Testing your horse’s manure for the presence of sand is a simple procedure that may provide you with some valuable information. Sand accumulation in your horse’s digestive tract can cause abdominal pain or colic. In Western Australia, we tend to see high numbers of sand colics due to our sandy soils.

To test your horse’s manure for sand, just follow this simple procedure :

1. Collect a handful of fresh manure into a glove or zip-lock bag. Be careful not to pickup dirt when collecting your sample.

2. Invert the glove and fill it with water. If using a zip-lock bag, simply add water to the bag so that it is 2/3 full.

3. Allow the glove to hang from a gatepost for a few minutes. The sand will accumulate in the fingers.orClip the corner of the zip-lock bag to the fence post, allowing one corner to point towards the ground. The sand will accumulate in this corner.

4. Wait a few minutes and check to see how much sand has accumulated in the fingers or corners of the bag. Anything more than a tablespoon means that your horse has a high sand burden and you should take steps to help remove the sand.


Other ways to test your horse for sand :


  1. Your veterinarian will conduct a full physical examination and this includes listening to the abdomen. Sand is heavy and accumulates in the lower part of the abdomen. Sand typically sounds like waves moving off a sandy beach. This is a very subjective way to check for sand, and the absence of ‘sand sounds’ does not mean your horse is free of sand.
  2. Sand will show up on radiographs. Sand is very dense and x-rays are very useful in determining if sand is present, how much sand is present, and how effective the treatment protocol is at removing the sand (ie. xrays taken before and after a course of oil/psyllium)