Sharn Wordley and Casper

By: Kady Abrahamson

Enviro Equine team member Kady Abrahamson sat down with Sharn Wordley, Enviro Equine partnered rider and co-founder of Wordley Martin Premium Equestrian Surfaces, for a Q and A on “The Importance of Good Footing”. This is such an important topic to grasp when wanting to maintain and expand the careers for you and your horse.

Q: What are the repercussions of riding on bad footing? 

A: “The main repercussions of riding on bad footing would be soundness issues thus impacting competitive ability. If your home footing is bad or inconsistent, then the horses’ ability to perform decreases and it also increases their chances of injury.”

Q: What do you consider the most common problems with bad footing?

A: “The footing being too hard, if there is no concussion absorption, if it’s too slippery, or if it’s too deep. All of these common problems in bad footing will cause unnecessary wear and tear on a horse.”

Q: Have you ever scratched a class due to bad footing?

A: “I have scratched a class multiple times due to bad footing. I would rather know that I am helping increase the longevity of my horses’ careers by only jumping on good footing than be greedy and jump in a class just to compete. The horses are too important to risk it.” 

Q: How important is maintenance for an arena? 

A: “Maintenance for an arena is extremely important. This is by far the biggest factor that will determine the longevity of an arena. You can have a very expensive, well-built arena, but if this arena is not maintained properly, it will end up not functioning correctly.” 

Q: What do you consider good arena maintenance?

A: “Watering and dragging an arena daily is ideal. We recommend laser grading an arena at least once a year and for every arena to be dug up on a regular basis which will help the footing not get too hard. The biggest criticism of footing is that it’s too hard which is something that can easily happen, so by digging it up on a regular basis will help keep it soft. If an arena is too slippery, generally it is because it’s too hard and only the top half inch of the footing is getting fluffed up which still leaves the bottom hard. This is something that is very common and can easily be prevented with good arena maintenece.”

Q: What sets Wordley Martin Premium Riding Surfaces apart from other footing companies? 

A: “Unlike any other arena company that we know of in the United States, Craig Martin and myself are both international grand prix riders and founders of our company. We offer a hands-on relationship with our clients and offer a unique perspective on arena design from a sport-horse perspective versus a construction perspective.” 

Q: What process do you go through to put in a top-of-the-line arena? 

A: “The two most important things when it comes to putting in an arena would be the quality of the sand and the drainage design. Without getting those two things right, the arena will not work. In order to get the right sand in every arena we build,  we have to analyze the different sands available for the base. We then make a custom blend depending on the results of the sand test. It is quite a process, but worthwhile when you are able to ride on an arena with top-class footing- which will then extend your horses’ careers.” 

For more information on “The Importance of Good Footing” and Wordley Martin Premium Equestrian Surfaces, visit their website at

The Wordley Martin team: Craig Martin, Lauren Balcomb, and Sharn Wordley (not pictured: Rae Martin)