Deciding how much sand you need to complete your horse arena can be a difficult, intimidating task. Order too much and you end up overspending on the sand itself and on redistributing the leftover sand. Don’t order enough and you end up having to spend more money to ship more in.

To help you with that, we have this arena sand calculator to help you determine the amount of sand required so that you don’t overspend or underestimate how much you actually need.

How to Choose the Proper Horse Arena Sand Depth

There are all different types of materials that you can implement in your arena depending on what materials are readily available near your location. One of the most common materials is river sand, but there are other sands you can choose to. Particle size and shape are two of the most important factors when considering which type of sand to choose.

Once you pick your primary footing material, you need to determine how much you will need. This is where things get a little tricky because there are no exact rules for the depth of your arena.

Eileen E. Fabian, PH.D. of Penn State University proposes starting with two inches of sand and then adding more in half-inch intervals as needed. For arenas specifically designated for driving, you can start with 1.5 inches, and you generally shouldn’t go above 6 inches.

Conversely, an article from Horse Journals, Wolfgang Winkler, owner of 4W’s Consulting in Metchosin, BC says that “the depth of the cushion can vary a lot from about one to two inches for a dressage or jumper horse to six to eight inches for a cutting horse.”

Regardless of the depth you choose, consistency is the most important part. If your footing is uneven, the horses — and potentially their riders — could easily get injured or lose confidence.

How Much Sand Should I Get? Our Arena Sand Calculator

Once you decide on a depth that works for you, you must determine how much sand you will actually need. Providers will offer sand in measurements such as cubic yards and pounds. Here is a step by step process that you can use to determine the number of cubic yards you will need for your arena, or you can simply plug your numbers into our calculator.

  1. Determine the area. To determine the area of your arena, you will need to multiply the length by the width. You can do this calculation in feet or yards, and the answer will be the area in cubic feet or cubic yards.   
  2. Determine the depth. This number depends on what practices you will host in your arena. As mentioned above, you should probably not go above six inches, and it is better to start with less and add more. You should start in inches and then determine how many inches are in a cubic yard.
  3. Multiply the area and depth. Before you do this calculation, make sure that the depth and area are both in the same units — either feet, inches, or yards. This will give you the volume. You can then give this number to your material provider, or continue onto the next step.
  4. Convert to Weight. Most material providers can use the volume to find this number. But if your sand provider requires a weight, then you must multiply the volume and the density — a number that varies depending on the type of sand.

One other factor to consider: most arena footings don’t only implement sand. They have other additive products, and that’s where we come in.

What does Performance Footing Offer?

Here at Performance Footing, we pride ourselves in our quality footing additive: FoamFooting. This additive enhances your primary footing materials by

  • Softening the impact on hooves
  • Decreasing the amount of dust
  • Reducing the amount of watering
  • Improving cushioning
  • Enabling longer training sessions
  • Preventing injuries

If you are interested in learning more about high-quality arena footing, please schedule a consultation with us. We look forward to working with you.