The change in weather is bringing more rain and higher temperatures. Horse pastures are taking a hit. There’s mud everywhere you look! Nearly every farm is experiencing some degree of muddy fields. Not only is it unpleasant to walk through inches of sticky, slippery mud, but your horse is at risk for issues like thrush or scratches. Now’s the time to eliminate these conditions!
1. Limit turnout directly after it rains. Your fields will be extra delicate after a heavy downpour. Even a few hours under sunlight can help them dry out a bit.
2. Dig out extra muddy areas and replace the dirt with gravel, sand, or wood chips.
3. Create a sacrifice area for the wet seasons. A small paddock will allow your horse to remain turned out without destroying the entire field. These areas will give the grass a chance to grow, as well. If you can afford it, a completely graveled sacrifice corral is ideal.
4. Pick up manure and old hay around the main areas. Ideally, you should do this once a week. Not only will picking up manure make your farm look nicer, but it’s a lot healthier for your horse too. Hay should be fed off the ground if possible and not given in the same place week after week.
5. Eliminate the amount of water pouring into your fields. First, try to use paddocks that have a slight slope. Second, install rain gutters and downspouts on barns and run-ins to redirect the excess water. You can even install trenches in your fields to control runoff.
It won’t be easy, but at least you are on the right track to eliminating muddy fields!