What is the "Gold Standard"?
The Gold Standard refers to any safe, consistent, fair-performing ground
used for barrel racing and rodeo events.

What factors make up good ground?
-Geographical location
-Compostion: sand, silt, clay, organcis, etc.
-Water quality: hardness, sodium, etc.
-Equipment availability

What makes up your surface?

What makes up your cushion profile?
The cushion profile is composed of two sections:
cushion surface (loose, harrowed upper section), 
and the cushion pad (the underlying compacted lower layer).
Your cushion composition should be high in sand with lesser parts of silt, clay, and organic matter.
Particle size distribution and shape can vary from surface to surface but is important to study.
Organics such as bark can also be used to add "life" and moisture rentention capabilities to
the surface. 
Preparing the cushioin profile for competition.
It is obvioulsy important to give yourself as much time as possible to prepare your ground for competition.
Unfortunately that is not always an option. 
You should rip or till to uniformly loosen cushion profile section. 
With proper soil moisture conditioner the cushion profile is level and compacted to a comfortable soil
density. Harrow your upper cushion profile to a specific depth which corresponds the type of events and the desired footing conditions.

What are some simple ways to make a change?
You can follow these guidelines: 
- Start preparing the ground as far in advance to your competition
-Work the ground as needed to maintain consistency 
throughout the rodeo
-Maintain optimum soil moisture
-Test your surface
-Identify potential problems before they occur
-Know where to spend your money; whether it's in materials, equipment, etc. Get more bang for your buck! 

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