Minimize the load on the horse’s legs with floor mats

3 min.

The secret of a good riding surface lies underneath the sand. No matter what discipline you ride, dressage or showjumping, western or working equitation, with sporting ambitions or without, simply in your leisure time – a good riding surface is essential for keeping your horse healthy.

Tendons, ligaments and joints are fundamentally loaded when riding, there is no getting around that. Therefore, it is even more important that the ground on which you ride does not put more load on your horse’s legs than necessary – in best case, it even relieves the load.

This is exactly what OTTO Arena System are designed for. They are made of recycled PVC, are therefore from sustainable production, and combine two tremendously important attributes. On the one hand, they provide the horses with a secure hold on the ground, and on the other hand, they absorb the impacting forces. After a survey, TÜV Süd confirmed that up to 40 percent of the forces acting on the ground are absorbed.

OTTO Arena System GmbH offers two types of mats for riding surfaces. One is the OTTO-PerforatedMat, the other is the OTTO-IndoorMat.

As the name suggests, the OTTO-PerforatedMat has holes. This makes it ideal for use on paddocks and outdoor arenas. The mat creates a clean separation between the sub-base and the tread layer. On the one hand, it ensures that material from the sub-base does not reach the top. On the other hand, it reliably prevents water from standing on the paddock or riding arena. The first succeeds because the mats have so-called “sand barrier rings”. The conical shape of these rings makes it impossible for sand to get underneath the mat or for sub-base material to work its way up. In addition, 18% of the surface area of the mats alone is responsible for drainage – in other words, in one m² of OTTO-PerforatedMat there are 252 holes through which water can drain away. But that’s not all, because a riding surface that is too dry is not what is desired either. Therefore, up to approx. 4 liters of water / m² can be held in the cup-shaped water reservoirs of the mat. This ensures that the time, energy and costs involved in watering the ground are significantly minimized.

Photo: OTTO Arena System

When a horse with a body weight of approx. 600 kg lands on its first leg after a jump, it can be assumed that a very high force is exerted by the hoof on the ground. If the ground is not able to absorb and cushion at least part of these forces, they are returned to the leg without being buffered. If, on the other hand, the floor absorbs the forces well thanks to its elasticity, it has a feathery effect. The energy from the movement is returned to the horse in a positive ratio. The rider notices this through the light gait of his horse.

Another very important point of the OTTO-PerforatedMat is that the surface has high and deep knobs. This gives the horse optimum grip even in tight, fast turns. The treading layer does not slip away.

The same applies to the OTTO-IndoorMats. Here too, the system of nubs in different heights ensures that the horses cannot slip away. In addition, the mats are laid in such a way that they cannot shift or slip upwards. There are many examples of equestrian centers that use OTTO mats in their indoor and outdoor riding arenas successfully for decades.

And there is another big plus: the mats are made of high-quality recycled plastic. High temperature fluctuations do not cause any damage to them. When laying the mats, make sure that there is a small gap between – this way the material can expand and contract without the floor lying in waves. The aspect of sustainability should also not go unmentioned. The new production of one kilogram of plastic causes around two kilograms of carbon dioxide. With recycled plastic, this can be about 80% less.

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