"And shew I unto thee a more perfect way."
We wish to point out that nobody ever has dust problems that are naturally occurring (with the exception of those occurring in semi-arid, desert, or similar soil conditions).
We create the dust problems for our horses all by ourselves, usually using one of two methods (possibly more, we humans are very inventive creatures).
Many times, in our attempts to mitigate the dusty arenas, we only make things worse in the long run - by adding unhealthy or unsound materials to the dirt in attempts to make the dust stay in the footing, instead of becoming airborne (called "fugitive dust"). We even add stuff to the footing which quickly exacerbates the dust problem.
The most commonly accepted practice is to water the dust (also known as "making mud").
The problem with this 'treatment' is that watering any non-quartz footing will only make the sand mature into dust more quickly.
This is a natural law of geo-physics, which cannot be avoided:
1) watering any porous mineral will accelerate its decomposition and decay into dust.
the more you water = the faster the sand matures into dust
2) freeze/thaw cycles will greatly accelerate this decay into dust (including the slightest frost).
The only naturally occurring* non-porous mineral is silica sand (*appearing in sufficient quantities - also known as "beach sand" or "river sand" or "Quartz sand" etc.).
Common Quartz is not porous, therefore
water cannot penetrate into it,
freezing does not cause it to decay it into dust,
watering it does not weaken it,
and only a diamond-cutter can break it down (or similar device).
Did you ever wonder why only quartz sand is the only type of sand lining the beaches and shores of the world?
Or wonder, "Where did all the other types of minerals go? Where did the granite and the limestone and the mica and the feldspar go?"
Simple: all other common minerals have turned into dust, dissolved, and washed away to the ocean floor.
All that remains are the adamant & nonporous minerals, in the following order of hardness ...
Diamonds, Topaz, Sapphires, Common Quartz , and so forth ...
Because "diamond and sapphire sand for my riding arena footing" may be a little pricey,
we suggest using the fourth-hardest naturally occurring element or mineral on or in the earth - Common Quartz (aka silica dioxide) for any performance riding arena,
whether for western roping and reining arenas,
or for classical equitation disciplines such as dressage and jumping.
HORSE HEALTH :|: And it is true, dust poses a serious health risk for horses (commonly called 'heaves' which is always debilitating, often lethal, with other syndromes).
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH:|: The EPA has determined that fugitive dust is also a serious public air quality problem, but we are only addressing equine health care issues and systems (the Federal Environmental Protection Agency).
Oddly enough, many western cities must now pave all the dirt or gravel streets, alleys, etc with various forms of non-point source water pollution agents (asphalt, chip & seal, recycled oil, concrete, etc.) - in order to control the fugitive dust in arid climates! (thank you, EPA, for another off-target, misdirected and backwards mandate)
sources of dust ...
THE MOST COMMON SOURCE OF DUST :|:
(1) Using a "young sand" which naturally matures into dust.
(2) Using treatments or practices that rapidly accelerate the maturation of sand into dust.
THE NEXT-MOST-COMMON SOURCES OF DUST :|:
(1) Desiccated humus (dried organic material), which has migrated from the dirt subsoil to the arena's surface footing.
(2) Partially decomposed organic materials which were intentionally added to the arena subbase or footing layer.
Examples are: wood or any plant cellulose byproduct, organic rubber, waxes and oils (including petroleum-based products, as oil is an organic source material), or anything which is organic - as they will decompose naturally.
(3) Pulverized manmade materials which were intentionally added to arena footing or subbase (without a permanent separation or barrier layer).
Examples include any type of material which is not made to withstand the extreme dynamic forces of hoof-meets-earth, such as:
(a) recycled fabrics which were not engineered/manufactured to withstand these forces,
(b) any natural textile such as cotton, linen or wool, and
(c) any type of ultra-thin-polymer coating on sand (Polymer-coated sands were invented for baseball pitchers mounds. Even for the relatively light duty "walking human traffic" - the polymer-coated sands are replaced annually or more often. Simply, they do not have the iconic 'snowball's chance in hell' of withstanding the 800 to 1,200 psi exerted by a horse's hooves at gallop).
Many "dusty arena" or "dusty paddock" problems are not really dust problems.
Dust happens when the dirt underneath our footing layer works its way to the surface, regardless of how many truckloads of gravel, wood chips or hog fuel, sand, field lime, biomass, concrete or cement pavement or chunks of broken concrete, rubber footing products, pulverized recycled tires or paper or plastic or . . . well, anything.
Until there is a permanent separating layer/system - that forces the footing (the top layer) to stay on top, and the soil underneath (foundation layer) to remain underneath -
then the dust and mud problems will continue to pop up.
How about just doing away with the dust, entirely? In order to permanently solve a dust problem, the first priority is to make the native dirt stay put - under the footing. This is called "soil stabilization," and that is what ECORASTER does.
Permanently makes the soil stay where you want it to stay:
in the ground - underneath your footing - instead of in the air and your lungs.
Whether it is on an eighty degree slope in the middle of the monsoon season during a hurricane, or whether there are 30 head of cattle per acre in a feedlot operation, or whether there is a constant rotation of stable boarders riding their horses at all hours of the day and night, or whether every weekend there are a thousand cars driving across or parking on your lawn. We don't care.
No more mud - ever,
no more compacted + sterile soil,
no more tire tracks or footpaths of dirt through the grass lawn,
and the dirt stays put forever!
If there is grass growing on top of the soil, our system will prevent damage to the grass sod, regardless of traffic or rainfall.
The ECORASTER system cannot, however, prevent wood 'hog fuel' or wood chips from decomposing, creating a mixture of muddy-rotten-rocky-manure on your horse turnout, paddock, arena, stalls, or trailering areas. Nature does this, and will continue doing this.
But we can make it no longer necessary to repeatedly re-apply gravel or sand or wood or any other type of temporary mud and dust treatment. We prefer to make the mud and dust go away forever.
Anywhere. Any environment. Any climate.
No more mud.
No more dust.