Horse-keeping in the Wet Weather
I like to think I am better at horse-keeping than this, but gosh, I feel terrible. The horses’ pens are a soupy mess! And, they’ve been that way for some time now. The poor guys (and gal) have to slide around in sloppy muck and mud. What do you do this time of year when the rain overwhelms your facility?
We have three horses on our half-acre parcel. Our home takes up a quarter, the horses’ pens take up a third, and the remainder is lawn, hay storage, and garden. We’ve been out here for nearly 40 years and our horses have been on the property most of that time. Their hooves have packed down the ground so it’s not only lower than the surrounding area, it is as hard as concrete. When it rains, it acts like a bowl and fills with water. If the rain comes hard and fast, I can pump it out with my submersible pump. But, when it rains over an extended period like it has the last month, it’s too soupy to pump.
Several years ago, I brought in some decomposed granite to raise some of the areas. It was a difficult maneuver as the delivery person had to negotiate our septic tank and leach line. That helped. Dusty has a space in his pen that is a bit more elevated than the others and he has a dry spot. The other two do not. Then, I learned that decomposed granite isn’t the best. The stone pieces have sharp edges that can put micro-cuts into the horse skin when they lay down. But sand isn’t good either for obvious reasons. So, what do you use?
How to Make a Mare Cranky
I’ve come to learn that there is nothing more that can make my mare cranky than standing in a muddy pen. While we are in this predicament, I am much more generous with the food. We’ve taken to feeding the horses smaller flakes four times a day. That seems to help some…but, with the weather being, well, wet…we haven’t been able to ride much. They are taking in all this energy and not getting to use it. Somehow this seems to me to be a recipe for disaster.
I’d like to let them out on our grassy area, but it is too wet. If history is any indication, they will run around and tear this part of our yard up making it useless for the spring ahead. For now, it’s a situation for sitting tight and hope the rain stops.
Summer will be here soon enough.
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