There is no way to completely avoid dust in a horse arena, but it can be managed to ensure a more pleasant experience for everyone — horses, riders, trainers, and spectators alike.
These dust control solutions include oil, water, and even rock salt, and can help promote safety and better performance when implemented.
Whether you ride in an indoor arena or prefer outdoor arenas, you know that microscopic dust particles can become a problem. Inhaling the dust and debris that impacts the air quality can result in health problems for you and your horse. Did you know that on average, a resting horse inhales 150 liters of air every minute? As you can imagine, dusty arenas aren't ideal, especially if your horse has a history of heaves or respiratory issues.
What Exactly Is Dust in Horse Arena and Can It Be Prevented?
Before exploring the right dust control product for your indoor riding arenas, you likely want to learn more about dust and soil compaction. Fine particles in the sand, clay, or silt begin to break down over time. There are some types of footing that can break down even faster and can result in a dust problem in indoor arenas. For example, unwashed sand means these particles are broken down from day one and will only result in more dust over time.
In the case that you have clay sand in outdoor arenas and you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, water retention is high and it will take a long time to dry, resulting in less dust. If you don’t have clay in your area, another option is to invest in a quality washed sand quartz as it has the added benefit of breaking down slower. This can produce fewer negative side effects and generate less dust in your arena.
Why Do Horse Arenas Need Dust Control?
It's important to invest in a horse arena dust control product to create a safe environment for your animals. Even though there are some products or methods that offer short-term benefits, it's important to seek a long-lasting solution. In addition, the short-term dust suppressant solutions often require constant re-application which can result in higher arena maintenance costs and more labor.
When there's less dust, it means there's more fresh air which is better from a health and safety perspective. It significantly reduces the chances of the horse and the riders from developing any respiratory problems. Dust control for horse arenas can make for a better overall riding experience for everyone involved by also improving visibility; this helps reduce the risk of an accident.
Arena owners should seek non-toxic dust control products to help increase the lifetime of the footing without needing footing additives. The more dust that's produced, the more material that is blowing away outside of the barn. Keeping your footing in place can help reduce costs.
How to Control Dust in a Horse Arena?
Inhaling or ingesting dust can pose health risks, which is why we’ve put together a few methods of horse arena dust control to help protect against such danger. Now that you know more about the importance of keeping dust particles under control, let's delve into some various methods that you can explore.
Water for Horse Arena Dust Control
A typical choice for riding arena dust control is watering the arena to coat dust particles and make them stick to one another, decreasing dust movement. Arena watering is a form of dust control and when done properly, can be incredibly effective.
Sprinkler systems, and similar irrigation systems, are an excellent choice, as they allow for even disbursement of the water throughout the entire arena. Hoses and other methods are not as effective, leading to spots that are too dry and other spots that are too wet, making it slippery for both the horses and riders.
Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride for Arena Dust Control
Perhaps the most effective method for suppressing dust is commercial rock salt or salt blends. Using either calcium or magnesium chloride for dust control in a horse arena will help attract moisture from the air and surroundings, working the same way as water does to make the dust stick together and weigh it down. Watering the arena after spreading the product will help to lock in the moisture. Both magnesium and calcium chloride as dust control in a horse arena is a cost-effective and simple method for keeping flying dust to a minimum.
Though calcium chloride has a small amount of chlorine which can corrode metals over time, it is still an excellent way to combat dust. Magnesium chloride, on the other hand, is a non-corrosive option, making it an incredibly popular option.
Magnesium and calcium chlorides are especially effective for indoor horse arena dust control, as they won’t be washed away by rain and will last much longer (6+ months). Not to mention that these products lower the freezing point of water, which will lessen the likelihood of your arena freezing during the cold winter months even if you water it.
Wood and Other Additives
It might seem too easy, but one outdoor riding arena dust control method is adding wood in the form of chips or shavings. Wood will serve to boost the retention of surface moisture in the ground; by adding more water, dust particles are so heavy that they are less likely to become airborne. The drawbacks are that wood can be slippery when the footing is too wet and it will break down with time and foot (hoof) traffic.
To maintain a dust-free arena, consider turning to products containing petroleum-like Vaseline, mineral oil, and other derivatives to treat the footing. These products are clean, will not damage hooves and boots, and make effective dust suppressants. However, there are a few disadvantages of using petroleum-based products. First, they can be more expensive and second, they can break down and evaporate relatively quickly meaning you will need to continuously purchase and apply more.
Another method of horse arena dust control is using various vegetable oil products like canola, cottonseed, and soybean oil. Not only are these products safe, due to the fact that they are refined but they’re also completely biodegradable. The downside is that it will evaporate quickly and will need to be reapplied within a few months. Vegetable oil products are best used with sand, clay, or rubber (not dirt) footing.
Different Types of Areas That Will Need Dust Control
We have outlined different types of areas that you will need to consider dust control methods for.
- Indoor Horse Arena Dust Control: If you've been inside a dusty arena, you might have felt overwhelmed with sand. This can quickly become a miserable experience. Controlling dust inside is perhaps even more important than other types as there is no access to fresh air and everyone is under one roof. Even though there are several methods to control dust, using products on the arena footing is both effective and easy.
- Outdoor Horse Arena Dust Control: Outdoor arenas also require finding the right dust control product, although it is not as important to completely eliminate the problem as there is access to fresh air. One of the easiest ways is to find the right dust control product that can treat the riding areas and the surrounding area to keep it as safe as possible. Many of these products are very easy to apply and won't take up a ton of your time or resources.
- Dust Control in Horse Stalls: Inside of the stalls is where your horses spend a lot of their time. It's essential that this is a safe environment for them or they could be prone to long-term health effects. Horse stalls can benefit from finding the right product to increase moisture enough that the bedding doesn't result in dust particles flying everywhere. Even something such as a hose end sprayer can easily target the footing in your horse stalls.
Even if visitors and spectators aren't spending endless hours in your arena, it still needs to be a safe environment for them. Use as much water needed to absorb the particles and prevent the dust from flying everywhere. You can try various products to see what works best for your personal needs. It's essential that you find the right method that works for you as it can lead to many long-term benefits.
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Opt for the Best Dust Control Products at Ninja De-Icer Today!
Though your options for controlling dust in your arena are extensive, salt products like magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and even traditional sodium chloride, are the easiest and most affordable dust control solutions. If you’re looking for high-quality horse arena dust control products, Ninja De-Icer has you covered. We’re a Nationwide bulk and bagged salt supplier providing cost-effective dust management solutions. Get a quote today to discuss your dust control needs!