Heidi Zorn of Premier Equestrian spoke to students at Utah State University about footing and its effects on horse biomechanics. (Photos courtesy JRPR- no photo credit necessary)
Logan, UT (February 21, 2017) — Heidi Zorn, footing and arena expert and co-owner of Premier Equestrian, is a keen supporter of education on the importance of footing for both horse and rider. It’s no wonder that, when she received an invitation to share her knowledge and expertise with a group of equine studies students at Utah State University, Zorn was quick to enthusiastically accept.
Earlier this month, Zorn was asked to speak at the college by Kelli Munns, Equine Lecturer and English Equestrian Team Coach at the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences at Utah State. Eager to share her insights on this very important subject, Zorn prepared a detailed presentation for the class on the topic of footing’s effect on horse biomechanics, and how different footing types are needed for different riding disciplines and why.
Reflecting on the experience, Zorn observed, “The students and the staff were all very eager to learn. Breaking down the flight of the foot and how it interacts with different surfaces introduced new, key concepts to their studies.”
When asked why footing is such a crucial topic of education for equestrian students, Munns explained “It takes the students to another level in their education. Through this topic, students are educated on the science of equine biomechanics and the influence that arena surfaces have on it. It’s a part of the industry that combines science and performance. Without good footing, your horse’s performance and confidence will likely be compromised.”
Munns went on to expand on the importance of the topic, saying “When I think about my position as an educator, my ultimate goal is to inspire students to make the industry better for the welfare of the equine athlete. If we want horses to perform to the best of their ability, it is important that we examine all aspects of their training programs. Based on a horse and rider’s discipline, they’re going to need different arena surfaces; biomechanics say so. If you’re going to prolong the integrity of your horse’s body, it would be a worthwhile investment to examine the arena’s surface, where the horse spends the time training.”
Both Zorn and Munns felt the talk opened up a fundamental opportunity for the students to become more aware of the work that still needs to be done in the industry, as well as challenging them to continue with scientific research efforts on the subject of footing.
When asked what the chief takeaway from the talk was, Zorn replied, “We all agreed that how the horse is affected by different surfaces has very few studies; the current studies are still in their infancy. There have been many studies on racehorses, but not many on sport horses, and even less for the western horse. The industry as a whole is lacking in quantified and scientific studies. There may be an opportunity to work with Universities to research just how different types of footing surfaces are affecting the soundness of sport horses and western disciplines.”
Munns also echoed the sentiment, adding “My hope is that students left the talk feeling inspired to continue the research of biomechanics, promoting soundness and wellbeing of our equine athletes and how they can contribute to the science in the equine industry.
Heidi Zorn and co-owner of Premier Equestrian Mark Neihart launched Premier Equestrian in 2000, which supplies riders with world-class footing, dressage arenas, jumps, and other equestrian products. Today, every product sold by Premier Equestrian is measured against a passion for safety, practicality, and well-being of the horse. To learn more about footing and biomechanics, watch Premier Equestrian’s video on their website.