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Using gravel to combat mud in pastures?

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  • Using gravel to combat mud in pastures?

    My horses have made the most horrible mud around gates in the pastures. I've spent piles on mulch but it just doesn't work. Am thinking of using gravel around all the gates but haven't a clue on which size would be best. I "think" sand would just wash away but think the gravel pushed down into the mud would hold. Anyone have experience with this? Pea sized to golf ball sized? Thoughts appreciated.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

  • #2
    It can work quite well, but it's not as simple as just putting gravel down. If you do it without some site preparation, you'll lose your gravel over time (it'll sink down into the mud). Here's a good factsheet about how to build a "heavy use pad" around high traffic areas. At my old farm, I did my whole sacrifice area (about 3000 sq ft) as a heavy use pad. I had to hire someone to do the excavation and installation and, in all, it cost me about $4000 but I thought it was sooooo worth it because it was so much easier to clean and kept my horses drier and not knee-deep in mud!
    http://www.mda.state.md.us/pdf/mud07.pdf

    At our farm, we've done a poor-man's version of it that involves old carpet remnants as a base and wood chips on top. I works but only lasts one season.
    Erin
    Dodon Farm Training Center - on Facebook

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    • #3
      I find that sand works much better than gravel. Have you considered that?

      Comment


      • #4
        muddy gate areas

        I solved the mud problem at my gate areas by dumping stone dust, also called screenings and decomposed granite. I would then smooth it out with a tractor rake or front loader run backwards. The stone dust packs down more than larger gravel and lasts longer. I have since moved to an area with sandy soil, and no longer have that problem, but when I lived in PA. the mud was awful. Usually, one or two three yard loads woul cover most gates.

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        • #5
          Just about any gravel will work........the trick is to do it in the summer before the problem of mud arises.......the second trick is to prepare the area, it should be graded for slope so water runs away from the area rather then sitting around the gate........and depending on your situation you may need to dig down and place pit run in first then cover it with gravel.

          Emma

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            OH WOW!! I didn't realize this was going to be complicated.
            The areas that I need to do are very small and it looks like to get ANY gravel I'm going to have to order a whole load but that's ok. We'll just pile it somewhere and it'll be there if we need it. I don't think they'll be able to "mix" gravel though. They'll want to know what size and that'll be it. I really was wondering about horses feet and which would hold up better the larger or the smaller. We can manually dig the mud out if that's what needed and can find something to put down as a base, but, I really really don't want to have to buy more than one load of something. The main one (gate) I'm worried about right now is actually on a hill but a ditch won't work as it would need shovling out after every rain.
            You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello from mud and muck central!

              Really it isn't that simple. You actually have to dig out, then lay big heavy stones which we call, slig, then add the top layer. Only 2 of our gateways managed to get done this year before the crap weather, but wow what a difference! We also have woodchip pens to bring in horses out of the muck at night. Same thing, had to do quite a bit digging down, huge stone, drain pipe, then smaller stone, then woodchip. They are good alright, but it's not simple.

              Terri
              COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

              "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

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              • #8
                You may want to work out a plan. Dumping dirt, stone, gravel, into the wet spot is a fixup, doesn't stay over the long term. We too, did that a number of times, really a waste of money and material, unless you get the gate area set up BEFORE dumping. If you have a downhill slope, maybe digging out a ditch area, putting in drainage tile to remove water, would prevent the muck hole at gate.

                Carpet base under crushed stone, gravel fill, sounds useful if you have old carpet available. We used geotextile fabric after losing YARDS of fill over the years. NOW the gates are not boot-sucking pits where the horses stand.

                Renting machines makes dirt moving much easier, faster, something people may not know about as an option. Skidsteers, backhoes with buckets make jobs easy, are not hard to drive. Scrape and smooth the paddocks, driveways off while you have it there.

                Get a plan BEFORE jumping in. Getting cold here, hand digging is not working, so this might be a spring project in your location. Rubber mats under the gate might be useful for now, if you have some extras.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  <sick smile> I get it....okay, not simple. Thanks for the suggestions, Everyone. I can do this...I can.
                  You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                    Carpet base under crushed stone, gravel fill, sounds useful if you have old carpet available. We used geotextile fabric after losing YARDS of fill over the years. NOW the gates are not boot-sucking pits where the horses stand.
                    We got our carpet remnants for free from a local carpet company. They aren't big enough to do a whole room and Steuart literally went dumpster-diving (with their permission) to get some pieces big enough to do the gate areas. We also are lucky enough to have a brother-in-law who works for a tree company, so we got the wood chips for free, too.
                    Erin
                    Dodon Farm Training Center - on Facebook

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another firm believer in geotextile fabric here! It may seem a little expensive, but it'll save major bucks in gravel over the years.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Not a big deal. Fill with "crusher run" - a mix of gravel and stone dust. Or even a lot of rocks.

                        Pile it about a foot higher than the level ground right over the mud. They'll tromp it in. Once it dries out and the stone get down under the base you won't have a mud problem again. I've been doing this for 22 years and I've had as many as 35 horses passing through gate areas that caused the problem. Once I did this, I've never had to "redo".

                        Sometimes solutions are simpler than people make them out to be. I'd try this and see how it works for you and your soil and traffic.
                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                        • #13
                          Well, I have to agree with Sid and disagree with everyone else. I just did my gates with crusher run #1.

                          My main gate is located at the bottom of a hill near where a small spring drains. The only site 'prep' was I put down no fatigue restaurant mats, the big rubber ones with holes in them. I covered a roughly 12X12 area then dumped the crusher run on top. I also did this in another high traffic mud hole a few years ago, haven't had a problem in 4 years.

                          The truck load of crusher run was less than $300.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Another vote for crusher run -- it's all we've used for our gate areas and pad outside the barn. You'll lose a lot of stone to the mud if you don't try to scrape off the topsoil (mud!) before putting it down. But in desperate winter times, we've just dumped stone on mud and like sid says, it worked out.
                            "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                            <>< I.I.

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                            • #15
                              The base dirt in your locale can make a huge difference in what stays and disappears. Anything with clay just eats fill, any kind, as much as you want to pour onto it. Some years of use by horses, fill is gone. Sand or limestone rock, rock of mountains, that kind of base could be a whole different story.

                              I lost a whole load, dumptruck and trailer worth of crushed limestone in the walking area behind our barn. Small area, large, DEEP load of stone, which the base dirt swallowed without the fabric to hold it in place. Wasn't fast, probably lasted 5years, but it is gone now, needs another load to remove mud. Next load will have fabric first to prevent loss of stone.

                              Originally posted by sid View Post
                              Not a big deal. Fill with "crusher run" - a mix of gravel and stone dust. Or even a lot of rocks.

                              Pile it about a foot higher than the level ground right over the mud. They'll tromp it in. Once it dries out and the stone get down under the base you won't have a mud problem again. I've been doing this for 22 years and I've had as many as 35 horses passing through gate areas that caused the problem. Once I did this, I've never had to "redo".

                              Sometimes solutions are simpler than people make them out to be. I'd try this and see how it works for you and your soil and traffic.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'm also with Sid

                                We put crushed run at the entrances to seven of our pastures three years ago. Before we did this, the mud was suctioning the boots off my feet. Now the footing at the gates are high and dry. I figure in another year or two we might have to top off the entrances with a little more crushed run, no big deal...easy fix. Good luck!

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Oh, thank y'all so much!! I don't mind replacing the crusher run when it needs it. Going to have a whole big truck load anyhow.
                                  <happy sigh>
                                  You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    We had about 2/3 yard of leftover gravel from a project up by the house, and my husband dumped it all in the squishy part of my sacrifice paddock. It's not going to survive the winter, probably, in its lovely, gravelly state, but it sure has made a difference. Little by little we're changing the location of the "low spot" in that paddock, and that will be more effective. But right now we're just waiting for spring, and see what's there when the snow melts.
                                    Click here before you buy.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well sorry to say, but digging off the topsoil and adding the rock has worked for us quite well actually. And I doubt you will find a muddier place than Ireland. Hell, we didn't even have a dry summer.

                                      Terri
                                      COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                      "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        pj -- If you're going to do it the quick and easy way (dump a load of rock on your mud), don't tamp it or drive it down with your tractor so it's rock hard -- until you've had one rain. Sometimes you'll create new mud/drainage issues with the rocks (unless you or your SO are drainage experts!). Watch how the water flows over it and around it. You may find you want to shift things a bit before driving it into the ground, literally. Clearly this is a lesson we learned the hard way.
                                        "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                                        <>< I.I.

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