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Ugh - mud.... what to do for t/o?

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  • Ugh - mud.... what to do for t/o?

    so, this is my first year at my little slice of heaven..... i was unsure what the mud was going to be like... well it is slippery..... (for info i am renting so don't want to spend $$ at this point to put in gravel etc)

    so... would adding compost help this? it seems to me this would just make the mud retain the water more? any other no cost/cheap ideas to keep the slippery-ness of the mud down?

    what about making their t/o's smaller so they cant run? (one already twisted an ankle slipping)

    is it better to turn them out on my grassy "pasture" and let them destroy it - at least then they would not be in mud?? if i did this how long would it survive? i have about 1.75 acres and 3 horses - 2 of which are OTTBS and they love to run.

    should i just stop worrying and let them be in the mud? it isnt deep - just slippery and well - muddy.

    2 of them do come in at nite so they do get a break - the other lives outside 24/7 - she tears the barn down if i try to bring her in.
    (yes, i worry too much!!) help!

  • #2
    I can't answer all your questions, but my horses live out 24/7 and I have a small (roughly 100 x 200 foot) sacrifice dry lot. It gets really muddy and not much helps that. Sometimes I put shavings down in the worst spots but since sometimes the whole lot is muddy there isn't much point. I would not allow them into the big fields -- you will regret it, I think, when the big field gets destroyed, and then you'll be exactly where you are now, just on a bigger scale!

    When it is very wet, I keep all five of my horses in the sacrifice lot until they can be on the big fields without destroying them.

    In terms of what helps with mud, the answer is drainage. This won't help you, but I have two large fields. One is a hill. I can always turn out on that field days before my flat field because the water drains off the hill first.

    Good luck!
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    • #3
      Originally posted by mbm View Post
      so, this is my first year at my little slice of heaven..... i was unsure what the mud was going to be like... well it is slippery..... (for info i am renting so don't want to spend $$ at this point to put in gravel etc)

      so... would adding compost help this? it seems to me this would just make the mud retain the water more? any other no cost/cheap ideas to keep the slippery-ness of the mud down?

      what about making their t/o's smaller so they cant run? (one already twisted an ankle slipping)

      is it better to turn them out on my grassy "pasture" and let them destroy it - at least then they would not be in mud?? if i did this how long would it survive? i have about 1.75 acres and 3 horses - 2 of which are OTTBS and they love to run.

      should i just stop worrying and let them be in the mud? it isnt deep - just slippery and well - muddy.

      2 of them do come in at nite so they do get a break - the other lives outside 24/7 - she tears the barn down if i try to bring her in.
      (yes, i worry too much!!) help!
      splite it into three paddocks so you can rest two and use one, be be roughly about 1/2 acre
      so then place hay piles out x 4 so they dont fight or chase onanother off
      and bring them in at night as not enough for them to stay out on 24/7 365 a year so they need to be brought in 365 day a year
      as it should be 1 acre per horse, then make sure you have plenty of water available
      putting out 4 x times piles of hay out during the day means they wont fight so there wont be much foot fall as in muddy bits as they will move from pile to pile till gone but wont be muddy
      then pooh pick your fields daily as in each evening or morning when you bring them in
      as this to will save on mud and you will have more grass, as the horses arnt constantly searching for that last bit of grass, if you dont pooh pick then the horses wont eat where they pooh so will be a a poohy field rather than a clean field

      trust me i have less than 2 acres and i have had up to 10 horses on it at any one time
      i dont have a lot of mud and i have grass, its doen to how you manage your ground
      i rotate every 12 weeks, then i harrow the fields and leave them to it

      you can create mud if you dont pooh pick why becuase there wont be any grass grass to be seen only pooh-- therefore horses will trample it in and make a muddy poohey mess
      so pick up the pooh and you will have grass and not mud


      • Original Poster

        stink - so, you are able to keep your grassy area grassy with a number of horses on it?

        i would LOVE to be able to turn the kids out on the grass... i just would hate to see it disappear....

        how long after a rain do you turn out on your grass?

        i personally would feel much happier f they weren't sitting in mud. even tho it is only like .5 inch deep - i hate the idea of them "wallowing"


        • #5
          i have my horses out on one field all day at the moment i have 5 in one paddock at the moment which is full off grass the others ie the middle field is what they have just come from so i wormed them before entering new paddock, have harrow the middle field and top field is also rested so when they come out of the bottom field they go into the top field, so that way the middle field has roughly six months rest and will not be used until its summer so they will be in the middle and back out in bottom for autum then spring they will be in top field
          the middle field i use for riding in if in and for lessons they so they all get aprrox 6months rest
          before usage so not muddy, the only areas that are muddy is around the gateways
          keeping the fields clean is so important from toxic weeds and pooh and harrow it regular
          ie when you change fields inproves growth


          • #6
            The common practice is to keep them off of the fields when the footing is too wet and put them on a dry lot or the like.

            Most working horse farms will have several small paddocks averaging in size from anywhere between 15'X25' feet (the very small ones are used mostly for lay ups), to around 75'X75' or so. Typically only one horse is put in any small paddock at any one time.

            The small paddocks should be on the driest part of the property, or drainage installed if necessary to keep them dry.

            During wet weather, the horses are turned out in the small paddocks, and typically the horses are exercised by riding or lunging each day (some are exercised more, some less, depending on the needs of each horse).

            The horses can be turned out into the larger fields intermittently, watching the condition of the fields is the guide of how often they can be turned out in them.

            What I have done in the past at very muddy barns where I worked; If a horse had been in the small paddocks for a few days, I would lunge the horse in the ring before turning them out in the bigger fields. That way they would be less apt to run and possibly hurt themselves. Putting out piles of hay first will also help keep them from running if there is no grass at the time.

            The only way to keep any field from becoming over grazed is ether to use a grazing muzzle or to limit turnout on that field.


            • Original Poster

              thanks stink....you are giving me hope i just cant stand them a)living in mud and b) how bad those paddocks look.... i will be happy if they can go out on grass and their paddocks regrow. <doing happy dance>

              and yeah, i am pretty much a fanatic about poop being picked up - paddocks and pastures. so it is all really clean.

              horsies thank you - they will go out on the pasture as soon as i can get some dividing fence up - hopefully this weekend.


              • #8

                CAn you do any shallow trenching with a hoe that will allow some of the water to run off?

                We do this especially after we've dumped the water tank. Just a trench to allow the water to run out of the paddocks but we are way wetter than you. Lately, we've been icy cold, then 12 inches of snow and then more rain and it'll be 40s this weekend so all will melt. We might have a good 6 or more inches of mud in some areas. (Horses come in at night so they're not languishing in this mess.)

                Yeah, I know we need to do some major work here with a back hoe to fix our paddocks, they are SO muddy! But there's 15 acres that we have to do, waaagh, waaagh!

                I also wouldn't put any mulch on the mud, it'll just retain the water and make it muddier. Good luck!
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                • #9
                  Drainage, no matter what kind of footing is underneath will help. Also consider making is a "sand lot", but there again, drainage is necessary but you don't have as bad a slippage, and the sand itself is somewhat draining.
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                  • #10
                    We are new at our place too and kind of playing things by ear. I did put down some stone dust which is now mixed with mud and frankly was a useless expense. We are thinking about doing a sacrifice lot but we have no way to get equipment in to do that as of yet (we have mud and HUGE hills). What I have noticed is that two areas are destroyed and the rest of the pasture is okay. Not great, but okay. They destroy the run-in shed and around it, and the hay feeder area.

                    Our one run in ended up VERY slippery, so we put down coco-matting and covered that with stone dust. That is and remains the only place that is still looking very good. The areas where we just laid the stone are completely churned up with mud. Once we get the chance, the other run-in, the waterers and around the hay are getting the coco-matting and then stone dust. Made a huge difference, although I know you don't want to invest in that.

                    Isn't mud great?
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                    • #11
                      when you put the fencing up go round some old tips or dumps ites and or bathroom lapces and see if you can get some baths ie that have been replaced in homes with new suits
                      then you can put two in each paddock they hold 8/10 gallons of water take all fitting of them like taps and handles so horses dont get hurt and there legs then place 2x 4x4 under the baths so they end up nice and secure
                      then in winter all you have to do is put a bit of muck out of the stables around them
                      and it keeps the water from frezzing to much...

                      as horses wont eat there pooh if they are well looked after
                      and then all you need to do is have a lalrge hose ppipe which would be 2 x 30mtrs
                      so you can run the water to the top field but put your hose pipe away each time
                      as then it will always work in the winter from the main tank


                      • Original Poster

                        thanks folks! great ideas and comments.

                        i did go out yesterday and make drainage "channels" and this am after a *huge* overnight storm there is nary any water to be seen so that worked.

                        now i just need to work out the pasture rotation and t/o schedule. my main mare is easy to t/o as she is calm and wont run.... the youngster will tear around like a banshee..... and since my arena is just sand on top of compacted native soil, while awesome, it can be slippery right after a rain so i cant lunge (riding is ok) .... and the youngster isnt ridable yet.... so i gotta figure out what to do with her..... she is a pistol - that is for sure

                        stink - i just happen to have a beuutiful old claw foot tub sitting in my yard.... the owners of this place used to have cattle run all over it so they used it as a water tank..... i think i can move it with my tractor. we'll see.

                        anyone know how long it takes for cow pooh to completely dissapear? the soil here is good but there is like inches of cow pooh on top of everything - so it is like soil then compost since the pooh is years and years worth piling up.

                        i have contacted a few folks for fill dirt so we'll see what i can find... maybe there is some sand/pebbles out there that i might be able to use

                        what is funny about all of this is that i have had horses almost my entire life - i boarded for years but i have also had them at home... i *never* worried about them like i do now! i guess i have turned into a a real DQ!


                        • #13
                          I wouldn't turn out if it's slippery. This opinion is based on years of living with adobe-style clay. If the horses are used to being out all the time and aren't going to move around much, you might be OK. They can not only slip, but injure soft tissue (esp if it's deep) and the clay literally sucks the shoes off. Try walking around on it yourself as a test for slippery-ness.
                          The Evil Chem Prof