by Emily Baker
Anyone who has been to the Colorado Horse Park over the years knows that there is one change competitors have been eagerly awaiting: new footing. The day has finally come.
Wellington, Florida based company Equestrian Services International (ESI) has been contracted for the job. They have also done the footing for such complexes and competitions as Wellington, Tryon Equestrian Center, Kentucky, the Hampton Classic, Devon, Harrisburg Indoors, and Spruce Meadows.
Brett Raflowitz of ESI said that the current footing at the Horse Park is a sand base with a “band-aid” of sorts. The Horse Park had previously attempted a short term fix, but the time has come for a long term solution.
This spring, ESI is installing an All Weather footing and drainage system in four of the twelve arenas at the Colorado Horse Park. The arenas undergoing improvements are the Derby Field (to be renamed the International Arena), the Grand Prix Ring (now named The Coors Family Arena), the Coles Arena, and Hunter 4 according to Lisa Klymkow of the Colorado Horse Park. This footing is identical to that found at other top competition facilities around the country. Raflowitz states that the installation of the new footing will allow competition to continue regardless of Colorado’s unpredictable weather conditions.
ESI’s All Weather footing consists of a mixture of High Quality Sand, Geo Felt, and Special Fibers which provide cushion and spring for the horses. It is the optimal footing for high level jumping and dressage arenas. In order for the All Weather footing to be most effective it must be installed with a drainage system similar to a large septic tank beneath the arena.
Raflowitz says of the project, “The quality of what it’s going to do for the horse show is extreme really. Now they won’t have to worry about weather conditions and what’s happening. It’ll allow them to run the horse show more efficiently and it’ll allow them to increase their numbers. Per arena they should almost be able to double their numbers.”
To a Colorado competitor this means a few things: no more flooded arenas when it rains, more supportive footing for our animals, and the potential for a higher level of competition here in state.
This portion of the project is expected to be completed before the start of the Spring Preview in the second week of May. Raflowitz states that the rest of the arenas are anticipated to be completed as well during the show offseasons in the upcoming years.