If you own or manage a boarding stable, riding school, or horse show venue, you've certainly had to contend with managing the arena and surrounding landscaping. And if you're tired of spending hours dealing with the problem, when time in the equestrian business equals money, here's why you should consider purchasing a zero turn mower for your arena.
Zero Turn Mowers: The Basics
A zero turn mower is exactly what it sounds like: a mower with a zero-degree turning radius. Instead of having to make large ovals with overlapping passes over an area when mowing, you can turn on a dime and cover the strip immediately next to the one you just did.
These mowers aren't just for mowing, however. You can pull a grader on the back, so dragging your arena becomes just as efficient as mowing the grass. Other attachments that you can typically attach to a zero turn mower include
- bag collector for grass clippings
- water sprayer
- yard sweeper for leaves and debris
- tool and equipment hauler platform
- cart for hay bales, feed, wood, saddles, or other supplies
The Biggest Advantage to Zero Turn Mowers for Horse Venues
The reason savvy horse venue owners and managers like zero turn mowers is the amount of time they save in arena and landscaping maintenance. When you have clients boarding at your facility, you can't afford for them to be waiting for the arena to be dragged when the footing gets sloppy. When they make time to come out to the barn to ride, they want to get going right away. Boarders who get frustrated with waiting may wind up going elsewhere with their horses.
Likewise, if you're managing a show venue, you know the headaches of getting behind schedule when the arena needs to be dragged or watered. It's not an option to provide less than optimal footing for contestants, nor is it possible to let ride times get further and further behind when multiple arena drags put the show clock in arrears. When a show goes over on time, you can wind up paying overtime to everyone involved.
A zero turn mower makes caring for landscaping much more efficient too. In addition to cutting mowing time significantly, it can perform multiple functions with one vehicle, using simple attachments. And it gets up close to trees, flower beds, and other obstacles, eliminating the need for a second pass with a weed whacker or similar tool.
Tips for Using a Zero Turn Mower
Using a zero turn mower is pretty straightforward, but there are some tips to keep in mind:
- Don't use your zero turn mower on steep slopes--not usually a problem at horse venues, which tend to be mostly flat. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for use.
- Don't use your zero turn mower on wet grass either, as it can be too slippery to get the traction you need.
- Measure your garage space and tight areas before purchasing a mower to get a mowing deck width that works for you.
- Look for extras, like cruise control, that can make your chores even easier.
- Practice with your new zero turn mower before any big events. While they don't take long to get comfortable with, there is no steering wheel; instead these mowers use two levers in the front to control turning and maneuvering.
A zero turn mower can help you increase the bottom line for your horse venue by freeing up arena time and creating more time for you or your maintenance staff. Now, if they could just get horses to turn as easily as these mowers, equestrian life would be a breeze!