‘Extensive’ Study on Arena Surfaces Published

The white paper brings together the latest data and published scientific papers on arena and turf surfaces, and the effects these have on horses in training and in competition.
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The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has published the "world’s most extensive study" into the effect of arena surfaces on the orthopedic health of sport horses in the seven disciplines and in racing, the organization announced April 17.

The Equine Surfaces White Paper, which is available for download, is the result of a four-year collaboration between eight equine experts from six universities, three equine and racing-specific research and testing centres, and two horse charities in Sweden, the United Kingdom and United States. The white paper brings together the latest data and published scientific papers on arena and turf surfaces, and the effects these have on horses in training and in competition.

Among other topics, the paper includes descriptions and text—written in terms easily understood by riders, trainers, course designers, and arena builders—on:

  • Key properties of footing and the effects of footing on horses’ physiological and biomechanical responses;

  • Optimal composition, construction, and maintenance of arenas for maximizing equine performance while minimizing injury risk;

  • Current methods of measuring the physical properties of surfaces; and

  • Essential surface preparation and maintenance techniques.

“The Equine Surfaces White Paper is the biggest international collaboration of its kind, and is vital to understanding how surfaces work in order to reduce injury risks to horses,” said John McEwen, FEI first vice president and chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee. “Now, thanks to scientific research and extensive support and partnership between welfare charities and horse sport, we can fully understand how the right surfaces, with the necessary preparation and ongoing maintenance, can extend the working lives of sport horses and produce the best performances

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