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by Downunder Horsemanship

From the Ground Up

By ABI Attachments

Start from the ground up. Sage old advice, and in some cases, it is meant metaphorically, but at ABI we mean it literally.

A good performance from your horse begins with the ground you ask him to work on. One of the most obvious and often neglected details is footing consistency. To be specific, the depth of footing and consistency is crucial to the quality ride your horse is able to deliver. These inconsistencies are variables that horses will learn to anticipate, and it will have a negative impact.

Think about the last time you stepped into a low spot you didn’t see coming. How did it feel? Physically it was probably jarring to your neck and back, probably gave you the sensation of falling, you tensed up and it may have even caused a sprained ankle. Mentally, you likely found yourself looking down the rest of the day. If it does happen in the same spot often enough, you will learn to walk more carefully and be on the lookout to prevent injury. This is a learned response that naturally occurs with both people and horses to protect themselves from injury.

If your horse is working on inconsistent footing, he has learned to anticipate possible injury and will hold back to protect himself. Fix the footing and you’ll have eliminated distraction and hesitation so he can give it his all. ABI drags make this fix easy for the everyday equestrian.

“Consistency is your greatest ally and inconsistency is your greatest enemy,” is one of Clinton Anderson’s often repeated pieces of advice. Around 80 percent of all soundness issues are the result of poorly maintained footing. Your horse knows this to be true and he expresses it to you by delivering a cautious or guarded ride.

ABI Dragmaster and ABI Arena Rascal Pro are Clinton’s go-to solutions for footing maintenance. Both tools eliminate footing highs and lows without eroding the base of your arena. The more you work your horses, the more attention the footing requires. The buildup along the wall and the beaten down areas where you work circles are just a few things to consider when you are properly preparing the ground for your horse to work.

Your horse has more important things to pay attention to in the arena than inconsistent footing, give him an advantage and keep him sound by fixing your ride from the ground up.

For more information on arena footing and maintenance, go to