Horse Pasture Management
Fixing muddy horse paddocks and managing pastures correctly keeps everyone happier and healthier.
By Sara Gugelmeyer, Journal special contributor | March 17, 2015
Few things suck the fun out of horse ownership quite like dealing with a constantly muddy horse and the problems associated with a mud hole in your pasture, pen or paddock. Muddy horse paddocks and overused spots in your pasture are to be expected during rainy seasons, especially in wet climates, and it is not always easy to dry them up permanently.
University Extension services can be a great resource for dealing with these types of issues. The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension has some special guidelines on “Managing Mud on Horse Farms” written by forage specialist Ray Smith.
“Horses, like us, are creatures of habit, returning to the same areas repeatedly,” Ray writes. “This behavior causes overgrazing and trampling that will inevitably reduce grass cover and result in a muddy eyesore. Mud is not only unattractive; it is dangerous for horses and people, harboring bacteria. There are several pasture management tools that can help you reduce mud and the dangers and difficulties associated with it.”
If mud is a recurring problem throughout the pasture, it is likely caused by overgrazing. However, even well-managed pastures with only one gate and water source are likely to have mud holes around those overused areas.
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