This snow came on top of quite a bit of rain. Which came on top of a lot of other snow. The freezing temps have not helped. The ground was thoroughly saturated making the problem worse.
The problem, in case you were wondering….is the mud and frozen ground in the horse area behind the barn stalls.
I knew something wasn’t right because there was just way too much mud outside of the stall doors. Not just mud, but big puddles. Turns out that the rain gutters on the barn aren’t working properly. There are a couple of spots on seams where they are joined together that are allowing water to drip through. There are also some roof shingles where the gutters meet up next to the roof that need to be repaired so that the water will run all the way down into the gutters.
This is something to fix before the next storm comes in in another day or two. That’ll definitely help. We have enough mud without adding to it.
The horses haven’t been amused by the mud this winter. The mud itself isn’t really a big deal — it’s the fact that the water has puddled up outside the horses stall entrances and then each evening it freezes solid. The horses are doing a good job getting through it, very carefully.
I tried walking through the mud yesterday and my Sorels were getting sucked off. The mud is really sucky! I wormed all three horses and also took these photos. It is getting better each day. I’ve had mud or snow here since early October. The moisture is good for the horses feet but the freezing hard ground each night is hard for them since they are going back and forth from soft footing to rock hard footing on a daily basis. They all see to be toughened up enough.
I remember years ago my farrier at the time gave up trying to pull shoes in the winter on Weaver because he would run around on the frozen ground at night barefoot and then be footsore the next day. He might have been okay if kept barefoot year around. None of my other horses have had this be a problem for them. Trust me when I say you don’t want to be trying to put hoof boots on your horse in this kind of mess.
When things do finally dry out we’ll work on getting some new material brought in to help improve the drainage in this area. It used to drain better but the horses definitely alter that after awhile. At least once the horses come into the stalls they are standing on rubber mats and can get out of the mucky mess for awhile.
I’ve asked a few friends their thoughts on using pea gravel in my climate and the consensus is that it would be a huge mess after a season or two. So we will probably stick with using DG or sand or some sort, which is what we’ve used in the past. It would be nice to be able to fill some areas in with pea gravel but other peoples’ experiences with it in climates like mine is not good so I’ll stay away from it. I’ve got enough of a mess without adding to it.
This has been a wetter winter for us in terms of the ground staying saturated for so long. I remember last year at this time we were having gorgeous weather and the footing was dry so I was riding almost every day! I think it’s probably been ten or more years since we’ve had this much mud. The sun is out and it’s a gorgeous day today….mud, mud go away!!