Hi folks--with all the rain I once again have mud issues around my barn. One side was graded to have a swale in front of the 10' overhang area to keep water diverted from the barn (the ground on one side is higher than the area the barn sits on)--the swale certainly does it job, but creates a mud ditch in itself. My horses have to go through this to get under the overhang or go into their stalls. Since they often come in at a gallop, they can do some scary sliding about.
Has anyone found any kind of solution for this--if stone, what size/kind or what other drainage material might work? I want something that won't hurt their feet/legs or get trapped in shoes. I'm going to have to add some sand to my arena, so thought it would be a good time to fix this mud problem too, while the contractor would have his heavy equipment here. I had put sand there in the past, but it worked its way into the clay and disappeared. Any suggestions would be appreciated
dig a gully so water run away from the barn then add hardcore and a metal rough iron grill on top so water sinks and flows away then add small pebbles or shingle
to the area thats boggy
you have to divert the water away and dry the area before you can change it
If you make a "bridge" over your swale out of a culvert- and cover the whole bridge with soil and then limestone- or whatever surface- the horses will chose it over the mud gully. I don't have this at a barn- but I have a pasture pinch point where there is overflow from the pond- and a dirt covered culvert- the horses always take the bridge when it's wet rather than go through the wet zone of the overflow.
If it's a high traffic area I'd be really careful to engineer the culvert edges to protect from accidents- maybe even with grated caps.
I use what (out here) is called limestone screenings in my high traffic areas around the barn and outside the stalls. A 6" base was put down 3 years ago and I've had to add some additional screenings in a couple places in front of the stalls due to high traffic.
I wouldn't throw screenings into a ditch like that, they'll just be paid-for mud. You can get a 1" clean stone that should do the trick, but you'll lose some down into the mud. If you dumped enough to fill it in it'll still drain water nicely and the rock isn't too big for the horses to go over. Depending on your location and your local quarries this could be called 11, 7, or 5, but if you tell them you want a 1" clean commercial product they should be able to hook you up. It probably won't be really cheap though.
You can make a "ford" over the ditch by putting down some geocloth (I get it from our local Soil Conservation Office). Then put put some larger rock on it to stabilize it and some smaller rock for a footing. This will be much easier (and cheaper) than trying a culvert and it doesn't clog up or fill in over time.
Whatever you decide to use, put down geotextile fabric first. The stuff is amazing- it keeps the gravel from being swallowed by the ground and will save you a ton of money in gravel over the years.
My husband always has a roll or two laying around. Granted, we don't have horses at home, I have a husband with many tractors instead and that does just as much mud damage. He can (and does) build a driveway through a darn swamp. He put one in last year, across a useless, muddy end of our yard, and I took before and after photos because I just can't believe it. That stuff IS amazing.
The more perfect our happiness,
the more nagging and wretched
do our unsolved problems seem.
~ Gordon Grand
Thanks for all the suggestions/ideas! I'm lucky in that my barn, itself, is always dry, so the ditch/swale works but the mud in it just drives me crazy, so will have to price around and see what we can afford along the lines you have suggested. Thanks again!