FIRMING MUDDY PADDOCKS

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by TallOak10, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. TallOak10

    TallOak10 Full Member

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    This past year we bought a new/old farm a bit further south and where I previously lived. On that previous form, I had sand. Nothing but sugar sand. It could rain for six days and it would be totally drained within an hour. Now I have just the opposite. I have mud. If it rains for six days, and it’s another 3 to 4 days of mud up to my calves. No I don’t care about me, I care about the horses. I have managed to build up some of it, but there are other areas that are just saturated with water. Even when we haven’t had rain for a while, they remain saturated and muddy. What is the best substance to mix with the dirt to firm it? Who should I ask? Landscaping companies? I’ll add, that since moving, this has been the wettest year in recent history. Unbelievable.
     
  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Sand. You probably have clay under the topsoil, or a clay mix and that's what's holding the water and keeping it from draining faster.
     
  3. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    I'm in the PNW where we have plenty of rain and clay which quickly turns to knee deep mud.

    First you need French drains to move the water away from the barn, and we have a drainage pond. Then you have a few options; 1 the least expensive up front is to bring in hog fuel every fall before the rain starts and build about a 1 foot deep mat in your runs/sacrifice area/around the barn. ( this will need to be removed in the summer). 2. Bring in crushed rock a minimum of 4 inches and top with sand every fall before it rains. 3. Install hoof grid over a layer of pea gravel and top with sand. Bring in new sand as needed. we have done all 3 methods and the hoof grid is very nice but I will warn you that it is very expensive.
     
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  4. TallOak10

    TallOak10 Full Member

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    Thank you very much! I appreciate this information.
     
  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Talk to a really good excavator(should have more qualifications than 'able to rent a skid steer from local equipment rental place', this is the one profession everyone thinks they can do and very few people really can do it or are worth you paying them), or speak to a soil engineer first if there are really serious runoff issues. What works for your locale depends on the soil type and the 'lay of the land' (where rain and meltwater wants to go, an where the EPA says you need to not interfere with it going.)

    Most important in muddy areas is to have a solid place called a sacrifice area that the horses use when it is too wet to go out in pasture or other paddocks. Building this up with first big rock and then limestone screenings is very important. Then the horses stay in there when the other areas are drying out.

    To help the other areas dry out, installing storm sewers (heavy duty ones with slots in them that can't catch a hoof, though we put fence around ours for extra security), drains (trenches holding drainpipe and filled with gravel, both for runoff in general and for handling the rain from roofs, gutters and such), swales (a depression in the ground that helps route runoff away from areas that would otherwise stay saturated, but also removes barriers like little rises in the ground that trap runoff where you don't want it to be).

    There are two approaches to managing runoff and drying up properties - one is the old way - get it off your property ASAP. Install many grates, storm drains, lots and lots of underground piple, and make that water fly off your property.

    The other way is the way the EPA and others will probably tell you they want you to do - slow water down, give it a chance to gradually be absorbed(like modified rain gardens do, or really thirsty big trees can do for you) or evaporated (like from holding ponds).

    You can't really fight mother nature, so on very challenging properties and without unlimited budgets for pipe, gravel and the excavator's fairly high cost hourly rate, sometimes you have to make compromises to get things to work.

    'Building things up' with bark chips or sand thrown on ground that hasn't been stabilized (usually by removing top soil and putting down 6'' of big rock, then gravel, like you're building a road) is very unlikely to last for long. It's a waste of money and effort.
     
  6. TallOak10

    TallOak10 Full Member

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    Thanks. Yep. We feel that we need to speak with someone professionally. Someone suggested dropping a ton of sand stone and that it really helped harden the deep mushy areas a lot but I need to speak with someone. I don't want to make it a DEEPER mush than it already is.
     
  7. Puddincup

    Puddincup Senior Member

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    I'd be VERY careful putting any stonedust or sand in the paddock unless you intend to feed them somewhere else entirely.

    You'd be risking colic. In fact the person we bought our property from did just this 10-15 years ago and had multiple colics because of it. And she was careful enough to put mats on top of the stonedust and it still happened.

    Thankfully most of that is now part of the soil but I still do not feed near the gates areas that have any hint of sandy soil.
     
  8. paval

    paval Senior Member

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    Find out if your county has a district agricultural office. My father had one of the AG officers come out and he showed him where to have diversion swales graded in to direct run off away from the buildings towards one of the pastures (with swales continuing through that pasture).

    The farm sits at the base of some foot hills where there are lots of natural springs. We scraped off loose top soil, then had shale hauled in for a base and topped with limestone "non-grade" (then packed) to build up around the barn and about 25' beyond (where before in heavy rain, I had water coming right down the cement aisle). The natural slight slope of the land now actually helps drain the water away and the horses arent't standing in mud or water in the sacrifice paddock.

    We used non-grade instead of screenings since it can actually be packed down and stands up to a lot of foot/hoof traffic. Going on 10 years and no ruts or erosion.
     
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