Trotting on Clouds with OTTO Sport Footing

Through the many years of visiting horse facilities, the numerous types of inside and outside arena footings have intrigued me. Depending on the discipline involved, the depth and texture can greatly influence your horse's performance. The footing can influence how the horses footfall and break over is achieved. Safety for the horse's body and the rider is impacted by the quality of footing.

80'X164' Climate Controlled Arena

The first time I walked across the 80'X184' inside arena at Keepsake Arabian Equestrian Facility, I envisioned walking on cocoa clouds. What was this soft pillow under my boots? When I asked the in-house veterinarian thought of the inside arena footing, she said "The safety of the horse and rider are insured with that footing. You don't have issues with tendons or hooves as you do with a lessor quality footing." My curiosity had been sparked.

My research shows that German imported OTTO Sport footing is one of the premiere footings available on the market. OTTO Arena Tex is a modern footing type, containing geotextiles and synthetic fibres as amendments in order to ensure the appropriate surface consistency. Moreover, the geotextiles help maintain correct moisture levels of the footing, so they save up to 10 litres of water per square meter. Plus, one of the major advantages of OTTO-Arena Tex is its great durability.

One of the unique aspects to OTTO Sport footing is they recommend building riding arenas using the OTTO Sport System Mat. Yes, there is a MAT under the footing.

Matting under footing

The Otto Sport System’s three main features result in a proven formula that works.

  • Sub-base drainage layer

  • Upper base (Otto mats)

  • Sport blended footing mixture

Preliminary work

At first, topsoil should be removed and compacted to get a uniform density. For the construction of outdoor arenas, a light slope of about 1.5% should be considered. For indoor arenas, a slope is not necessary.

Sub-base layer: To avoid huge accumulations of water, the base layer has to be water-permeable. This is especially important during the cold and damp season. We specify using local aggregates/stones which are installed with laser-controlled machines.

Upper base: The ideal solution for the separating layer is to use OTTO Perforated Mats, which are set on a washed stone layer, with a gap of approx. 1.18 inch between mats, and lightly rolled. The ”locking-rings” on the underside of the mat ensure optimal anchorage in the sub-base layer.

Footing: Finally, a specially mixed footing that meets the requirements of the desired equestrian discipline is installed with laser-controlled machines

A typical OTTO Sport arena can retain as much as 4,800 liters of water after a heavy rain, yet it allows riders to resume work immediately due to superior drainage.

To minimize respiratory damage due to dusty footings, the OTTO Perforated Mat has a water retention system. In the water reservoirs, up to four liters of water are conserved. Moisture is homogeneously transferred to the footing to get the perfect consistency, but the adjacent drainage holes still ensure immediate drainage of excess rainwater:

The OTTO Perforated Mat provides significant stability and concussion relief of the footing. The force of the striking hoof is absorbed by the mat to a high extent, and plays an important role in maintaining soundness

The mat system protects:

  • Joints from debilitating

  • Long-term damage due to concussion

  • Tendon damage due to instability and slippage from traditionally hard upper base surfaces.

According to a scientific study of the German Association for Technical Inspection (TÜV), the Otto system provides concussion absorption up to 40 percent.

Depending on the discipline of the horse and rider, OTTO footings provide customized solutions for every equestrian discipline. We individually adapt the footing mixture to the customer's needs and will always find the appropriate blend for every equestrian arena or paddock in order to enable our customers to train and compete on a high-performance, durable footing. Therefore, we offer different types of footing with and without footing amendments.

Many riders don't like to ride outside because the footing can chip and break their horses' hoof walls. At Keepsake Equestrian Facility, they have a 100'X300' outside arena with OTTO Sport outdoor footing, that gives the horses and riders the ability to enjoy the sunshine and still know the quality underneath is beyond compare.

One of the most interesting things about OTTO Sport outdoor footing is when they refer to the "sand" they incorporate into the outdoor OTTO Sport footing, it is not a normal sand. As a company with references all over the world OTTO Sport prefers working with top-of-the-line sand that deserves to be designated as "sand for equestrian sports". For our special footing mixtures we only use types of sands that have been tested in our company-owned laboratory and have been approved to fulfil highest quality standards for use as “equestrian sports sand”.

Everyone will agree there is something special about being the first to place hoof prints in a freshly drug arena. I will guarantee that riding on OTTO Sport footing gives you a feeling of floating on clouds, with your Pegasus.

If you would like to discuss Keepsake Equestrian Facility and their inside arena footing, call Elaine Shetler Libent, 724-681-0412. Keepsake Equestrian Facility is currently offered for sale.

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