IT IS SAND/FINE DIRT COLIC SEASON! This is what I use to avoid sand colic!

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 | Filed under Medical

I never, ever even considered sand colic, until Slick was stricken.  I had never even heard of it…

But once you have any kind of colic, you want to avoid it like the plague.

So, I want you to be sure you are armed with this information –  what the vets told me to do to prevent sand colic… I want to share.

(Sand colic symptoms:  very loose stool…  Be aware.  Here is a great article from Animal Medical Center on Sand Colic.)

Click image to read article


When Slick was ill, I had his attending vet helping him, and then I had my old vet from Oregon telling me the ways he avoided sand colic ‘in the old days’.

First thing is to get the feed off of the ground.  The best is to put down stall mats and then feed them out of large bins (like grower’s bins – pictured – you can get them from orchards and vineyards, ask for the broken ones that no longer stack.) or large Rubbermaid water tubs tied to your fence or something.

Most important, get the feed off of the ground. Use stall mats and put a tall, sturdy feeder on top of that. You can get these bins used from orchard growers and vineyards. Or purchase from farm suppliers.

So, the Old Tyme vet told me to get some large tapioca pearls and add them to their beet pulp daily.

I think this idea is brilliant!  Those pearls are very sticky and I think they do a great job!  You can go online and google “large, tapioca pearls, bulk” and find the best price.  They are cheap.  I use them daily.

Oh, and the soaked beet pulp pellets are also a must.  The soaked beet pulp pellets (not shreds) bring moisture the gut and do a great job of moving the fine sand and dirt along the gut…

My recipes:  I use Beet Pulp Pellets instead of shreds because pellets have less sugar and carry more water.  The water is the key.  Use a steel scoop into a pail or buckets – fill 1″ from top with water.  Should be sloppy but not watery.  More wet than a mash.  Experiment until you get it right… I refrigerate mine while it is soaking.  Keeps it fresh longer.  REMEMBER to make sure you soak it long enough to break down all the pellets.  I soak mine overnight.  However, several hours should work well, just make sure they are completely broken down.

For the psyllium powder, it comes with a plastic scoop.  I use one scoop per feed.  I use a 20cc plastic scoop (common size)  for the Chia Seed.  And then I pour about a quarter cup of tapioca pearls.  It doesn’t matter what size pearls you purchase.

This is my arsenal. I use soaked beet pulp pellets daily, chia seed daily and psyllium POWDER and Tapioca pearls the first week of every month.

This is a steel feed scoop. I use this to scoop the beet pulp. It fills about a quarter of a bucket. Add water to an inch or two from the top. You want it sloppy but not soupy. Wet. Experiment with this until the consistency is correct.


The new vet agreed that soaked beet pulp pellets were a great base to help with sand colic.  He also said to get Psyllium pellets… well, I have found that Psyllium POWDER does the very best job.  I give that to them on top of the soaked beet pulp during the first week of the month.

He also told me that Chia seeds are sticky when wet and it is a bonus that I already feed that because it helps with sand colic.  So Chia Seeds are a good idea as well.  I feed them daily.

So far, after I was educated with Slick’s colic, I have not had another bout, although Gwen and BG are prone because they like to hoover the ground.  I watch them carefully.

This is their sand colic bucket… soaked beet pulp buckets, topped with tapioca pearls, chia seed and psyllium powder.

They all love their buckets! This is Finn and Beautiful Girl eating their gut cleanse of a mixture.


I know that many of you cannot believe that there is a colic cure in a paste, but there is.  I stand as a witness.  It has saved me a few times over the years.

Say Whoa!  It works on colic, other than twisted gut.  My advice is to have it on hand, call the vet after administering it, and then only pay the ranch call fee because the horse will be coming out of it by the time the vet arrives.

Horse and Man readers always get a $10 off coupon.  Go to the Say Whoa to Colic site and  use the code “HMfund” upon checkout.  I highly recommend having a tube on your shelf – for you or your neighbors.  I cannot tell you how many times I have saved a friends’ horse by having a tube on hand.

Click image to go to site and use code “HMfund” to get the discount!


Tapioca, chia seed and psyllium.  The Chia is good for their topline, anyway.  I doubt the Tapioca pearls do anything… and the psyllium has no nutritional value… but the physical and emotional value is huge.

And, get some Say Whoa!  If you can, get it.  I don’t want you to regret not having it…

Slick was prone to sand colic because he was very interested in nibbling all day. He’d hoover up dirt while he was picking about.  It is my experience that certain horses are prone to sand colic due to their eating preferences.  Like Gwen, who prefers to dump her hay onto the ground than use the feeder…


OUR JUNE BUCKET FUND HORSE:  SAMSON… BLINDED BY HIS OWNER AND STARVED, he was walked for 5.5 hours out of the Grand Canyon.  Can we help right this wrong?!  Click here to read his story.    Click here to donate!


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9 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    I do give Chia daily… but it is also a good helper in clearing sand.
    To clear sand, I use (the first week of every month) Tapioca pearls, chia seed, psyllium powder and soaked beet pulp pellets.

  2. Renee

    Hi Dawn – in the sand colic post, you said you give chia daily and also the first week of every month. Can you clarify? Thanks. Also, I just got back from a wildfire evacuation so you might want to post something about that some time. I suggest having a comprehensive plan and don’t think you will necessarily have time to do more than one run so if you have many horses, plan to have help. Be sure you can get your horses in a trailer. If not, have an alternative plan. Practice if possible. Those are the basics but there’s lots more.

  3. dawndi Post author

    Never feel stupid! It was a great question. In fact, I added a photo with some expanded
    instructions. Refresh the blogpost and you will see it. Thank you!

  4. dawndi Post author

    I use pellets because they have less sugar and carry more water. The water is the key for sand colic.

  5. dawndi Post author

    Yes, of course! I forgot to add that part… Feed inside of a large Rubbermaid bin or a fruit bin – one that cannot easily be moved
    or the hay thrown out. Feed on mats. Yes! That is a big part of it. Thank you!

  6. Judith

    Hi — we swore by Psyllium (same ingredient as in over-the-counter preparations for humans) at a barn where the paddocks were sand. Another thing we did was to feed on mats. Sure, some of the hay and grain will be dribbled out off the mats, but I think it did help. Old stall mats — there was a barn at that place — were what we used.

    Cheers — Judith

  7. Lori Bowers


    I am wondering why beet pulp pellets as opposed to shreds? I have fed shreds for years because I believe they add and keep water in the system, so just curious. Thanks!

  8. MARY


    Could you please add the amounts of each ingredient…thanks!
    Yes! A steel scoop of beet pulp. Fill bucket with water. Should be wet, not dry, when it plumps up. A quarter cup tapioca pearls. Small or large pearls are OK. One plastic scoop (regular sized) of chia. Same with psyllium. It comes with the scoop.

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