Effect of superficial harrowing on surface properties of sand with rubber and waxed-sand with fibre riding arena surfaces: A preliminary study

C. A. Tranquille, V. A. Walker, E. Hernlund, A. Egenvall, L. Roepstorff, M. L. Peterson, R. C. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A recent epidemiological study identified various aspects of arena surfaces and arena surface maintenance that were related to risk of injury in horses and that arena maintenance is important in reducing injury risk. However, there has been little research into how properties of arena surfaces change with harrowing. This study aimed to compare the properties of different arena surface types pre- and post-harrowing. The Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester fitted with accelerometers and a single- and a three-axis load cell was used to test 11 arenas with two different surfaces types, sand with rubber (SR) and waxed-sand with fibre (WSF). Three drop tests were carried out at 10 standardised locations on each arena. Mixed models were created to assess the effect of surface type, pre- or post-harrowing, and drop number on the properties of the surface, including maximum horizontal deceleration, maximum vertical deceleration, maximum vertical load and maximum horizontal load.Post-harrowing, none of the parameters were altered significantly on SR. On WSF, maximum vertical deceleration and maximum vertical load significantly decreased post-harrowing. The differences in the effects of superficial harrowing on SR and WSF could be attributed to the different compositions and sizes of the surface material. The results suggest that different maintenance techniques may be more suitable for different surface types and that the effects of superficial harrowing are short-lived due to the rapid re-compaction of the surface with repeated drops on WSF. Further work is required to determine the effects of other maintenance techniques, and on other surface types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the proprietors of the venues for use of their arenas and for funding from World Horse Welfare , the Swedish-Norwegian Foundation for Equine Research and UK Sport Lottery funding for the British Equestrian Federation World Class Programme. Appendix

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Arena surface
  • Harrowing
  • Horse riding
  • Surface properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Veterinary (all)


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