Stability for the muddy threshold between paddock and stall
Reading about arena footing and hogfuel and mud got me to thinking. You all might have some good ideas for a little issue I have in my gelding's paddock. The area right outside his stall door to his paddock is where the rain/snow drips off the roof. Thus, in spring and fall, it's always muddy and deep. I'd like to do something to alleviate that. Installing rain gutters would be great, but I haven't figured out how to effectively do that yet, so I'd at least like to address the footing part of the issue. I did, a couple years ago, add bark chips. They didn't really help all that much. The footing is sand and about 3 feet deep. Should I be adding gravel? Some kind of mesh covered with gravel/sand? I'm open to ideas.
Exactly. While it's kind of still mucky, I'd dig out the mud and add gravel liberally. Throw a drain-through mat or two on top and top with screenings or sand. you should be good. That's what I've got in exactly the same type of area (opening of my run-in). I started with solid mats but switched to drain-through because of ice. Also, I put the drain-through mats in upside-down, someone told me to do it that way, there's more traction on the bottom.
I have a concrete threshhold, but my footing was clay. (Deep, sticky, clay). I also have the same issue with dripping from the edge of the roof, and also have occasional snow piles slide off in this spot. The concrete was easy to pour and has held up well. Horses don't have any issues with it (slipping, etc.) although in one area at the back of the barn it slopes a little and they tend to avoid walking there if they can.
I would do gravel topped with a mat - that is what I use, and it works well.
I find wood products keep the soil moist when it would otherwise dry out, and can actually make mud worse in the long run.
I've done exactly this at the back side of my barn....gravel, sand then a mat on top = no more mud. My husband had tried to use used shavings from the barn to fill muddy areas but I think I've finally got him educated on the fact that it just doesn't work. The wood shavings/chips hold water when you really want the water to go away.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."
Gravel. Lots. But, really, I know you said gutters aren't an option, but that would be the best help. Getting the water off the building and away from it is key. If you board, however, I can see where that wouldn't be possible. I can't imagine building anything here without a drainage plan, which includes gutters, but I know folks do it all the time.
I apologize for continually harping my own website, but I recently did an addition on mud with some links to good information sources. The one from Kentucky is really good if you want a step by step explanation with really good photos!
You'll have to scroll down to get to the section on mud.
I did landscape fabric here with 3/4" stone on top and then mats over that when I re did under the overhangs. I didn't go quite deep enough on the area around the overhangs so some of the fabric is coming up from under the dirt. I plan to add some more stone or recycled asphalt to fix that problem. Digging out the deep muck is important, especially if it is mixed with organic materials.