On Equal Footing
"It’s too hard." "It’s too deep." "It’s too slick." "Watch out for that low spot!" At horse shows, exhibitors often find fault with the footing in the competition arenas. They complain about the ground, blaming show management for how the surface inhibits horses’ performances or even endangers animals’ well-being.
Different disciplines require different footings for the safety and welfare of the competitors. Photo by Charles Mann
Footing is a complex subject, and a source of controversy. Racetracks have worked to engineer optimum surfaces to help horses perform, and now shows are following the lead of the racing industry. The American Horse Shows Association (AHSA) recognizes more than 2,600 shows annually. At its 1999 annual meeting, AHSA sponsored a Special Summit on Footing to address how shows can improve footing to meet exhibitors’ expectations. A panel of experts addressed issues of concern to all parties: show management, exhibitors, and the AHSA
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