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Steffen Peters on the Importance of Footing

By May 16, 2024May 22nd, 2024No Comments

As dressage enthusiasts, we understand the intricate dance between horse and rider that defines this elegant discipline. Yet, amidst our focus on precision, harmony, and artistry, we may overlook a fundamental element crucial to our equine partner’s well-being and performance: the footing beneath their hooves.

bay horse and rider cantering

We recently visited Olympian Steffen Peters at his farm, Arroyo Del Mar in San Diego, CA. To film a Q & A session, discussing the importance of training dressage horses on a proper footing surface.

This five-part video series will include Q & A with Steffen and his Olympic Silver Medal mount Mopsie, who is owned by Four Winds Farm and Akiko Yamisaki.

“I’m always concerned about soft tissue injuries, especially tendons, ligaments, but also joints. I think the correct footing can help a horse tremendously, not only does it help the health of the horse, but also it makes the horse more confident.”

Steffen Peters

Steffen Peters as well as many of today’s top professional dressage trainers, believe that training a dressage horse on proper footing is not just a matter of convenience; it is a cornerstone of their development and success. Whether in the serene tranquility of a training arena or the electric atmosphere of a competition ring, the quality of the footing profoundly influences every movement and transition. Here’s why it’s so essential:

  1. Biomechanics and Soundness
    The ideal footing provides the necessary support and resilience for the intricate movements of dressage. It minimizes strain on joints, tendons, and ligaments, promoting soundness and reducing the risk of injuries. A well-maintained and suitable surface allows the horse to move with grace and fluidity, enabling them to express their full potential.
  2. Balance and Engagement
    Proper footing encourages the horse to engage their hindquarters, find balance, and execute movements with precision. It offers the necessary traction without excessive resistance, allowing for seamless transitions and effortless collection. This balanced interaction with the footing fosters the development of strength, suppleness, and self-carriage essential for advanced dressage work.
  3. Confidence and Focus
    A consistent and reliable surface instills confidence in the horse, allowing them to focus on their performance without distraction or apprehension. When the footing is predictable and supportive, the horse can concentrate on executing movements with confidence, leading to improved expression and submission.
  4. Longevity and Sustainability
    By training on appropriate footing, we contribute to the long-term well-being and sustainability of our equine partners. Thoughtfully designed and maintained surfaces reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries and protect the horse’s physical health, allowing them to enjoy a longer, more fulfilling career.
dressage horse piaffe on footing

In conclusion, the footing beneath a dressage horse is not merely ground; it is the canvas upon which their artistry unfolds. As riders and caretakers, it is our responsibility to ensure that this canvas is carefully crafted to support and inspire our equine partners. By recognizing the importance of proper footing and prioritizing its quality, we honor the timeless partnership between horse and rider, fostering an environment where excellence can flourish.

Premier Equestrian has provided Steffen Peters and Arroyo Del Mar with their hi-performance footing, earning their trust and loyalty for the last decade.

Find out more about Premier Footing Products. 

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