California Riding Magazine • December, 2008

Dust Is Done For
Environmentally sound product leaves an arena expert happily suprised.

by Brian McNeil, E=MC Equestrian Arenas, Inc.

To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, “Out, out, damn dust!”
California equestrians see, breathe and endure dust, and our horses continue to pay the price.

Working throughout North America with equestrian owners, trainers and facility managers, I am constantly asked to make sure-fire recommendations for dust control for arenas, showgrounds, barn aisles and round-pens/turn-outs. Until recently, the solutions were short-term and less than environmentally sound and economically practical. Even with high-end sprinkler systems, water wheels, magnesium chloride, misting systems, water tanks or careful manure-removal management, dust would win out in the end.

A few years ago, I got into a heated telephone conversation with a manufacturer who claimed that his product could control all dust present in an arena for up to nine months. I doubted that. He said his product worked without chlorides (salts). Without water. And without any environmental risks or impact on horse and rider.

Having previously installed thousands of gallons of liquid magnesium chloride over the years, with adequate but short-term effectiveness, I finally asked one of my best clients to try this organic witches’ brew, this mysterious non-toxic liquid formula. It worked! And kept working. And it did not alter the feel of the footing, get crusty or, most remarkably, wash out of the footing when it rained.

My irritation with Dirt Glue Enterprises, the environmental products manufacturer of this product, Arena Kleen, grew out of my own disbelief that their claims were valid. I was proved wrong. Trainers working in dust-bowl arenas now tell me that it works. Owners in Carmel, in Pleasanton, in Orangevale, tell me that it works. No more dust on arena mirrors, on horizontal surfaces, on cars parked near the arena and, most especially, no more dust entering the respiratory systems of their horses and riders. 

I have never been so pleased to be wrong in my assumptions.

How It Works

Unlike other liquids that suppress dust by coating the sand/dust particles, Arena Kleen is absorbed into the sand/dust particles at a molecular level. Both non-corrosive and non-exothermic (it does not generate heat like calcium chloride does), the material does not wash off of the footing, even with heavy rains or waterings used to maintain footing density. It does not freeze - a plus for our northern riders. Of greatest significance to riders, it does not alter the feel of the existing footing. It just gets rid of the “damn dust!”

As California continues to grow, two realties are emerging: we are running short of water; and equestrian facilities once set in isolated and private locales are now trying, and failing, to co-exist with suburban neighbors who don’t want their air-conditioner’s filters clogged with arena dust.

Dirt Glue Enterprises/Arena Kleen now distributes throughout North and Central America, and is available world-wide. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto has used Arena Kleen for the past two years to control arena dust, while promoting the Fair as a “green” environment for its international equestrian events. Vendors love it: no dust on the $4,000 saddles. The facility loves it: no water trucks! Lady Macbeth would have loved it, too. 

Author Brian McNeil is the owner of E=MC Equestrian Arenas, Inc., which designs, installs and consults for equestrian clients throughout North America. Recently completed installations include arenas in Los Gatos, Pleasanton and Orangevale, CA. With over 150 installations since 1997, E=MC Equestrian Arenas approaches all projects with this single criterion: It’s All About the Horse! 

For more information, visit www.equestrian-arenas.com, call toll-free 877-723-4538 or e-mail Brian at arenasemc@aol.com.