PROS: easy to clean CONS: not absorbent; can make a horse’s coat gritty; not soft; need to feed hay out of racks or pans to reduce ingestion of sand
Although sand is not widely used as a bedding material, in areas where it is abundant some horsekeepers make it work.
“I worked at one place where they bedded horses on sand,” says Nielsen. “There are plusses and minuses. Stall cleaning was very simple and didn’t take long; the sand falls right through your apple-picker fork. A disadvantage is poor water absorption. It may stay a bit wet unless you bring in new sand, but you are really not taking the sand out because you can sift through it so easily. Horses’ hair coats can become sandy, and another disadvantage is that it’s not very soft for them to lie down on. It tends to pack and get hard,” he says. “In some places, it may work because it’s available and costeffective. “Maybe in a dry climate with low humidity it will stay drier.”
If you do choose to bed on sand, it’s vital to feed hay from pans or mats or racks---never directly off the floor. Otherwise, horses may ingest sand as they eat hay, leading to an accumulation in their gut and sand colic.