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Arena sand: desired coarseness?

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    Arena sand: desired coarseness?

    I'll preface this by saying YES, I know that footing should be *angular* sand, not round.

    As the title says, what is the desired, preferred particle size for arena footing? Coarser vs finer, or something in between?

    Everyone seems to call their sands by different names, which varies not only by region but seemingly also from vendor to vendor. I am not going to simply trust what a vendor sells as 'arena sand' to actually be what I want, especially since anything branded for equestrian use usually means it carries a hefty markup.

    #2
    In my case, Central Texas, the thing you ask for is called "granite sand". It is a manufactured sand. I do not know the grain sizes, sorry.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

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      Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
      In my case, Central Texas, the thing you ask for is called "granite sand". It is a manufactured sand. I do not know the grain sizes, sorry.
      See, this is what I mean!

      ​​​​​I am not necessarily looking for a specific grain size in measurement (we're talking millimeters), I don't need to be that specific, I just want to know what region of the coarse to fine spectrum to shoot for in an outdoor arena.

      I am thinking towards the coarse end would provide for better drainage, at least in theory...

      Comment


        #4
        I order "coarse washed sand." It's always different from quarry to quarry and even time to time from the same quarry. I've received anything from high percentage small pea gravel (but more angular) to beach-ish sand (but still angular). I've never been super unhappy with any of it. So out of that I can say - especially living in a wet area (Seattle-ish area), I always aim for more angular than not.
        __________________________________
        Flying F Sport Horses
        Horses in the NW

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          #5
          To add to my post, when I was selecting sand, I read that a variation of grain size is a factor in firmness. Go to Premier Footings and order their sample pack. It comes with a little booklet that has everything you would ever want to know about sand. It costs a wee bit, but well worth it. If you are nice to me, and apologize for you "this is what I mean" statement, I will go find my booklet and look up for you what they say about grain size and gradations.
          Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

          Comment


            #6
            What you want to do is contact your local suppliers/quarries and ask them for a gradation of their sand. That will tell you how coarse a given sample is. At least here in IL, the printout comes out and shows how much percent passes through various sieves, so that will give you a very good idea of how much super fine vs how much coarser is in a given sample.
            It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

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              #7
              If you do get some gradations and want some help interpreting them, feel free to shoot me a PM.
              It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
                To add to my post, when I was selecting sand, I read that a variation of grain size is a factor in firmness. Go to Premier Footings and order their sample pack. It comes with a little booklet that has everything you would ever want to know about sand. It costs a wee bit, but well worth it. If you are nice to me, and apologize for you "this is what I mean" statement, I will go find my booklet and look up for you what they say about grain size and gradations.
                I didn't mean to be offensive, sorry! It just made me chuckle because there seems to be lots of different names for the same product. I have honestly never seen granite sand offered around here, but I'm not exactly near any granite either.

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                  #9
                  A friend has VERY coarse footing, almost pea gravel size. She likes it, it drains amazingly well, but I think it lacks the cushioning effect of a smaller grain. (Of course, she rides a really big almost 18 hand guy....) My sand is too fine (I'm in the process of getting it fixed) and it gets too packed.....

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I would be careful about sand that's *too* coarse if your horse is barefoot. Years back I boarded at a barn with an amazing professionally done outdoor, year-round usage. My mare was barefoot. One day she just refused to go in there. Upon looking further at her feet I realized the sand had abraded her to the point of soreness.

                    Even now, in the barn I'm at, the people who are barefoot put boots of some sort on before they ride.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
                      I would be careful about sand that's *too* coarse if your horse is barefoot. Years back I boarded at a barn with an amazing professionally done outdoor, year-round usage. My mare was barefoot. One day she just refused to go in there. Upon looking further at her feet I realized the sand had abraded her to the point of soreness.

                      Even now, in the barn I'm at, the people who are barefoot put boots of some sort on before they ride.
                      Interesting. I can't say I've ever known anyone that actually had this occur, but I can see how it might happen with an overly abrasive surface on some horses.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        After finally getting my indoor arena footing straightened out (it involved getting rid of fiber footing) I drove all over looking at arenas for footing I liked. I found it through a new friend who also hated her fiber footing. It is a limestone screening mixed with a DOT manufactured product. I had her arena builder, who was 2 hours away, come and put it on for me. The takeaway from this was that he never trusts what the quarries tell him on the phone. He goes and looks at the product in person.

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                          #13
                          Just to throw another Sand Term.....Contractor Grade sometimes called Playground sand.....Was/Is the sand I get for the ring from the Quarry. They never offer a graded difference in terms of fine to course. I buy a lot of product from #2,s to Modified and Stone Dust/Blue Stone ...We have 2 well 3 Quarries very close buy. I do know River Sand is the course round grain not suitable for riding rings. Let us know what you find out.....

                          Comment


                            #14
                            When I called the gravel yard I told them what I was using it for and they let me know what all the other horse people bought. They were very helpful.

                            I also think you have to be careful when getting suggestions because it appears that some fiber additives need a different type of sand so the fiber will not make it too stable. Using that sand alone and it rolls too much under foot.
                            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
                              Just to throw another Sand Term.....Contractor Grade sometimes called Playground sand.....Was/Is the sand I get for the ring from the Quarry. They never offer a graded difference in terms of fine to course. I buy a lot of product from #2,s to Modified and Stone Dust/Blue Stone ...We have 2 well 3 Quarries very close buy. I do know River Sand is the course round grain not suitable for riding rings. Let us know what you find out.....
                              I will update once we get to buying... Right now the ground is too swampy to even drive the tractor across much, nevermind bringing dump trucks in. Just trying to plan it out since I can't do much else

                              Comment


                                #16
                                When I moved to SC from Iowa, I noticed people using "gravel dust or limestone screenings" in place of sand. I rode in an outdoor arena with this product and liked it so I put it in my covered arena.

                                Keeping it watered is imperative! One of my horses gets a bloody nose and coughs up blood if the dust is allowed to stir and he breaths it in. I would NEVER use this again and plan to remove it.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post

                                  I will update once we get to buying... Right now the ground is too swampy to even drive the tractor across much, nevermind bringing dump trucks in. Just trying to plan it out since I can't do much else
                                  Ugh. I need a load of 53s (limestone dust to 1 1/2 inches) for my pasture gate, 2 loads for my turnaround, a load of Dusty 12 for my arena base, and then a load of sand but it all needs to wait until things dry out, which I think will be June.
                                  http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment

                                    Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post

                                    Ugh. I need a load of 53s (limestone dust to 1 1/2 inches) for my pasture gate, 2 loads for my turnaround, a load of Dusty 12 for my arena base, and then a load of sand but it all needs to wait until things dry out, which I think will be June.
                                    I expect it will be close to June here too, maybe May if we get an unusually dry spring. I also need about 5 loads of rock to replenish the driveway, fix the base under the stalls that has shifted, and hopefully rock over my dry lot which is a disgusting swamp right now. However, since I've been waiting 8 years for this arena, footing for that is my top priority.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I live in central Texas where I live on beach sand and grow coastal hay. I used it for my arena footing on top of a base but it’s so fine that it’s literally blowing away in the wind. I have so much wind erosion I need to amend it or add something to it so it stops blowing away. It’s alright to ride on for dressage work. It drains amazingly well and drags nice. Courser sand or a clay?

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