From time to time we need to put a new surface on the gallops. This is what we use and how we replace it.
Did you know that in the UK alone almost half a million tonnes of carpet waste is generated every year?
That's a lot of volume and it fills up landfill sites all over the country. Disposing of it poses yet another environmental problem.
However, carpet waste is a hugely useful commodity and we love the stuff.
At Mick Easterby Racing we have gallops using various surfaces. Over the years we have used mushroom compost, pig hair, and various other all weather materials, but here we'll tell you about one of the most interesting.
Gallops need continual maintenance and when the time comes to resurface the gallops we fire up the farm machinery and off we go!
We've just had a delivery of shredded carpet from a company in Doncaster. The carpets are put through industrial shredders to chop them up into little bits. Everything goes in, including the underlay!
You can see from the pictures here that folk have had some horrible coloured carpets in their homes over the years.
We've got the farm vehicles out and a tractor and trailer slowly drives long the gallop at a constant speed dropping in the fibre. The shredded pieces are then all mixed in and we spread them on the gallop.
Alongside drives another tractor with a full load of carpet fibres and the trailer load is replenished using a third vehicle with a mechanical shovel. Our uphill gallop is about a mile long, rising 150 feet from New House Farm to Sheepclose Farm. The whole of the gallop is covered.
Next we add a topping of silica sand.
Sand particle shape is vital for equestrian surfaces, and it must be 'sub-angular' in shape. A material that is sub-angular does not have sharpness. These materials are naturally occurring and they are mined and processed to exacting specification. Of course some angularity is needed to enable a greater void space between the particles therefore offering greater resistance to movement, so the blend of exacting particle size is of paramount importance.
The result of mixing the silica and carpet fibre is a superb surface of uniform depth that will give a gentle bounce. If you push your finger against the fleshy part of the palm of your hand then that's the sort of surface you have.
There are many advantages to using carpet fibre surfaces for training racehorses. Most importantly it is gentle on the horses' joints. This reduces injuries and vet's bills.
Carpet fibre also provides a well-drained surface with consistent properties. This aids horses with movement difficulties who we have seen improve dramatically from training on this surface.
The surface is low maintenance, and we can use it in all weather, it never freezes. It is also environmentally sound, as the carpet would have otherwise ended up in a landfill site.
Our riders also notice that the surface gives very little kickback.
So next time you have a new carpet fitted think about where the old one might be going.
It might end up helping to train some of me winners!