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2022 Guide: How to Fix Muddy Paddocks
Depending on your geographic location, mud problems are sure to happen when the weather changes and the amount of rain increases at certain times of the year. Not only is mud a pain to deal with, but it is also a great source of injuries and many problems related to your horse’s health.
Walking around in mud can cause horses to lose their shoes, exposing your horse’s hooves to bacteria and fungus. This can lead to infections like thrush, mud fever, and abscesses. A muddy surface can also cause strain on your horse’s joints, ligaments, and tendons.
Let’s look at what a paddock is and solutions for how to fix muddy horse paddocks and establish maximum mud prevention. This will help ensure you have the necessary elements to maintain a safe environment for your horses.
What is a Horse Paddock?
Paddocks are fenced in for use as a holding pen or exercise lot. They can be dirt or reflect the terrain of the geographic location, such as grass or sand. The paddock area can also be made up of a blend of different landscapes.
The minimum size of a paddock is usually 50ft x 50ft. However, your paddock should be at least one acre per horse if you intend for your horses to be able to graze while in the paddock.
Small paddocks are sometimes referred to as exercise or sacrifice areas and are often used during the rainy season. The high-traffic areas where mud problems are usually the worst are around the paddocks gates, water troughs, feed troughs, and shelters.
How to Fix Muddy Horse Paddocks
There are several solutions for keeping your paddocks mud-free. If you still need to construct your paddock and are trying to take steps to prevent mud, considering the paddock area’s location and how water runs off the surface is critical. This will allow you to put the proper drainage systems in place.
If you already have an established paddock that is experiencing a lot of issues with mud, there are some ways to correct it. You can put in drainage systems and add extra footing to help reduce pooling water. Let’s look at each of these solutions for keeping your horse paddocks dry.
The Solutions for Keeping Your Horse Paddocks Dry
Address Drainage Issues
Your paddock’s base should allow for proper drainage while maintaining your footing and not letting it wash away. Using a geotextile fabric layer enhances filtration, prevents water runoff, and provides erosion control for the base. Because of the filtration ability, this is ideal for a ground of any slope, unlike rubber mats that require a sloped paddock to prevent water from pooling.
Even if you have an established paddock, the installation of geotextile and geocell is simple. It is installed directly on the ground, making it an easy solution for long-term drainage. Adding geocell panels on top of the geotextile and filling them with gravel will prevent pooling and enhance ground stabilization. Utilizing these two products will prevent the need for more complicated systems like french drains, which are rain gutters that are installed in the ground.
Use a High-Quality Footing Additive
It is essential to address drainage issues before integrating footing additives in your paddock. Once you have done that, using a footing additive, especially in high-traffic paddock areas, can prevent mud during the rainy seasons. Footing additives can also reduce dust and help improve ground stability. Additives made from foam and fibers will be longer lasting than wood chips.
You can also use a complete footing solution, such as ArenaGreen, that doesn’t require additives.
Maintaining the Paddock
While adding footing in the paddock’s high-traffic areas will help reduce mud, cleaning up manure can also help. Keeping the paddock area clean will also reduce the amount of organic matter produced and ward off bugs that carry diseases.
Make the Right Drainage and Footing Decisions with the Help of Performance Footing
Our team at Performance Footing is here to help answer any questions you have about fixing muddy paddocks or preparing a new paddock for mud prevention. We provide all of the product solutions discussed in this article to help make it easy to keep your horses healthy and injury-free. For questions or help ordering products, give us a call at 877-835-0878.