Beware of Bad Footing

What riding conditions give you pause, and how do you protect your horse from footing-related injuries?
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Beware of Bad Footing
I'm pretty particular about a facility's footing when showing my young hunter Hannah. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

I’m sure anyone who’s not a hunter rider themselves will attest that most hunter classes are pretty boring. If you’re not watching a derby that asks horses to jump big scary fences, negotiate tight insides turns, and exhibit bold gallops, chances are you don’t see much excitement on course.

That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to show my hunter, Hannah, in a fun three-phase class at a schooling show last week. The class consisted of a “handy” round and an under saddle in the arena, followed by a course over natural, cross-country-type fences on grass. You even had to jump out of the ring at one point! Pretty exciting stuff for a hunter.

With Hannah’s under saddle prowess and bravery over fences of all kinds, I had grand visions of taking home the top prize in this event. But after I hopped on and walked her out onto the facility’s grass field after two straight days of rain, I promptly handed in my scratch sheet to the horse show office

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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