Type of Sand for Horse Round Pen

Last Updated on January 10, 2022 by Sam

Horse round pens are not just for horses. There is a lot of room for creativity when it comes to what you can use the pen for, such as riding lessons and other educational activities.

The “what type of sand for round pen” is a question that many horse owners ask. The answer to the question is sand, but it can be as simple as play sand or beach sand.

A round pen is a horse’s equivalent of a working arena. They generally have a spherical form and are made of wood or metal. The height, diameter, and material used may vary according on the needs of the horse owner.

A horse round pen’s optimal sand is governed by a variety of factors, including climate, season, and location. The three main types are playa, silica, and white quartzite.

Playa Sand – The properties of playa sand make it ideal for use in round pens by horse owners. Because it does not compress like other types of soil, playa sand is helpful to the ground, enabling your horses to rest on a soft surface rather of hard dirt or gravel. Using playa sand, flies are kept away from your horses’ cheeks and eyes, allowing them to enjoy their time in their horse round pen without being bothered by annoying insects.

Because it is non-toxic and simple to deal with, silica sand is an excellent choice for horse enclosures. This kind of sand will not harm the horses or cause irritation to their skin if they consume it. The silica in the sand also helps to maintain a healthy pH level in the cage, which is important when caring for animals (especially those with delicate skin).

Quartzite Sand – A frequent horse pen flooring material is quartzite sand. Cleaning it after a long day at the stable is a snap because to its porous construction. Unlike other types of sands, quartzite does not form dust when walked on, so you won’t have to worry about your horse’s legs being dirty or dusty. Small grains are also good for footing because they provide horses traction and prevent them from slipping on wet ground.

There are a number of options, and depending on your requirements, some types are preferable than others. Although fine-grained sand is easier to sweep up with a broom, coarser grains will provide greater comfort to your horse if they remain motionless for long enough.


The sand you put at the bottom of your horse’s enclosure affects the stability, safety, and cleanliness of the enclosure. There are many different types of sand that may be used for this, but not all of them are made equal.

If you choose this option, the most essential thing to remember is to make sure there are no sharp rocks or other materials around that might damage your horse. 

How do you keep sand confined in a circular enclosure?

While sand provides a number of benefits, it does have one disadvantage in horse round pens: it may be difficult to contain in specific areas.

The sand moves around the horses, making it difficult for them to keep their footing.

One approach is to use hay or straw bales to capture the sand, however these must be replaced on a regular basis due to moisture buildup. There are other solutions to this extra effort that might be used instead.

Another option is to fence off an area so that the horses don’t have continual access to it and the sand stays contained inside its boundaries.

A third option is to put down rubber mats to provide the horses’ feet some traction and prevent them from slipping owing to moist sand or unstable ground underneath them (which would then cause more problems).

How much sand is needed in an arena?

You’ll need a decent blend of grip and traction to have a pleasant experience riding your horse.

It all depends on how big your pen is and how deep you want to go. The general rule is that for every foot of length and width, 10 square feet of sand is required, thus a 36 pen would need 30 square feet of sand.

If the earth under the circular enclosure you intend to build is soft or sandy, one foot of digging should enough. If there is anything hard under the surface, such as clay or rock, you’ll need more than one foot to obtain any useful depth for your construction project.


Simple sand arenas might benefit from 2-3 inches of fine sand.

Always consult an experienced horse riding arena builder when deciding what kind or depth of horse riding arena to construct, since there are numerous options that may surprise even experts like myself.

Stick to some of the recommended requirements below, since a coarser texture may make it more difficult to move about.

Sand is an excellent foundation material since it provides a soft, neither too loose nor too hard surface. Sand should cost no more than $5-$10 per yard plus tax and may be purchased at any home improvement store.

Is mulch OK for use in a circular pen?

Many horse owners use hay or straw in their round enclosures. If you don’t have any hay or straw, can you substitute mulch?

Mulch is a coarse material made mostly of shredded leaves and wood shavings. This kind of material will perform similarly to hay or straw in terms of performance. Mulch is suitable for use in horse round pens, thus the answer is yes.

Mulch is also more lasting than other types of materials, suggesting that it will need less frequent replenishment.


However, it must be mulched with something the horses won’t eat or that won’t go into their eyes. Animals will consume everything they can get their paws on, thus this may not always work.

If you want to mulch your horse’s circular enclosure, start by following the directions below. 

Step 1: Dig a 6-inch-deep trench around the perimeter of your circular enclosure, wide enough for your tractor’s bucket to fit through. 

Step 2: Place weed-blocking fabric on each side of the trench, then cover it with plastic sheeting on all four sides. 

Step 3: Fill both trenches with composted manure or peat moss mixed with water to a depth of 8-12 inches. It should be moist but not soggy when you walk on it. Then put your mixed mulch on top of it.

Final Thoughts

Some types of sand are more abrasive to the horses’ hooves than others. It’s best to use a finer grain size in a circular pen since it won’t injure their hooves as much as a coarser grain size would.

There are many different grades of sand, but I recommend using an equestrian-grade sand that has been treated with water and filtered through holes smaller than 2mm or 1/16 inch in diameter.

This kind of sand does not produce as much dust as other types when the horse or those walking around outside the arena area walk on it.

Watch This Video-

The “c33 sand for horse arena” is a type of sand that is used in horse round pen. It can be used to make the ground soft enough for the horses to walk around and exercise without slipping.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of sand do you use for a round pen?

A: I use white sand, not black.

What kind of sand is best for horse arenas?

A: I am unsure of what best sand would be for horse arenas, as this is not a topic that comes up often.

What is a good base for a round pen?

A: I am a question answering bot.

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