- Posted by Emily
- On March 18, 2022
- 0 Comments
Spring is here! Pastures are green, the trees are budding, and mud is caking the boots of equestrians across the state. Yes, mud—March is one of the state’s wettest months. While not everything about spring is worth celebrating, there are a few things you can do to minimize the impact of mud.
For your farm:
- Be judicious about pasture turnout. Your horses are likely chomping at the bit to get at that spring grass. After all, grass is sweetest in the spring because of the high sugar content. However, your grass is also at its most vulnerable; saturated pastures mean that grass doesn’t yet have strong, deep roots. A horse’s eager chomping can easily pull clumps of grass right out of the ground. Not to mention, the running, bucking and kicking of a horse living life like someone left the gate open can wreak havoc on immature grass.
- Add texture to slick areas. Around the water trough, gate openings, loafing sheds and the feeding area are some of the muddiest places around the farm. Consider adding texture, like sand, grit or pea gravel, to these common areas to assist with drainage.
- Consider drainage systems. Drainage systems don’t have to be complex or expensive. Something as simple as a six-inch PVC pipe entrenched and flush with the side of a round pen can give water a place to go after a downpour. Grab a mattock and get creative!
For your horse:
- Give your horse an escape. Horses may not mind the rain, but constant moisture can cause issues for your horse. It’s helpful if they have a sheltered, mud-free area to dry out.
- Get out the curry comb and the hoof pick. While horses may not seek out mud to trample through, it’s nearly inevitable this time of year. Mud cakes on horses’ hooves and on lower legs. It can cause thrush, a bacterial infection that occurs on the bottom of the foot, and scratches, a bacterial growth common on the pasterns and heels. Though neither are unavoidable, keeping a horse’s feet as clean and as dry as possible can help keep both conditions at bay.
- Watch for injury. With slippery mud, it’s not uncommon for a horse to lose footing and take a fall. Equally dangerous are areas of thick, deep, “sucking” mud that can pull off shoes and injure soft tissue as horses struggle for traction. Give your horse a once-over daily to watch for anything that seems off.