Every year we get fresh gravel for our paddocks before winter starts. As a native east coaster, this seemed like a weird practice to me at first, but it makes sense out here. Our horse have constant access to their paddocks and the rain in the winter would otherwise turn their paddocks into mud pits.
You can kind of see in the picture that there are also some mats in the paddocks and the stalls are matted. Last year we also ordered sand and added it to the back of Eugene and Nilla’s paddocks to give them a place to lie down that wasn’t as rough as the gravel, but could still hold up to the rain and keep their paddocks from being muddy. They both loved it.
When we moved Eugene and Levi into their pasture, the one thing missing was a sand pit. Eugene definitely missed his. When we put him in Nilla’s paddock for a few weeks to heal his popped splint, the first thing he did was head straight to her sand pit and roll – multiple times.
In addition to being enjoyable for the horses to roll and lie in, we wanted to add the sand pit so that the boys would have a place to roll that wasn’t in the dirt. They’ve gotten so dusty lately we have to wash our hands after touching them.
It took a while to organize, but our barn owner finally had a few tons of sand delivered last week. Then we just had to figure out how to get it from the driveway to their pasture. I found a rentable skidsteer small enough to fit down the path to our pasture and we picked it up this past weekend.
Renting the damned thing was probably the biggest hassle. The rental place was insanely busy and chaotic. It was really hard to get in with our truck and then out with the skidsteer on it’s trailer, but we got it done. Back at the barn, my husband zipped back and forth collecting sand and dumping it in the Mustangs’ favorite rolling spot. I tried doing it once, but it was actually really hard to steer and I was taking a lot longer, so I let my husband do most of the work. I did collect manure (we do our own stall/pasture cleaning on Saturdays) and then went to get lunch for us.
It took a few hours, but in the end, we had a huge pile of sand for the Mustangs to enjoy. They had been in the small arena while we were doing the work. We took them over together and let them lose to check it out and they did not disappoint.
First they had to sniff it and check it out:
Then paw it:
And finally, there was a lot of intense rolling:
Levi was so happy, he flopped over to just lie there after rolling a few times.
It’s really rewarding to see them so happy. Especially when producing that happiness is so expensive and time consuming. But they are so happy, it’s worth it.
Because this is the horse blogosphere, I know someone will feel like they need to comment on the dangers of sand and horses. So I am going to go ahead and pre-address those concerns. All of our horses already get a monthly sand clear treatment. They also eat of of troughs that don’t have sand in them and aren’t anywhere near the sand pit. Could they possible get sand colic? Sure. I suppose anything is possible, but we are aware of and managing the risks.
And our horses are very happy:
P.S. Don’t forget to enter the TSF Girth Giveaway.