Dust to Dust

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The picture with this blog seems to say ?Happy Holidays? in a very meaningful way to horsemen. I arrived at the barn a couple days ago to see the wreaths on the aisle doors festooned with hay, since we got a delivery the day before and the door to the loft was above the doors to the aisle, of course. This may have to become my holiday card photo next year.

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We've been talking about how pleased we are with the footing in the indoor arena where we have been boarding since last spring. We're now pretty much ensconced in the indoor arena for the next three months. We've been noticing that there is almost no dust, just occasional little puffs during footfalls. I'm not exactly sure about the components of the footing ? tHere's certainly some rubber, but the rest looks like typical sand and some smaller particles. We were expecting more dust, but we haven't gotten it.

Most of us using the indoor have come from arenas that were using that high-tech (and high-cost!) footing that just looks like dirt with some dryer lint stirred in but is really a wax mixture. One of the important things We've all been told to maintain that expensive wax footing is to always pick up poops before they can dry out and get mashed into the footing, because apparently organic matter contributes hugely to the dust problem in an arena. Therefore we were all well trained to pick poops ? the drill is that anyone on foot (including instructors!) must scoot out there and pick up fresh poops, and if no one is on the ground, then you pick up the poops the minute you?ve cooled out your horse. No exceptions. I guess we all just carried on the habit in this arena, even though it's not the waxed stuff, at least because without manure bits all over the place, the arena is indeed more pleasant. We're not sure if our diligence is helping to prevent dust, but we're happy to be without the manure spread around.

The ring isn?t all that large, maybe 70 x 150?, and six or seven horses use it each day. it's dragged every two days. We haven't watered it even once this winter, and no dust-down additives have been applied. The footing is very even, and there aren?t any slick or deep spots. Whatever the reason that the dust is staying down, we're very pleased!