Anyone who doesn't realize the Internet is full of hidden gems has his or her head in the sand.
There's no argument that there's a lot of nonsense (and even downright stupid) "information" available - and usually you do get what you pay for! - but many people go to the same sites repeatedly, without expanding their searches. I understand that, but sometimes a word of advice can open many doors for you.
That's what happened to me when Margaret Freeman, Horse Journal's Associate Editor, mentioned that there was some good material on the Dressage4Kids website. Margaret is part of the Dressage4Kids organization, an incredibly wonderful resource started by Lendon Gray, a renowned rider and trainer and USDF Hall of Fame honoree. Dressage4Kids might be there to inspire children to become interested in dressage, but it has a lot for adults, too.
So, I went to the site, www.dressage4kids.org, and I was incredibly impressed not only by the amount of solid, good, reliable, dependable information on the site, but also by the incredible experts that offer advice and opinion (one that has real experience behind it).
I'll probably share more of the pearls stashed away there in upcoming blogs, but this one by Dr. Hilary Clayton really hit home for me.
Our indoor arena has sand, the ordinary footing that is probably the most basic of all footings. Now there are tons of fancy footings out there - those with coated sand, rubber, felt pieces and so on - and we investigated a number of them before settling on sand to start. Putting in the arena base, sand and labor cost around $4,000, compared to $12,000 by the time we would have finished the commercial footing.
Imagine my surprise when I listened to Dr. Clayton, a veterinarian I hold in the highest regard for her work and research that has benefited sport horses greatly, talk about footings and the need for horses to work over a variety of surfaces.