The management team at Fairfield County Hunt Club is pleased to inform exhibitors and the local equestrian community of the exciting updates and modifications made to the grass jumping fields. For one hundred years, the grounds at the club have been home to a variety of top equine sporting events and home to the Fairfield County Hunt Club stables. Boasting one of the few grass jumping fields left in the United States, the Fairfield County Hunt Club has done extensive research on optimal turf conditions and has implemented a series of elements that are set to enhance the venue.
In 2018 the Hunt Club and June Horse Show Committee made the commitment to establish revamped and more consistent horticultural practices to improve the condition and safety of the field in response to feedback received from exhibitors and trainers. It is the Hunt Club’s mission to provide an enjoyable, exciting, and safe show atmosphere for hunters and jumpers alike and they, therefore, have created a strictly-regimented program. After thorough discussion and review, the overhaul process began with full-field aerification, fertilization, and heavy top dressing. The Fairfield County Hunt Club then purchased multiple top-of-the-line mowers as well as several state-of-the-art pieces of equipment that would ensure meticulous maintenance for overall field health.
Some of these tools include –
- Vertiquake: Using multiple rotary blades, this device slices through the ground with slight vibration to decompact soil. This helps to create a softer, more forgiving surface and improve drainage, root development, and increase nutrient intake. This combination creates a healthier, tougher grass which in turn produces safer riding conditions.
- Multiple Deep Tine Aerator: The deep tine aerator creates a deeper channel than those created in regular aeration. Using a solid tine, the aerator creates channels which allow air to penetrate the soil to better provide roots with the necessary oxygen to thrive and grow. When new roots develop, they are able to enter these deeper channels which allows them to extend further into the surrounding soil and in turn have a stronger hold into the ground.
- Water Station: The decision was made to replace the previous water station we had with a new and more powerful one to properly maintain the field with the other changes made. The facility is now able to run two irrigation wheels at the same time which ensures the field receives plenty of water and doesn’t get dry or hard.
Other tools used for maintenance and preparation include a topdresser, seed spreader, and tractor rakes. The multi-step, year-round process includes pre-season prep (fertilizing, seeding and topdressing), monthly maintenance during the Summer and Fall (Vertiquaking, aerating and watering), and post-season maintenance, repairs and winterization. The team at the Hunt Club is excited to share with all 2023 exhibitors the excellent new developments to the footing, especially this year as we are seeing healthy, more resilient grass. After being given the appropriate time to mature and develop, the field is sure to be a highlight of the 2023 event.
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