Your Horse and the Bad Footing Issue
Taking your horse out can be an exciting or a boring time, depending on what you do with him or her.
When you do ride out – whether it’s on a hunt or at a show for jumping or racing, you always want to impress and to have fun while you’re doing it. There’s no point, in many ways, of having such a strong and noble animal if you’re not going to push him to some limits; get him to throw himself around physically. It’s more fun for you and it’s definitely more fun for the horse. The proof is in the way that horses play with one another when they’re away from humans.
The trouble with that is that you risk causing some damage to your horse. Even with all the precautions necessary, accidents can happen and with jumping in particular, you run the risk of pulling tendons on your horse.
In the winter time: a lack of sure footing when the horse lands can cause damage that’s hard to properly repair. And that’s even if the horse is wearing screwed-in non-slip studs: sometimes the physical pressure of the weight and momentum of your horse coming in contact with a slippery muddy winter surface is too much.
What you need to do here is to have a look at some of the footing issues problems and find ways around them.
Before you take your horse around an arena for a jump competition, you need to look out for some of the tell-tale signs that might mean you’ll have to forego the event because of the high slippage risk involved or else just approach it all with a good degree of caution.
Watch out particularly for puddling. Puddles lying around indicate that the ground is wet right through and the going will therefore be very loose with little by way of traction between your horses’ hoof and the ground.
Horses are fragile enough creatures for all their strength and it’s also worth bearing in mind that horses risk injuring leg bones from too much riding on hard surfaces, while too much riding on soft ground will run the risk of soft-tissue damage.
Like many things, it also comes down to personality. Each horse has its own way of looking at the world and of dealing with the multitude of little challenges that it produces. By knowing the way in which your horse reacts to certain types of footing, you’ll have an idea of whether or not the going in any particular place will suit your horse.
Finally, the way in which your horse deals with ambient conditions is another important factor. Flies and dogs, for example, can prove very testing for some horses. The presence of a yapping dog can make some horses stiffen up with nervousness and therefore increase the risk of soft tissue damage. Places with a good fly prevention policy in place ought to be chosen over others; particularly if they have fly predator programs with fly traps or even a homemade fly trap.