There is often debate between equestrians over whether hard or soft riding surfaces (of both) make leg injuries more likely. For example, some riders believe in avoiding hard surfaces altogether, whilst others argue that doing some light work on a hard surface may actually do some good. Conversely, some would argue that always working on a soft, level arena surface may prevent the horse’s legs from coping so well when working on grass or out on a hack.
Too soft and too hard – it’s like the three bears trying to find the right surface. An interesting article (link below, login may be required), highlights the below useful tips to think about in your training.
- Work your horse on a variety of different types of footing. If you always work on the same footing, your horse is ill-equipped to cope with any other type of footing.
- Try to do some training on the same type of footing that you will compete on. Abrupt changes in footing are one of the leading causes of injuries.
- Avoid inconsistent footing. Surfaces that have soft and hard spots, deep and shallow spots, or dry and slick spots can be dangerous.
Of course, when deciding which riding surfaces to work on and to what intensity, we should also take into account the horse’s age, conformation, fitness and the weather conditions. For example, a normally soft and forgiving arena surface may become rutted and frozen in ver cold weather. Tarmac and bridleways can also become very slippery when wet or icy, so this is also worth bearing in mind.
Kickstart Post-Exercise Recovery with Cryochaps Ice Boots for Horses
It is not always possible to prevent those little strains during training. However, by using Cryochaps ice boots for horses to cool and compress the leg, you could help target any heat and inflammation caused by exercise. Regardless of which surface(s) you work your horse on, be sure to kickstart their post-exercise recovery with our ice wraps.