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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
    Posts
    2,159

    Default drought conditions

    I was riding out in my field yesterday and my horse was slipping on the crispy grass, underneath of which was rock hard ground. What do eventers do in such conditions?? How do the courses ride in such droughty weather?? I would feel remiss to even gallop over my fields, let alone jump!!! I live in SE Pa. and the farmers are really beginning to wonder if their corn will survive....and the second cutting hay tonnage was down 50%......don't even talk about what this is going to do to the price of hay this winter!!!
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2004
    Location
    Camden, De
    Posts
    3,603

    Default

    I'm in Delaware and it's just plain awful. We normally do a lot of hacking and conditioning work with the horses but the trails are hard as a rock. We are spending a lot of time just walking and trotting.

    I have spent more time riding in the sand ring to protect the horses but my horse has a splint just from the hard ground in turnout.

    I typically chose not to compete much at this time of year anyway due to hard ground and hot temps. I'm so sad that all the nice grass we planted is dead. We are still turning out but trying to keep the horses off the majority of the fields so that grass can survive if possible. I think everyone has had to go to feeding hay way earlier than in the past. The farm where the CANTER horses are is a huge 100+ acre farm with 20 horses on it. They normally don't have to feed hay at all and are already having to supplement with round bales and will have to change plans for winter hay supplies.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2001
    Posts
    6,703

    Default

    Well, here in the arid west, our ground is normally hard and we just use small caulks if they are slipping. The horses learn to deal with the variable footing over time without them, however. It is simply time and miles. I condition my horses on dirt roads so hard ground is nothing.

    The feet will get initially sore but as the horses begin to get in shape, the feet toughen up and actually will thrive. Now is the time to strengthen the tendons, ligaments and bone through the movement on hard ground. Even a walk will really leg up a horse.

    In our dry climate, I use beet pulp as a hay replacer (0.7 lbs of pulp = 1 lb of hay).



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
    Location
    Nokesville, VA
    Posts
    35,070

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RAyers View Post
    Well, here in the arid west, our ground is normally hard and we just use small caulks if they are slipping. The horses learn to deal with the variable footing over time without them, however. It is simply time and miles. I condition my horses on dirt roads so hard ground is nothing.

    The feet will get initially sore but as the horses begin to get in shape, the feet toughen up and actually will thrive. Now is the time to strengthen the tendons, ligaments and bone through the movement on hard ground. Even a walk will really leg up a horse.

    In our dry climate, I use beet pulp as a hay replacer (0.7 lbs of pulp = 1 lb of hay).
    Yes, but your "hard" isn't baked clay!
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    5,174

    Default

    Now, I'm not galloping XC, but I do LIKE to work my horse on hard ground. It strengthens tendons, bones, ligaments alike. Seems to me that a little more of that and a little less of the prepared footing would reduce the huge instances of soft tissue injuries I see. Yep, our ground is baked solid and our grass is crunchy -- and we'll be out there working on it. You can't build tissues without challenging them. All things in moderation of course.

    As for the slipping, I'd be a bit worried if my horse was slipping a lot just on grass -- perhaps this means he needs more work on uneven terrain to learn to balance himself and handle his feet better?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2002
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    1,391

    Default

    If the grass is dead, it is like riding on frost killed grass and they indeed can slip on the dead grass a lot easier than on grass that is nice and green.
    Beth Davidson
    Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
    http://blackdogconnemara.com
    visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2001
    Posts
    6,703

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    Yes, but your "hard" isn't baked clay!
    Actually, our soil against the mountains is bentonite clay. You have to go about 50-100 miles east to find top soil. East of the Mississippi it is mostly dolomite clay (especially in PA). Ours goes very hydraulic when it gets wet (hence why our building codes require floating foundations). We have little sandy soil here. There is a reason Boulder, Colorado is named such. Ask anybody who had to dig more than a few inches. Super pave gravel (a special aggregate used in pavement) is one of our main mining products along the front range.

    What we do for our XC courses and for gallops/working in the open is a light scrape across the surface (less than a inch). The footing is still firm. Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming are similar.

    I agree about the dead grass. That usually happens in July (everything goes dormant). Hence, why we use small roads or grass (to punch through the clay) studs. The stud sets (big blocks etc) you see back east are never used around here. True, your studs will not last more than a season.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    5,174

    Default

    Heeheeheeheehee, I love it when my fellow science geeks rise up -- I just always think of "excuse me while I whip this out...."



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 30, 2002
    Location
    Looking up
    Posts
    6,128

    Default

    We are closer to the beach than the mountains, Reed, and have very sandy soil, which gets very hard without moisture. And the moisture we do get goes rather quickly through the cycle.

    It is not at all like your hard ground, which I have ridden and competed on -- it's much less forgiving here. We cannot ride on roads, we have no dirt roads. Burnt fields is about it. Oh and really flat land, too.

    I am really in a conditioning quandary right now. I am trotting for lllloooonnnnngggg amounts of time right now.
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com



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