrete sand, we have a solution to improve your arena footing without having to scrap your sand and start from scratch.
WHAT IS CONCRETE SAND?
Concrete sand and other construction sands like mason sand and screenings are the most common sands found throughout the world. Concrete sand is used to make concrete, and thousands of tons are needed daily for construction projects. Considering, you would be hard pressed to find a local gravel pit that does not have concrete sand readily available.
WHY IS CONCRETE SAND USED IN HORSE ARENAS?
Because concrete sand is easy to find and is inexpensive, most quarries will suggest concrete sand for use in a riding arena without realizing it is not a particularly desirable choice. A superior alternative, for example, would be silica sand, but it is only available at a few gravel pits around the country, and it can be expensive to transport.
WHY IS CONCRETE SAND BAD FOR HORSE ARENAS?
The mineral content of construction sands including concrete sand will vary, and there are not extremely hard minerals in these types of sands. The soft minerals break down easily and turn into dust. If you have concrete sand in your horse arena, you’re likely dealing with dust clouds, which is not conducive to good riding or good health. Soft minerals can be present in concrete sand —the soft sand particle breaks down easily to dust which is not ideal, and concrete sand tends to be too coarse, restricting it from binding and making a stable surface. This makes concrete sand a poor choice for horse arenas. Additionally, concrete sand can vary from one gravel pit to another, which is why we offer a free arena sand analysis to better understand the type of sand you’re working with.
WHAT IS THE FOOTING SOLUTION FOR CONCRETE SAND?
So, what is the solution for an arena with concrete sand? Say hello to ATHLETEX! Our Athletex® Footing Product offers amazing results when combined with new or existing concrete and construction sands. Athletex can improve nearly every sand—it will help bind up to 95% of the sands out there, which is why we consider it the perfect solution for the not-so-perfect sand.
Because of its high-fiber content, Athletex will bind large particle sands. This includes construction sands like concrete sand, mason sand, and screenings. In a riding arena, if the particle size of your sand is coarse, it separates easily when a horse hoof steps on it. If there is not a wide variety of particle sizes nesting together, the surface tends to shift, feeling unstable. Over time this will break down and create dust and unsteadiness underfoot. Athletex creates a rooting system netting these coarse particles together in your arena, stabilizing the surface which will keep your horses riding on top of the surface rather than sinking down into it.
Additionally, because construction sands are soft minerals, the textiles pieces in Athletex help reduce friction on the particles so they don’t break down as quickly, which means less dust and less degradation in your riding arena. Think of it like dumping spaghetti into a pot of sauce—the stringy noodles bind up with the sauce and help everything stick together.
The Perfect Footing Solutions to the Not-So-Perfect Arena Sand
If your arena shows signs of poor footing, don’t wait. Find out if Athletex is the right solution for your footing. Contact Premier Equestrian today to get started.
Athletex is an affordable solution for improving concrete sand—it will increase the stability of your riding surface and provide you with great arena footing for years to come at an economical price!