In July of 2016, after nearly 10 years of detailed research and meticulous planning, a vision came to life as the Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center broke ground ground on a new state-of-the-art Equine Performance Testing Center (EPTC). Partnering with Attwood Equestrian Surfaces (AES), the EPTC features a covered riding arena with AES's Pinnacle footing and lunging and trot-up areas with asphalt footing. As a stand-alone, outpatient facility, it will also provide four holding stalls, wash area, examination and patient preparation area, radiology services and an area for farrier services as well as easy-access pull-through truck and trailer parking.
"The planned EPTC is really essential to provide state-of-the-art care," said Dr. Elizabeth Davis, professor and section head of equine medicine and surgery. "Our goal was to build a facility that is practical, functional and will allow us to do our job to the best of our ability and we think we've done exactly that."
When AES arrived at the project site, there were quite a lot of unexpected challenges. First was the weather. At the beginning of the project the weather was below freezing and the ground was frozen solid. Not unexpected for this time of year in Kansas. But an unexpected thaw made the site a muddy mess to be contended with. Along with the muddy conditions, it became apparent that the base had not been built to spec and would have to be redone by the Attwood team.
"We corrected the grade by bringing in more material, laser leveled the base then compacted the surface with moisture. Compacting with moisture in a spring thaw is no small trick but in the end the arena was ready for the Pinnacle footing" said Edwin Barron, Vice President of Attwood Equestrian Surfaces. "GH2 Architects, the designers of the project, came to watch the installation and gave us high praise."
"Pinnacle is AES's ultimate premium footing which combines the latest in technology and our 20 years of equestrian arena footing experience. Pinnacle surfaces are formulated from high quality silica sand and fibres, and coated with viscoelastic polymer, to bring you the optimum in shear strength, shock absorption and maximum viscoelastic rebound. It is the perfect footing for testing lameness issues in the performance horse because of the concussion reduction and rebound," said Barron. "And as it's dust free and requires no watering, meaning there is very little downtime for maintenance of the arena."
Dr. Davis adds, "Everyone here just loves the footing. One of our guests said they thought this was the same footing used in the World Cup! And I have to agree, it really has that feel to it. World class. I found Attwood Equestrian Surfaces was extremely professional and the communication between Edwin, the architect and contractor was excellent over the course of the project. Though the project got delayed slightly at the start (due to extremely cold weather), everything proceeded according to plan. We couldn't be happier."