Wear life of Equestrian Surfaces: Part 3

The final part of our series is out!

In the first two parts of this mini-series we explored the wear life of both watered and coated equestrian surfaces. In this third part we explore what options might be available to you should your surface be tired or worn out.

Often it is harder to see when an uncoated, watered surface is tired or has worn out. Tell-tale signs can be that it is riding too deep, even when watered correctly. Conversely it could be riding too hard. The cause for these two opposing behaviours is different. In the first case, the binding of the surface by fibrous additive is no longer working, either as a result of loss of fiber, or through reduction in the fiber length. Such a situation can be retrieved by adding fresh fiber additive to the surface (and mixing in thoroughly of course). The correct amount and type of fiber additive needs to be used, and this can only be gauged by analysing the current surface.

When a watered surface is riding too hard, this can often be the result of a breakdown in the sand itself, leading to a finer grain distribution which leads to tighter packing of the surface. This can often be the result of using poor quality sand in the first place, which breaks down prematurely. In a previous edition of Footing Facts we explained that equestrian sand needs to have a high silica content, which guarantees it will have superior wear characteristics. Adding fresh, quality sand of the correct grain size distribution can remedy the situation.

However you’d be amazed at how many footing installers use the same remediation recipe whatever the state and type of surface their customer has! In severe cases the surface will need to be replaced. It is far easier to see when a coated surface is getting tired or has worn out. In this case the surface will lack cohesion and the ride will be deep. This is because the ‘sticky’ coating has partly, or completely worn off, leaving nothing to bind the grains and fiber/additive together.

In cases we encounter like this, the customer will be watering their surface just to maintain some level of cohesion – this for a surface that is sold on its non-watering advantages! Indeed we come across waxed surface customers who are having to do this as little as three years from the installation date. Attwood’s coated product, Pinnacle, uses a polymer coating which binds to the sand and additive in a far stronger way than a wax, leading to wear life up to 5 times longer than wax surfaces.

Tired wax coated surfaces can usually be re-waxed, but we seldom come across re-waxed surfaces that return to their original properties. Attwood too can re-coat a tired surface, but we use a superior polymer coating. Indeed in some cases we can re-coat a tired waxed surface, but compatibility has to be ascertained first.

Thankyou for staying with us! Hope you had a great reading experience with our series. Stay in the loop with new blogs coming up every week!

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