Dennis Mitchell Develops Consistency on his Longwood ArenaText Link
Veteran rider and trainer Dennis Mitchell has spent his lifetime competing on different performance footing at some of the most elite competitions throughout the world. Mitchell competed for many years at the grand prix level before turning his attention to developing top level athletes, both horse and rider. When it came time to find a footing solution for his own riding arena, Mitchell chose Longwood Arenas to develop his facility's new asset. Check out what he had to say about the difference his all-weather/ggt footing arena has made in his training program and how it compares globally.
“I was raised in the horse business; my dad was a horseman and I’ve been riding since I was four years old. I never realized how important this footing was until I had an area like this. For years it's always been trial and error- you start off with too much footing, then you take it out and you mess with it; so, I wanted to have something that was ready to rock and roll as soon as the trucks moved out and that’s what Joe provided. The young horses that I’ve started now are a lot braver because the footing doesn’t give way out from under them when they take off or when they land. I find that horses get off the ground better when the footing is consistent, and they tend to jump on a more regulated basis. It's not like they’re just taking a stab at it. That is the big difference I think between this footing versus natural footing and grass, sometimes they get down there and if it's slick and they can slide, whereas here that isn’t an issue. This footing is pretty much the footing that is used everywhere in the world now, so you train over the same footing you’re going to show on and that makes a lot of sense. The fact is that we can have pouring rain here and I can still work horses because it doesn't change.
For me not only does it simulate the horse show situation but it also helps with soundness of the horses. Most of the horses that I've got now are going barefoot now because of Joe’s footing. I don’t need shoes on them because it is very forgiving. For the conditioning and soundness of the horses it makes a big difference. If the horse can feel, as far as their confidence level, that they are going to land the same way every time, it makes a big difference whether they go down there on the same track or if they try to avoid the rider’s signals. It’s ideal and it’s really been the best footing I’ve ever had on my own premises.”