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This is the best place I could think to ask this question. I figured there would be plenty of horse people on here and this question is tangentially related to horses.

I have an area of my pasture that has basically been destroyed. The horses eat in this area in the winter and drink from nearby all year round. The ground has eroded quite a bit from them making holes in the mud and carrying it off on their feet over the year. It doesn't help that they kill the grass and the rain run off erodes it to. There is nothing to do about that. I'm not interested in feeding them in different areas as this would be a ton of extra work and the 4-wheeler and even the horses would eventually mess these areas up as well. Better to have one sacrificial area.

What I'm looking for is the depth I need to mix in sand to make the clay harder. I'm basing this off of building a footing for an arena. I don't want to use anything like gravel or concrete wash, because they'd cause more problems in the long run than they'd solve now. I was watching a tv show on how they improved the Kentucky Horse Park for the FEI games and one arena builder built the bases for these arenas by mixing 50/50 sand and clay. He said you can pack it, but not as well as mother nature can in 6 months.

My hope is that if I get sand and mix it with the clay where the horses eat, they won't be standing in deep mud. This reduces the risk of illness through things like scratches, it makes the horses more comfortable, and reduces my irritation in blanketing in the mud.

Here is my math. 300' of fence line, 10' wide strip, 3" deep. This ends up being 750cubic/ft. There are 27cubic/ft. in a cubic yard. So 750/27= ~28cubic/yards. I figure that if you mix 3" of sand with the top 3" of clay, evenly, you'll end up with a 6" bed, which I think would be fine. Google says a standard dump truck contains 10-14 cubic/yards of sand. So (2) dump truck loads would do the area.

Do you guys think this would be deep enough to firm up the footing in a 300'x10' strip for the horses to stand on when eating. I don't need it to be like asphalt, I just want it hard enough that they aren't sinking and leaving huge holes. Could I go shallower and only do 1.5" of sand, so I'd have 3" of hardened base? Do I even need to mix it, or will it mix well enough as the horses walk on it and stomp it into the mud below?

Thanks for the help guys. If you have a question about something I've left out, feel free to ask and I'll update with the answer.

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  • there is a type of salt often used on dusty horse tracks it is magnesiumcloride it is often used to bind dust and it makes the surface of clay and dirt harder. Mar 13 '18 at 22:08
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    I have a horsey friend who will know the answer to this. I'll get back to you.
    – user6796
    Mar 13 '18 at 22:37

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