It’s that time of year again – time for Spring Cleaning. Here in the Northeast, we’re recovering from an incredibly long and harsh winter, a lot of snow melt, and some very wet weather. As things start to turn green, it’s also time to make sure we’re cleaning up after all the storms we’ve had, and getting ready for the warmer weather ahead.
Things like rock picking out of the paddocks, repairing fencing, cleaning up downed trees and branches from the fields, and cleaning out drainage ditches all help keep the farm running smoothly. However, one thing that it feels like we are forever contending with – especially this time of year – is the mud.
Getting in and out of the fields can be a bit of a nightmare, as the areas around the gates always seem to get the most muddy from the horses’ hooves tearing up the ground. And although the farm I am at is on a mountain, drainage is still a challenge as the shale base we are on keeps the ground from absorbing excess water, so we end up with a lot of standing mud.
Due to weather changes and significant storms over the past several years (we’ve had a tornado, the one-two punch of Irene and Lee, followed by Sandy just a year later), the ground has really taken a beating. Of course I’ll be installing Lighthoof panels around all the gates and barn entrances, but beyond that, there’s even more you can do to manage the mud in your area.
To help, I’ve pulled together some great mud management solution information from around the web. These articles contain some great information on managing pastures and where you keep your horses. While ideas like rotating pastures and installing firm footing are always good, there’s also some other things you can do that will help keep the mud under control.
So take a moment and read through these great guides, and let us know what you think. Do you have anything you currently do to manage the mud on your horse farm? Have any tips or tricks to share? Let us know what you think – we’d love to hear from you!
- UMass Mud Management for Horse Operations
- Oregon State Mud Management Tips
- Oregon State: Mud & Manure Management on Small Farms
Wishing you a mud-free spring cleaning!
Best, CJ & the Lighthoof Team