A recent Mud Management poll on TheHorse.com told us one very important thing: mud management in paddocks on horse farms is all over the map!
The largest group of respondents, 33%, dubiously said that their mud management technique was "other," citing tactics like "I say many bad words and walk through it" and "I do a lot of rinsing horses off!"
- 14% leave their horses in their stalls when it's muddy out
- 27% have brought in truckloads of sand for mud management
- 73 people replace their bark or hogs fuel every few years
- 10% have had engineered drainage systems built
- 199 out of 600 don't do any of these things
Another reason mud management is all over the map is because horse owners are literally all over the map! From Oregon to Kentucky to Florida, there are widely varying soil conditions, weather patterns, and available materials for remediation. This makes it difficult to recommend a mud management practice that will be useful to everyone. Or at least it used to... more on that in a bit.
Users of Mud Management Products
The group that stood out most to me from this survey was the 4% that said they were using a commercially manufactured mud management product, like our Lighthoof mud management panels, to eliminate their muddy paddock issues.
This 4% is a group of people that are near and dear to my heart, who I know very well from my many farm visits and consultations over the years. The elite 4-percenters are always horse owners that care deeply about their horses' hoof and leg health, prefer a flawless appearance to their farm, and take a very practical approach to upfront costs and long-term savings. And they have NO MUD anywhere!
It's worth noting that not every member of this 4% group is what the average horse person would consider wealthy. It's a group mostly made up of regular farm owners who are able to calculate the cost savings in maintenance, annual remediation, and vet bills that having a permanent mud management product provides.
Mud Management for Every Farm
Using a commercial mud management product, like Lighthoof, also solves the "all over the map" problem that seems to be so prevalent in the mud management business.
Our flexible plastic mud management panel can be filled with any type of angular crushed rock, whether that's Kentucky limestone or decomposed granite in Oregon, to provide superior stabilization to the paddock footing.
It also can go down over any kind of mud. Some people have the sucking sand mud and others have clay that bubbles up like a spring. Or perhaps you have years of old manure bits mixed with hogs fuel mixed with pea gravel mixed with whatever so-and-so down the street recommended? No problem, Lighthoof to the rescue!
What else can create a horse-stable surface over such unstable ground without excavation or layers of compacted rock? Nothing that we know of, which is why we created Lighthoof for our own farm and it grew from there.
And it's still growing! Perhaps by this time next year the mud management poll will be showing very different results. So, if you are among the original 4%, cheers to you and have a wonderful mud-free day!