World leaders in equine surface manufacture & installation
01995 672103
World leaders in equine surfaces
01995 672103

British Dressage Official Surface Supplier Andrews Bowen Talks ‘Ensuring Optimum Health and Performance'


The surface you ride and compete on is one of the main factors for optimum performance and soundness of your horse. Andrews Bowen manufacture high quality surfaces for all types of use, whether it be a private arena, livery yard or competition centre. The Andrews Bowen team take into consideration the key elements needed to ensure each surface gives the right amount of cushion, stability and energy return needed for every horse; maximising performance whilst keeping the horse’s health as upmost priority.

Andrews Bowen is continuously involved in research and development to ensure all surfaces throughout the range meet the requirements of today’s equine athletes. This is through the investigation of ground-surface compositions, properties and the effect they can have.

Andrews Bowen is able to offer a range of services from equestrian facility design and construction, to surface supply and arena build. As every yard is different, the team are specialists in specific requirements to meet with the demands of every client. Getting the right balance is vital. Surfaces intended for dressage and flatwork should have efficient energy return for the extended work but provide support, cushioning and stability under the hoof in the collection work. A surface that provides this will allow the horse to balance properly, have confidence in the footing and allow them to move comfortably into the next movement. Inconsistencies within a surface can cause a horse to become tentative in the movements they’re performing.

This can not only limit their training progress but can lead to injury through improper execution of movements. Achieving the ideal characteristics from an arena surface can be done through correct construction, choice of material and maintenance.

When we design each of our surfaces, we take into account the specific use that they will undertake along with the preferences of the individual client. Andrews Bowen’s approach to investigating surfaces helps the team understand how current surfaces are performing, what affects their shock absorbing capacity and how they might design the surfaces of the future.

Choosing the Right Surface

We appreciate that building an arena is a large capital investment and we cannot put enough emphasis on the value of using quality materials. Ensuring the sub-base is correctly constructed is vital. You wouldn’t build a house on poor foundations, the same applies when building your arena.

Maintaining Surface Performance

Once you’ve installed your chosen surface, general maintenance is essential in keeping optimum performance levels and prolonging the life expectancy of your surface. Any sand-based surface will require some level of maintenance in order to keep providing a consistent footing every day of the year.

Things to consider are:

▪ As with any arena, contamination can cause havoc with the performance of your surface. An absolute must is to try and remove all droppings as soon as possible out of the arena to reduce the chances of them spreading through the surface.

▪ Every arena will most likely have diverse levels of use, meaning that each arena will need different amounts of grading. Regular grading sessions where possible are a fantastic way to ensure your surface is in the best possible condition, especially if you’ve lunged or turned out in the arena.

▪ Our waxed surfaces do not need any watering, however unwaxed sand and fibre surfaces are moisture reliant and need irrigation to ensure optimum performance. The weather can help or hinder your surface as with windy or hot weather, the water content will soon disappear. Make sure your surface always has enough moisture as this will help stop the fibre rising, sitting on top of the sand and leaving you with a surface that’s too deep due to lack of structure.

▪ Every now and again it’s important to rake in the surface from the sides and corners of the arena where ‘tracking’ has happened. This helps keep the surface level and removes any rucks that have been made from continuous use of the track. If there are undulations created in the surface, this will impact how the horse’s foot interacts with the surface and could cause unnecessary strain on the limbs.

If you’re looking for any information on either surfaces or full facility design and build, call the Andrews Bowen team directly on 01995 672103, email or visit


Date posted: 30/10/2019

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Andrews Bowen Ltd design, manufacture and install a comprehensive range of riding surfaces, for arena, competition and racing establishments, alongside our range of arena management equipment and arena improvement fibres.
Leading the way in surface development, Andrews Bowen is at the forefront of cutting edge technology for surfaces and impact absorbtion with sound ecological values. Our unique Equaflow equestrian water recycling and management system has a multitude of uses in our highly demanding greener society, and we have recently added our new exciting stabling range.

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