Horse walkers, also called hot walkers or horse exercisers, are an important asset for any horse owner, breeder, or trainer. Once your horse walker is installed at your farm, indoors or out, it will instantly become a vital part of your equipment.
Especially in areas with a lack of open pasture, a horse walker can allow the horses to get out and stretch their legs on a daily basis and can even be used to break in young horses for riding.¹ Easy access to regulated exercise, and the ability to exercise multiple horses at once, reduces boredom and increases strength and flexibility for our equine friends.
We have covered the benefits of using a horse walker in past articles. Here we will go over the basics of horse walker installation and how you can do it yourself. We will also cover some frequently asked questions about horse walkers.
What Is a Standard Horse Walker Diameter?
Horse walkers come in a variety of sizes. Current commercially produced horse walkers generally come in diameters ranging from 50 to 72 feet. Q-Line horse exercisers also come in larger diameters or with dual tracks upon request.
The biggest factor in choosing what size horse walker to put in is how much space you have available in the best location. Getting the largest walker that will fit in the space is generally considered to be best for the horses, as the larger the circle (or oval) the more natural their gait will be.
What Are the Different Types of Horse Walkers?
Horse walkers come in two basic types: ground standing or ceiling mounted.
Ground standing horse walkers have a central drive mechanism that is centered in the ring on a concrete pad or foundation. The arms extend out from this central drive and hold the dividers for the moving pens in the exerciser track.
Ground standing walkers can be used under full cover or partial cover or in the open air.
A ceiling mounted horse walker has the central drive mechanism and arms affixed to the ceiling of a covered exercise area. The advantage of a ceiling mount system is that the center area can be kept open as a lunging pen or training space.
Can I Install a Horse Walker Myself?
The simple answer to this question is a resounding “Yes you can!” With some basic site preparation basic tools, you can install your new horse walker quickly and easily.
Your new horse walker comes with a complete set of comprehensive instructions for installation. Read through the complete process before beginning and contact our service representatives with any questions.
Horse Walker Installation Tips
Before installing your horse walker, there are some things to consider. Proper placement, as well as site preparation, will make installation day a breeze. Here are some aspects to consider:
Choosing the Area for Your New Horse Walker
You will want to choose an area for your horse walker so that it is located in an area easily accessed by both horses and trainers with enough room to easily negotiate doorways and openings. This location will also need to have access to 110v single phase power. Remember to check with your utility companies to make sure the area is free from existing underground cables, pipes, or wires.
Create a Foundation for the Central Motor
If you are installing a ground standing model, you will need to lay a concrete pad to support the central mechanism. Create a pad with footings exceeding the frost line in your area to prevent the concrete base from heaving due to freeze and thaw cycles.
A roof mounted system will not need a central concrete pad, though you may want to install one to support the control panel.
Site Preparation for Electric and Drainage
After placing conduits for electric lines to supply power, the site will need to be prepared so that there is maximum drainage. Ideally, there should be no pooling or standing water on the track area, as a wet surface can lead to injuries due to poor footing. If the area is not roofed and pooling water is an issue in that location, you may want to install a french drain system to keep the area dry.
In a roofed area, drainage will be less of an issue. If you are installing a roof mounted system, there should not be a drainage issue if the building you choose to install your horse walker in is already dry.
Choose a Surface Material
It is important that your horses feel safe and secure so that they can relax and get the most out of their time in the exerciser. The appropriate surface material will create good footing and keep your horses comfortable and injury free.
The footing material you choose should provide appropriate traction and also be impact absorbing. The most popular choice for the footing is a good quality sand. The track area should be dragged regularly in order to keep your surface smooth and safe.
Footing material should also be moistened periodically to reduce dust particles in the air while helping it to continue to absorb the impact created by the horses’ hooves.
Order Your New Horse Walker Today
Vitafloor carries Q-Line horse walkers that are crafted with quality. Once installed, these walkers are virtually maintenance free. All parts of Q-Line horse exercisers are galvanized to maximize the lifespan of your walker. Exposed galvanized surfaces can be powder coated in a variety of colors. Using cutting edge technology, these horse walkers are designed to keep your horses safe and healthy. Shop our line of horse walkers and contact us here at Vitafloor USA, Inc. with any questions you might have.