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Sorry - Another Sacrifice Area Question

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  • Sorry - Another Sacrifice Area Question

    I know this topic has many threads but I am looking for recent and area-specific advice. I am a new farmette owner and need all the help I can get! I have 3 pastures approximately 2+ acres in total (that is just an estimate). 2 are connected, 1 being a 55 foot by 65 foot area off of the run-in stalls. I want to turn this area into a sacrifice area for my 2 horses. We live in upstate NY (Rochester area) and I do not want them standing in mud all spring/fall and killing all the nice grass. Wondering if any local/semi-local people can give me advice on how to complete this project, who to use around here, and guesses on cost. I was thinking to excavate the existing top soil, put down geotextile cloth, then gravel and maybe sand? Not looking to spend a ton of money on this either so shortcuts would be entertained. TIA!

  • #2
    I am in the mid-west and in the pens off my stalls I have a 6" base of limestone screening directly on top of the black Kansas clay. About every 3 years I have another load of screening brought in to refresh the area.


    • #3
      One tip ... what ever you do. Don't wait until the area is muddy. If the area is muddy what ever is placed will sink into the mud. Then it'll prevent the existing mud to dry out.
      Equus makus brokus but happy


      • #4
        Yup, don't put it on top of mud. Or worse, clay. Both will happily engulf all of your topping and you might as well throw that money out. I've seen people lose *thousands* of dollars of stone, sand or stonedust trying to cover mud. And the last place I boarded, the BO put in a rock/stonedust combo path to turnouts and ring on top of tightly packed red clay. He made sure it was dry and then packed it well before having umpty-jillion loads of material brought in. 5 months later in spring...the material pretty much all disappeared into thick, wet red clay. IIRC that poor man lost almost $20k in rock. If you have clay, I'd scrape that out.

        I was able to just remove all topsoil and then grade my sacrifice for drainage/run-off and that worked great for me. It can pour here for weeks and the mud/soft ground in my sacrifice has never gotten more than half-a-hoof-height deep. Wheelbarrows can still get through and neither humans nor horses lose shoes.

        But if you don't have a slope, I'd still scrape the topsoil off if possible (never a bad idea to remove one of the 2 ingredients for mud) and then you can fill with your topping of choice. I personally like stonedust/bluestone/etc. (different names for different regions IIRC) You can pack and tamp that into a mid-free zone that also doubles as decent drainage too. No need to add sand or a "softer" topping over that if you don't want too. Easy to clean manure off of.

        Oh, and whatever you put down...pick the manure free daily or every other day! Manure left on top makes new topsoil/mud/muck fast as hell and will pretty much make whatever you put down useless. A small dry sacrifice with 2 horses only takes about 5 minutes top to pick out.
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!


        • #5
          well, not to mention that topsoil is too valuable to be covered by stone....

          I have seen a pamphlet put out by the Agricultural offices in Germany regarding horse facilities.
          Some farms actually paved the sacrifice/paddock area with concrete pavers.
          I have seen one place that used these but it would not have been something I would have cared for, as the grass seemed to have died quickly and the voids were not full of dirt. (but I guess the Icelandics boarded there did not mind)

          I just wonder how you want to scrape clay off...but then I am in Alabama, the clay is famous and pretty deep in spots.


          • #6
            Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
            If you have clay, I'd scrape that out.
            Dreamy sigh.
            If only that was an option.


            • #7
              Nifty, I'm in Mendon and the guy that did all the excavation when I put in my barn/indoor scraped the area about 20-30' out from the stalls that open to the sacrifice paddocks, then put down #2 stone and stone dust on top. I add a layer of stone dust every summer because I use a snowblower on the area and usually blow off most of the existing stone dust.

              Since you're in the area, PM me if you want to come and see what it looks like.

              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.


              • #8
                Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                Dreamy sigh.
                If only that was an option.
                I'll second the "Dreamy sigh" Here in Virginia we just built a house and the septic (think 6+ ft down) and the foundation for the house did not ever go deep enough to uncover red clay. My ring is stone dust and more stone dust packed down.
                RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."


                • #9
                  When I had my arena built, my excavator happliy carted away my topsoil and replaced it with slate/stone dust. I had to pay for a few loads of stone dust, but not many. Heck, he got the better end of the deal, but I got a fantastic "sacrifice" area really cheap! In fact, I might have to give him a call and get some more work done


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks everyone for the great info! Msj, I'll pm you for details, I'm in Farmington.