You'd think I'd be well-prepared to handle the problem then. Small ponies, small goats. Four pound chickens for crying out loud -- they hardly generate any mud at all. But there's a catch-22 with equines. Since I have more ponies than horses at the home barn, I can't use grass to hold the dirt. I can't rotate from one grass pasture to another. I can't simply let the horses out to pasture, no matter how small they are. To prevent laminitis and founder, I need a drylot. But, the problem with bare ground is that quite often you end up with something that is anything but dry.
Last year as a rookie pony keeper, I simply let the ponies chew down the winter grass in their large pen and did nothing else. No grass, no risk. Win win right? Well, I had never had to personally manage mud before. At first, when soft spots developed, I just ignored them. Then, if they got too deep or too wide, I put some straw over them. You can see where this is going right? It worked well enough during the summer, when the weather was hot, and because of the drought, oh-so-dry. The straw sopped up the moisture and then dried out. But as the weather cooled into the fall, it stopped drying out.
|The line between gravel pad and mud is clear.|
What to do?
I can't just replant with grass, because of the laminitis risk.
I hate to fill an entire yard with gravel or sand, but it looks like I'll have to or l'll have an entire herd of ponies knee-deep in mud.
Does anyone have any suggestions? What's the best and most economical material to use? I fear whatever the solution is, it's going to cost about the price of a used truck. Poo.