Premier Equestrian is the FEI Footing Advisor for the ECCO FEI World Championships - Herning, Denmark 2022.
What sand is best for a horse arena?
There is no “arena sand.”
There are over 10,000 names of sand in the U.S. alone and not every sand is suitable for riding arenas. Quarries across the country will have different names for their sands and characteristics will vary.
Sand’s durability depends on its mineral type. As sand breaks down over time, it turns into airborne dust.
Quartz and Silica are commonly used for horse arenas because the particle hardness. Different regions of the country will affect what minerals are available.
Where Does Sand Come From?
Natural sand erodes from mountain rock. The host rock determines the exact mineral, but most sand is composed of silica from broken down quartz crystals.
This type of sand is extremely resistant to breakdown due to its chemical hardness and will last longer in arena footing.
These hard sand particles have been transported and tumbled by water, making them round or sub-angular in shape.
Rock quarries crush rock into sizes ranging from 5mm to fine dust. Mineral composition can range widely. They may be softer and break down to dust sooner.
The fines and are sold as ‘manufactured sand,’ ‘man-made sand,’ ‘crusher fines,’ or ‘stone dust.’
These particles are sharp and will compact tightly if used alone. A small amount of manufactured sand can add stabilization to footing with very round sand.