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Fix for a lumpy, bumpy pasture?

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  • Fix for a lumpy, bumpy pasture?

    We've just bought (and are working on moving into) a new place. And, upon walking the pasture and fenceline, have discovered that it is REALLY lumpy in some areas, definitely not rideable like I was hoping and I'd be concerned about the horses playing out there. They are small bumps and lumps and dips, if that makes sense - hidden by the grass, very uneven and very HARD. Almost like they overgrazed it down to foot-sucking mud and then let the grass grow back over.

    I've got some temporary runs set up off the stalls until I can get the fencing fixed and figure out what to do about the unevenness.

    Any suggestions? I'm hesitant to rip up the pasture this late in the season, as it means they'd pretty much be confined to their runs until next year, but if it must be done...

  • #2
    Ugh...I have the same problem in part of my front field (about an acre), but mine is caused by mole hills and dogs digging in them! I've been filling and harrowing with my drag for two years...not a lot of success, but it is better.

    Shovel, then harrow?? Lucky you, you live in the Valley where they still farm. I wonder if you could get a farmer out to till it up and harrow it smooth, plant it for fall grass? Sucks, but a smooth pasture is a hard thing to create without a complete redo. Maybe you could do half now and half next year, allowing you some pasture turnout while you are fixing the problem??
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I worry...

      The front portion of the pasture has been used recently - grazed down to nothingness, tromped into a mud bog over the winter, and then weeds allowed to regrow over (mint, thistles, other inedibles, maybe 20% grass). This is where the stalls and runs are located, and I'm trying to figure out a solution to the mud that will inevitably return this fall.

      The back is where the lumps are.

      I'm afraid that if I tear up the back, and they are confined to the front only, that without some sort of mud intervention up front before the rain rolls in they will end up ankle deep in muck by Halloween and I'll have nowhere to rotate to, short of locking them inside 24/7.

      Comment


      • #4
        My grass paddock was a lumpy/holey mess too. I just took the tractor and rake out there and tore it up and re-graded it nice and smooth. I didn't even reseed like I planned...got sidetracked and then planned on seeding in fall. But it's all green right now and the horses go out on it. I just keep them off until it's 100% dry after rain...the cause of lumps and holes.

        However I have a mud-free main paddock and my grass paddock it laughable in size compared to actual pasture.

        If you keep a dirt paddock up front...scrape the dirt off of it. Scrape down to subsoil, scrape it to a slight slant to encourage run off and no puddles and then drive over it for half a day to compact the snot out of it. It's always worth any extra effort to have a mud-free sacrifice area if possible.
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!
        ...Belefonte

        Comment


        • #5
          On the other hand, my trainer always attributed my mare's ability to handle varied terrain to the fact that she was born and raised on my less than pristine rough pasture. "She's like a cat. She always knows where her feet are!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Can be pretty hard to fix....I have the same mess but mine is caused by bunch grass (crested wheat grass) being used as the main grass for the pasture. If the cause is bunch grass, either native or seeded, there isn't a lot you can do but start over by breaking it, conditioning the soil and seeding turf forming grass after you are certain the bunch grass is all gone, or live with it. I chose the latter option - cheaper, easy and horses DO learn where their feet are, even racetrack hothouse flowers. The problem here is exacerbated by heavy clay soil that holds water until the dirt itself stinks; also doesn't help that the whole yard was built in a flippin slough.

            What actually causes the holes is livestock (and humans) going over the ground and sliding off the clumps of bunch grass to the soil between the bunches. The sliding causes erosion of the soil, regardless if it is wet or dry so you have a lump of dirt around the roots of the grass and a hollow between the bunches. I can tell you that these humps and hollows are gonna be a lot harder on you than the horses
            Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

            Member: Incredible Invisbles

            Comment


            • #7
              Mud prevention is critical as you know! I know $$ is tight, but if you can create a mud free area for turnout, you'll be a happy woman.

              Here's the $1000 solution (maybe less!):

              Get a roll of geotextile cloth (runs about $400/12' x 300' roll). I got mine in Vancouver from a company that does erosion control--must be one mid-valley?

              Lay the cloth out where you want your paddock to be. Screw digging down, laying rock, all that jazz. Just put 'er down and put a couple rocks on the edges to hold her flat.

              Order 5/8s minus gravel or screenings. For a 12 yard dump truck load, you're going to pay from $250-300 a load. Not sure how big you need, but Mr. CC can figure out how much you need for a certain depth (he's a math teacher) and paddock size. Dump it in the middle and get spreading. A tractor helps, but we did our first round by shovel and wheelbarrow. I'm sure that had nothing at all to do with my chronic back pain!.

              That's it. That's what I did 5 years ago, and I've had a mud free 40 x 60ish paddock ever since. I am going to put more in this year, just to give my boys a bit more "spring" in their footing, but it has held up incredibly well...and god it was wet this spring!!
              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

              Comment


              • #8
                Every spring and fall (if I can), I drag my sacrifice paddocks with a York Rake when the ground is just starting to dry out. I've got clay, that when it dries, the hoof prints are virtually impossible to pick the manure out and I pick up all the manure the horses leave in the sacrifice paddocks daily. Also makes for easier walking for me and the horses.

                It usually takes about 3 passes over each piece of ground to get the worst of the hoof depressions smoothed out to a reasonable condition.

                It's probably too dry now to do this but if you get some rain to soften the ground you might have some luck. It takes a good bit of time. I have 2 sacrifice paddocks that measure about 110' X 110' and it takes me a good hour to do each one. Sometimes in the spring as they are drying I can only get maybe 1/2 done one day or risk getting stuck in the mud.

                If you have an equipment rental near you, you might see if you can rent a York Rake for a couple of days. I usually just use my garden tractor, a 20 HP Wheel Horse to drag the Rake but have used my larger Massey Fergeson tractor on occasion.

                Good luck, hope this info helps.
                Sue

                I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                  Mud prevention is critical as you know! I know $$ is tight, but if you can create a mud free area for turnout, you'll be a happy woman.

                  Here's the $1000 solution (maybe less!):

                  Get a roll of geotextile cloth (runs about $400/12' x 300' roll). I got mine in Vancouver from a company that does erosion control--must be one mid-valley?

                  Lay the cloth out where you want your paddock to be. Screw digging down, laying rock, all that jazz. Just put 'er down and put a couple rocks on the edges to hold her flat.

                  Order 5/8s minus gravel or screenings. For a 12 yard dump truck load, you're going to pay from $250-300 a load. Not sure how big you need, but Mr. CC can figure out how much you need for a certain depth (he's a math teacher) and paddock size. Dump it in the middle and get spreading. A tractor helps, but we did our first round by shovel and wheelbarrow. I'm sure that had nothing at all to do with my chronic back pain!.

                  That's it. That's what I did 5 years ago, and I've had a mud free 40 x 60ish paddock ever since. I am going to put more in this year, just to give my boys a bit more "spring" in their footing, but it has held up incredibly well...and god it was wet this spring!!
                  Ooooheee! I'll take you up on that help figuring it out. Even if we can't do it right away, maybe we can save up and get it done before the rain comes. The paddocks are currently about 25x50ish each, enough that they can move about but not really big enough for playing. So, really, it's just a ~50' square. They could be expanded lengthwise, but then I'd have to go through the paddocks to get to the rest of the pasture and I'd rather not have 3 electric gates to contend with.

                  If I could get mud-free paddocks set up, I bet I could live with the lumpy pasture.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have a quick calculator here on my work computer. For a 50ft square at depths of:

                    1 inch: 13.89 tons
                    2 inch: 27.78 tons
                    3 inch: 41.67 tons
                    4 inch: 55.56 tons

                    Typical tandem dump truck can usually legally haul around 15 tons. Semi, depending on the weight of the trailer, is usually 20-25 tons.
                    It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

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