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Long story short, I am on a committee that will be organizing a show next summer, and we are discussing venues. One option has grass, which is not something anyone around here does. What are the pros and cons of showing hunter / jumper on grass? Is it different for barefoot vs shod horses? Is the grass prone to get slippery if it happens to be wet? Do horses who are used to being shown on sand (the preferred footing at every other venue around here) have to adjust to grass, and would that be cause for concern?

I realize grass is used in other countries, but here, the footing is always some kind of sand, so I'm a little concerned about having a show on grass. Educate me please!
 

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Long answer short, any type of footing is going to be different and have to be managed differently.

It is totally okay to host the show on grass, but there are differences in risks and management, and the competitors should be made aware so they can prepare accordingly. It does ride differently than sand.

Grass is uneven terrain and cannot be dragged between rounds to even the surfaces; if a chunk gets taken out by an errant shoe or cork, it can’t be fixed (other than trying to stomp the turf to try to lessen the divot). On the plus side, you don’t need regular drag and watering breaks.

Grass is at the mercy of the climate and weather more so than (well managed) sand - if the weather is hot and dry, the ground can be very hard and unforgiving. If rainy and wet, the grass can be slippery and soft. Basically, grass can be more “dangerous” than properly managed sand, just because of its nature and that you can’t micromanage the surface.

People (myself included) ride and jump on grass all the time; it’s perfectly acceptable and safe, just outlining the differences.

Barefoot and shod horses can both compete on grass, horses that are shod may require corks to improve traction which will eat up the turf more as there are holes being poked in the ground.

Where I live, hunters are typically run on sand and jumpers on grass, but either can be held on either surface really.
 
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