View Full Version : 24/7 TO: Traction SOS: 43 & rain to 10 degrees

Dec. 27, 2010, 05:58 PM
I am dreading this weekend. Forecast is for rain to start on Wed, then be a mix of snow/sleet/rain and then heavy rain (2 inches perhaps) proceeded by a 40 degree drop in temps. I WILL have ice. In other years, I have used sand, but the sand pile is frozen and under feet of snow anyway.

I have 24/7 TO with a run in (thus I have very little wet shavings mix to use for traction) next to a flat paddock area that I typically keep cleared. As I said, I WILL have ice.

I have used hay (spread it around during the rain and let it freeze in and then the surface breaks up a bit when they walk on it) in the past, as well as kitty litter (when I was a BM). I have not used kitty litter at my own place yet because I didn't like the "mud" it seemed to leave in the Spring. (paddock drains well in nearly all weather, I am worried about the kitty litter mud wrecking it). Of course, spending hours in the spring scraping off kitty litter mud beats a broken leg, but..

Pet safe salt still says not to eat it, and I don't think it works REALLY well, so I am not so fond of that path.

Long story long, I am looking for other ideas for traction. Out of the box stuff I may not have heard of. I am not looking at the lowest cost, but don't have unlimited funds either.

I am thinking of trying to have sand delivered....

Thanks in advance.

Dec. 27, 2010, 06:07 PM
Gah! Here, here. I'm already wailing to DH about the upcoming weather. In the past I've used shavings, cat litter, salt, hay, straw but the best and cheapest has been the ground up manure and sand mixture found in their run-in shelters. An endless supply being a great feature. :lol:

I'm also curious as to what others use for large areas.

Wishing you good luck and also for just plain snow.

Dec. 27, 2010, 10:41 PM
Go to the feed mill and buy barn lime, coarse barn lime if you can get it. It is ground up limestone. It is gritty and
will give traction on ice. It is just limestone rock ground fine so it is perfectly safe for plants and animals. All it
will do if your horses eat any is give them a very small boost in their dietary calcium. Quite cheap, runs around
$2 per 50# bag where I live.

Dec. 27, 2010, 10:49 PM
Stall dry. Pretty expensive per bag.

Or NAPA sells a spill dry product that is non food grade diatomaceous earth.

My understanding is stall dry is food grade therefore more expensive.

Neither will get mucky like kitty litter ( which is basically clay). It actually firms ip the ground where you use it.

Best of luck in those nasty conditions.

Dec. 28, 2010, 12:32 AM
Thanks for the stall dry tip. I don't think their is a retailer at all close to me.

I think I am going to get some sand delivered, will check into that.

I read on another horse list about chicken grit? That sounds like something that they might try to eat though and I would worry about colic? )(Not knowing if I should worry or not).

My younger mare has a limestone fetish (she ate mouthfuls once - I couldn't believe it was happening so didn't grab the bucket away for way too long - think slow motion - she didn't have any obvious side effects though and is alive and well today) - I would hope that she wouldn't lick and lick and lick it all up and OD on it...


Dec. 28, 2010, 02:38 PM
Chicken grit is actually just a variation of sand or very small pebbles.

Some good tips, I forgot about the barn lime, I have used that also. And another farmer proven anti slip is wood ash. Too bad I recently quit burning wood.

Dec. 28, 2010, 07:55 PM
Ash from a fireplace or woodstove works but is messy if you track it into the house.

Be careful how you handle the ash. Don't put a bucket of hot ashes on your wooden deck

Dec. 28, 2010, 08:03 PM
Muck out onto the yard. It sounds nasty, but it really works, and there's nothing unsafe if they decide to eat it.

Dec. 29, 2010, 04:04 PM
I do what kookicat does.

It is pretty rank-smelling when it first thaws in Spring, but then it merely composts itself into mulch.

I do it as much to prevent me taking a fall as for the horses.
I try to brush off my barn boots so I don't track stink into my house.

The chicken grit I get at my feedstore is just crushed granite/limestone so it couldn't hurt anyone equine that might try eating it.

Dec. 29, 2010, 07:41 PM
Facing the same possibility here. My horse porch will remain ice-free as it's bedded more or less like a stall, up high, under cover, and attached to the barn, so I'm guessing they'll be spending a LOT of time under there in days to come. :(

I have mucked dirty bedding out onto slippery spots, (not poop) with fair success. I have also just chucked bags of clean sawdust/shavings out there in a pinch. I actually think the dirty stuff works better.

I'd love to have a sand pile, but like the OP's it would be frozen solid--today was the first day above freezing we've had in about a month.

Dec. 29, 2010, 09:31 PM
akor, are you in central IA? Expecting the same weather here....warming up and raining tomorrow and Friday, and then dropping from a high in the mid-40's on Friday to a low of 8 that night. UGH. It's going to be miserable.
No advice on traction to add (sorry) but good luck with it :)

Dec. 30, 2010, 12:01 PM
I would love to use "used stall bedding" but I don't have that. No stalls. They don't mess up the run in too much - and, then I'd have to replace the footing in there.

ASB - I am a bit north and east of you.

I bought some of the sand bags that you put in the back of trucks and other rear wheel drive vehicles for traction.

They are spendy not sure how they work yet, will post after this weekend. I looked into sand delivery and there is heated sand, it too is spendy, but cheaper than bags of course, but then I'd have to keep the pile covered and dry, etc...

I think I just have to accept that the climate HAS changed (we are just not used to the rain and plunging temps - snow yes, rain and ice, not - but this is the third year of this) and put up a temp shelter for sand, etc in the winter. I have a small 5acre place, but have an area I can unfence and store the stuff in.

I also worry about them cutting up their legs when they bust through the snow in the rest of the pasture (once there is a layer of ice), that happened some last year.

Winter just really sucks this year.

P.S. Hay does work really well - it makes a mess, but so does everything. And, you have time it better than the sand, but if you can scatter hay around, again, that creates just enough roughage that when they step on it, they usually bust through.

Dec. 30, 2010, 07:13 PM
Maybe just some clean shavings, then? They will turn it into "used" quickly enough. :)

Dec. 30, 2010, 07:53 PM
Have you considered adding a bit of borium to their shoes? (I'm assuming they wear shoes..... )

It gives a bit of grip on icy surfaces, but doesn't put a lot of stress on joints compared to drive in in studs. Although little screw in road studs are an option if you don't want the traction except in bad weather.

Hope you get a gentle thaw soon.

Jan. 1, 2011, 01:08 PM
No shoes. I'm not anti -shoe, just haven't had them on for awhile. Youngster will get them this year though given how her feet wear. We have used the borium in the past - that is very common with the Amish.

We dodged the bullet, sort of - horse care wise yes, but NYE driving was a mess - we got the icy rain around 6 last night, just as people were getting out. Lots of accidents, none serious though, reportedly. Thanks for all the advice.

I personally want to take credit for stopping the storm by buying a ton of bagged sand, but I suppose it wasn't really my doing ;)