Equine Competition Surface Testing: Practical Applications for High-Level Competition

Learn how researchers are improving footing at two major competition venues in the United States, including the one that will host the 2018 World Equestrian Games next month.
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equine competition surface testing
Safe arena footing and maintenance is a priority for the upcoming World Equestrian Games, and RSTL has been working with a team from Swedish University of Agricultural Science to help construct, install, and maintain the new arenas and surfaces at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in a relatively short timespan. | Photo: Courtesy Tryon2018

No matter the occasion—be it a horse race, show jumping competition, dressage test, reining pattern, or any of the many other equine sport events that take place every year—all equestrian events have one singular requirement they need to take place: They need an appropriate and safe surface to compete upon. Ensuring proper footing selection, installation, and maintenance is important not only for equine injury prevention, but for horse and rider safety of horse and rider.

This is the third in a series examining equine competition surface testing and maintenance worldwide.

Mick Peterson, PhD, is the director of University of Kentucky (UK) Ag Equine Programs, faculty member within UK’s Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department, and Executive Director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory. He cofounded the nonprofit Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory (RSTL) with Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, a professor at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The RSTL has a 10-year history of examining equine competition surfaces at racetracks and equestrian sports venues around the world, developing protocols and standards, and offering recommendations. In this role, Peterson is considered one of the world’s premiere experts in testing of high-level competition surfaces

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