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Muddy Stall Runs/Paddocks

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  • Muddy Stall Runs/Paddocks

    Well, our weather has hit early and I'm at a fairly new barn. (since spring)
    My horses run is a mucky mess and other than his shed, he has NO dry place to stand. It takes up to a week of dry weather to dry out. Does anyone else have this situation and do you worry about it? Looks like it could be like this all
    I have the option to move him to a smaller, but somewhat dryer run or keep him
    in the original one. I hate to be paranoid, but what could all that muck be
    good for except scratches, thrush and a filthy critter?

  • #2
    I was at a boarding barn and had a horse in a run that was a disgusting mess whenever it got wet.

    What I did to solve the problem was RAKE the run whenever it was wet. Anything that comes up--pitch. Into the muck pile. After perhaps a month of wet-ish weather and raking the pen, it dried very quickly and was solid when it was wet.

    Manure dries and becomes the "dirt" in runs. Dried manure holds A LOT of water. Rake the dried manure OUT when it's wet and get down to real DIRT/CLAY and you will have a pen that dries faster and is less of a mess.


    • #3

      I would move him to the dryer run. It'll wretch havoc on his feet if they can't dry out.
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      • #4
        I used to board at a place where the sacrifice/winter paddocks were all clay and the poop was never picked out. It was incredibly gross in the fall, winter and spring--the only time it was bearable was when it was feet deep in snow and even then the mud underneath never seemed to dry/freeze and it was treacherous walking out there. I lost more than one Muck Boot retrieving horses from those paddocks!

        My biggest problem with that scenario was that the horses just NEVER MOVED when they were turned out in that paddock. It was too difficult and treacherous for them, kind of defeating the purpose of turnout. Amazingly, in spite of being in cannon-deep muck for months, none of mine ever developed any scratches or other skin or hoof problems. I think some horses are prone to that sort of thing and will get it no matter what, while others seem to be very resistant.

        Here we are BLESSED with sandy soil and only one or two spots in my sacrifice paddock really get muddy--one is by the gate and the other is in front of one of the hay feeders where everyone likes to hang out, pee, and sun themselves. I am vigilant about picking ALL the poop out of that paddock every day in good weather, but once winter comes it's not do-able.

        What has helped A LOT in front of the gate is dumping about half a yard of pea gravel we had left over from a project elsewhere on the property last fall. I know it's supposed to just disappear into the muck, but one year later, it's still holding up great and that muddy spot is no longer an issue at all. I keep meaning to dump another load on the other spot, but haven't gotten to it.

        Could you throw in a yard or two of pea gravel, see if that improves things? Can't hurt.
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        • Original Poster

          Thank you for the input. I have thought about filling the run with sand or
          pea gravel, but will see how this other run holds up and if it stays drier.
          Plus the thought of shoveling a dump truck load of sand, by hand, just doesn't
          appeal to me! Thanks for confirming that I'm not totally out of my tree to be
          concerned about this.


          • #6
            Get the "muck" (mud/poop) out of there like someone else said - get down to the real dirt/clay/gravel. Add some washed gravel like 2B or something. Bring up to level. Let it get packed down pretty good for a while... maybe 6 months. Unless your horse is seriously tender footed it won't hurt them. Once it's packed.. top off with some anti-skid or coarse grit sand. Then keep it clean....

            Don't just add sand. Then you'll just have deeper mush.
            Last edited by VCT; Oct. 28, 2009, 01:46 PM. Reason: typo
            2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


            • #7
              I agree with VCT, don't add something on top of it, you have to dig out what you already have and even then that doesn't work. I spent a good amount of money having mud scraped off part of my corral and then had crushed stone and then stone dust put down a couple of years ago and kept it clean from manure. Guess what, I have boot sucking mud again and I can feel the stones under my feet under all of the muck.

              Now I just have mud. I HATE it. the horses don't seem to mind, they are out running around and can get in out of the mud by going in their stalls.
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              • #8
                I have the same problem. My lot slopes down hill. If I rake it the rain will pull the manure bits down the hill and away. The best bet is to make rake lines so the run off will do the work. If I let it go (don't have easy access to a rake and quad) it just puddles and gets deeper. Fortunately, there is high ground the horses can go to, but it gets in the way of their playing. (I open up the ring and let them romp in there).

                The NE has had nothing but rain this year. I have had it with mud and sh--.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                  I was at a boarding barn and had a horse in a run that was a disgusting mess whenever it got wet.

                  What I did to solve the problem was RAKE the run whenever it was wet. Anything that comes up--pitch. Into the muck pile. After perhaps a month of wet-ish weather and raking the pen, it dried very quickly and was solid when it was wet.

                  Manure dries and becomes the "dirt" in runs. Dried manure holds A LOT of water. Rake the dried manure OUT when it's wet and get down to real DIRT/CLAY and you will have a pen that dries faster and is less of a mess.
                  100% agree with this advice. Broken down manure is often "missed" by the paddock cleaners and cuases most of the problems.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks all. I moved pony and since it snowed today and I didn't make it out
                    after work tonight, I will see what the new pen looks like. It was recently
                    built and has not had the wear, tear and manure on it like the others.
                    I'm thinking the accumulated manure from the past (even if I thought it was
                    clean over the summer) has a lot to do with the problem, as many of you have
                    said. Its all clay here in S. Colorado, so it gets mighty slick and deep when
                    its wet. I guess I will sacrifice pen size for a dryer pen.
                    Thanks again everyone!

                    PS, if it were my place I might redo the footing, but its not and I'm not keen
                    on shoveling a ton of gravel/dirt! Whats weird is that no one else seems to
                    mind their horses in muck up past their fetlocks...maybe just my neurosis?


                    • #11
                      If you do resurface, put down geotextile fabric first. We just bought 12 yards of 5/8 minus to put down, but need to put the fabric down first. The fabric will keep you from losing it all in the muck.

                      And I second getting rid of manure first and get down to good clay....

                      Good luck, mud free is not easy.

                      and after you are done, you need to maintain by keeping clean!
                      Turn off the computer and go ride!


                      • #12
                        Muck is bad for feet, legs (tendons & mud fever etc).

                        My horses paddock is partial muck & mostly pretty sandy. Even when I throw her hay to the dry spots she would rather stand in the muck. Drives me crazy. I wash her legs every day.