A few weeks ago, my barn upgraded the footing in our indoor with a cool new product. I’ve ridden and longed in it a number of times since then, and it is super cool.
The product they used is called Recycle Balls Green Gold Horse Footing, and it is exactly what it says it is: recycled tennis balls!
The Recycle Balls company works with Wilson, a tennis gear maker, to turn “dead” tennis balls into all sorts of new things. If you’ve ever played tennis, you know that tennis balls lose their bounce quickly. If you’re super into tennis, you always play with a brand new ball, from a can you’ve just unsealed. (This is where I should confess to being a truly terrible tennis player, despite having two parents who were Division 1 tennis players; I have hand-eye coordination that should probably be measured in negative numbers. But I do know a fair bit about the sport thanks to years of exposure by my parents and later in-laws.)
Recycle Balls puts these bins at tennis facilities that come with shipping labels already on them. You put them out by courts and players stuff their dead tennis balls into them, and when they’re full, they get shipped off to the company, which turns them into all sorts of clever things. (One of their products: huuuuuuge boxes of used tennis balls for dogs at super cheap prices; if you have a ball-mad dog in your life, this would be a perfect gift.)
Bonus: it’s a Vermont company, and you all know how I feel about Vermont.
One of their flagship products right now is their Green Gold Horse Footing. We got two huge bales of it delivered (the smaller one is pictured above, and is maybe 50″ square), and a few truckloads of sand, and it all got mixed in to the indoor arena. The Green Gold footing is both fiber and rubber bits, all mixed up together already, so it has the best qualities of both: bounce and moisture absorption.
Here’s a fun time lapse of the footing going in:
I’ve now ridden in it about a dozen times, longed a few times, and watched quite a few horses go in it and it is great. Tristan, who is only vocal about footing when it is really good or really bad, loves it. He’s clearly happier and more comfortable in it. I’ll be perfectly honest: for some time I’ve had in mind a draft post about “how can I tell if my horse likes the footing?” or something like that, because it’s not my strong suit. I wasn’t sure if I could tell. Well, it turns out I can tell!
So: product endorsement from the picky owner of a 26 year old senior horse in active dressage work. This stuff is awesome.
Plus, and I feel like this should not be underestimated, it looks SO. FREAKING. COOL.
That’s not a trick of the light! It really does look neon green! It’s so cheerful and bright and light and fun. I adore it.
Interestingly, and everyone who rides in it has observed this phenomenon, when you drag it you can barely see the green. Here’s what it looks like soon after being dragged.
Then at the end of the day, after a bunch of horses have ridden in it, more of the green fiber sifts to the top. Then you turn it over and the whole thing repeats.
I’m posting this first because I love the footing – I got to see it go in and rode on it and was delighted. Then I found out that they sponsored my trainer to help us put it in. Win-win.
If you’re looking to upgrade your horse arena footing, you absolutely need to talk to Recycle Balls about their Green Gold footing.