Clara Mason, DVM

44 Cloverleaf Street
Winfield, WV 25213

(304)340-1401

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ARENA DUST AND FOOTING

                                                                          

Indoor Arena Dust: Damaging to the HORSE and RIDER

Dusty arenas are more than just annoying to ride in. Researchers have learned they could be compromising your health, right along with your horse's health. Nicole Kemer, PhD, of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Institute for Animal Hygiene, in Germany, and doctoral student Torsten Luhe examined indoor arena air quality after finding only a few research studies on the subject.  They tested the air in four indoor arenas with different layouts some with stables attached, some independent. The pair evaluated air quality at two levels: horse-nose level and rider-nose level at before and after riding sessions.
As expected, dust levels were significantly higher after rides. But, daily watering kept dust levels significantly lower than when arenas weren't watered.  
Footing also made difference: a Sand/woodchip mix produced significantly less dust than sand alone.
Still, all the arenas were dusty-specifically, containing particle sizes smaller than 0.5 micrometers, which can lodge in the alveoli (microscopic air sacs located at the end of the long's bronchioles, where oxygen exchange occurs) and contribute to  airway disease. 
What's more, the average particle concentrations were up to 10 times higher than those found in towns with air pollution. Considering that fact, Kemper said it's not surprising that 35% of riding instructors in a recent survey reported chronic bronchitis and that heaves is widespread in riding horses.
"watering seems to be an effective measure, so stable owners should give special consideration tooth's point," Kemper said. "Footing should be suitable and renewed regularly. Training outside in fresh air, whenever possible, is also a good option."

(excerpts for this article are located in TheHorse.com/37124 April 2016)