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I am getting back into horses after a long hiatus. And I'm having trouble with mud. The horse I lease is in rough board at a nice facility. But the paddocks lately are completely mud--foot sucking, ankle deep mud. It's nearly impossible to walk in there for a human. I sank in so deep on one step last week, I was almost mid-calf deep and almost fell over--in a pen with 5 horses in it. My lease horse is very friendly and people oriented and is usually waiting at the gate for me--unless there is mud. Then even she doesn't want to leave the shelter--which is in the middle of the paddock. How do I navigate the mud safely to go get her? I hope this isn't a stupid question. I figure others must deal with this and maybe someone has some tricks. Since it's not my property, I can't fix the paddocks--but I'm considering carrying some wooden boards with me or something, or getting snowshoes? It's very dangerous when I have the horse in hand and I can barely walk and she's sort of walking over the top of me when I get stuck and stop suddenly. The other problem is frozen peaks of mud tripping me and bruising my feet thru the boots. I hope someone can help. Or it's going to be a long Winter.
 

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All I've figured out thus far is wear sturdy boots that aren't likely to be pulled off, scan for a safe path, and move slowly. If the mud freezes hard, it might be better since it won't be trying to eat you.
 

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I would not tolerate that sort of living conditions for my horse, much less me having to slog thru all that ---- "stuff".

But you lease the horse, so that puts you in a quandary. I might ask the BO how they intend to resolve an issue that sounds to be unsafe for horses and humans alike.

For now, you might try bringing two pairs of foot gear to the barn. A pair of high lightweight rubber boots that tight enough to not get sucked off your legs and whatever footwear you ride in.

A heads up on your lease horse's hooves ---- be sure you pick it's hooves and put some thrush meds along the frogs and in the central sulci, every time you get it out of that mud hole. I'm willing to bet every horse in there has some degree of thrush and possibly Whiteline.
 

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I would not tolerate that sort of living conditions for my horse, much less me having to slog thru all that ---- "stuff".
At least where I grew up, every single stable had this same exact mud issue. I hate it. With a burning passion. I dream of the days when I can own my own backyard stable and have enough money for some professional landscaper to come and tear out all the dirt and replace it with who knows what, or install some form of **effective** drainage, or something, just to avoid this problem.

Anyway, that was just a long way of saying that in some areas of the country, it is simply unavoidable. Where there are horses during this time of the year, there is ankle-deep mud. It's such a staple of horse-keeping that most stables will confine their horses to tiny paddocks during mud season so that they don't muddy up their big, nice pastures.

I second good boots. I have knee-high waterproof boots that work well, and I wear as many thick socks as possible so that the fit is snug and the mud is less likely to yank my boot off. You definitely want a serious sole on whatever shoe you wear, because stepping on upside-down mudcicles is very painful if you're wearing a thin-soled shoe. Some people try putting down huge, thick rugs to distribute pressure so humans and horses can walk over it without sinking, but I'm not sure if your barn owner would let you do that.
 

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Have to pick a path that's not as deep of mud,sometimes the fence line. Wear tighter fitting boots. Suck your boots off mud is just hard to deal with.

Barn I worked at had major mud issues,an made it difficult to get horses out. I found staying near fence line was better going.
 

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Here's a wacky idea. Could you offer to pay for a trail of pea gravel out to the shelter? This could later be reinforced with concrete or build up with turf, whatever the BO wants, once everything dries out and warms up. You could talk with the BO and see if the other owners might be willing to chip in too. Just be sure that the BO is in control of the entire project once it's in motion, otherwise there could be drama.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I would not tolerate that sort of living conditions for my horse, much less me having to slog thru all that ---- "stuff".

But you lease the horse, so that puts you in a quandary. I might ask the BO how they intend to resolve an issue that sounds to be unsafe for horses and humans alike.

For now, you might try bringing two pairs of foot gear to the barn. A pair of high lightweight rubber boots that tight enough to not get sucked off your legs and whatever footwear you ride in.

A heads up on your lease horse's hooves ---- be sure you pick it's hooves and put some thrush meds along the frogs and in the central sulci, every time you get it out of that mud hole. I'm willing to bet every horse in there has some degree of thrush and possibly Whiteline.
Thanks for the reply. I'm going to talk to my horse's owner about the feet issue. I'm only out there once day per week. I'm legally blind and can't drive anymore and that's all the time my husband has to drive me there and sit around for 3 hours while I do horses. :) The owner has let me get her other two horses out for grooming and checking over (she's very grateful I'm willing to do that sometimes) so I'm going to ask about treating their feet. That was my first thought when I saw the mudhole they were now confined to (and the smaller pen is causing them to fight with each other too). Will once a week foot treatment at least help or will I be spitting in the wind? Thanks!
 

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Thank you for all the replies. The barns I worked at when I was younger never had this kind of mud. Well, i think one might have, but I didn't work there very long. The others had plenty of space per horse and used a lot of gravel. So I have been trying to find a good boot solution. I have good riding boots now that are waterproof, and will not come off in the mud, but they will not be great for the frozen mud peaks. So I'm looking for yet another pair of mud/work boots. This is getting expensive and I'm living on disability income. LOL The other problem is that I'm legally bind. I can't tell where the good path is. I can see to walk, but not good detail. And I tried walking the fenceline the other day and wobbled and grabbed the fence and---ZAP! It's electrified.

Since I only go out once a week right now, I can't offer to pay for gravel--although that's a very good suggestion! Maybe I'll talk to some of the other boarders and the owner of my lease horse to see if they would do that--they must all be fit to be tied with this mud too. And we got Winter so early in WI this year, it's going to be an extra couple of months of mud and frozen peaks this year.



I did find a product called Mudders Boots--I'll try to figure out how to post the pics that I might try--they cost about $140, which is similar to most good quality barn boots. Hopefully the pictures I attached will show in this post. New to this forum! Thanks for the ideas and the discussion. I'm going to really work on getting the horses to come to me--whatever bribery that takes. :)
 

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We, like you, had unending rain all summer leading to mud where there usually wasn't any. Our horses have room to move around (their smallest area up by the barn is about 5 acres, and they're usually turned out on 20 acres, but the areas around gates or the feeders still turned into a quagmire. Still, standing around in mud constantly isn't good for horses. They do need to get dry periodically, so hopefully your horse's shed isn't muddy, too.

Sometimes without taking the dirt down a foot and adding a drainage base, then sand, there's not much one can do and most properties will have the same issue if they have numerous horses on one small space because they don't want the pastures torn up and ruined completely. You may just have to deal with it.

Sturdy boots that fit snugly and go up to your knees are your best bet. If you ride, bring another pair to ride in.

Once the mud freezes up, it should be less treacherous, but horses will need to be moved to a 'new' area if it's frozen with deep holes and ruts. That's not safe, either. Ours avoid those spots or navigate them carefully until they level out or fill with snow/ice but the horse shouldn't be standing on frozen, rutted, dangerous ground full-time either.
 

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The only real solution involves trenches, perforated pipe, geotextile, and more gravel than you ever thought it was possible for a small area to accommodate. Gravel alone is a very temporary fix without the drainage engineering underneath it.

When you buy your dream horse farm, check the drainage!
 

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Yeah, don't just add gravel. Gravel just sinks in the mud and gets churned up. At best, you now have deeper mud with rocks in it that will work to the surface when it dries. At worst, you end up with abrasive paste that will wear your horse's legs raw as they try to navigate through it.

I remember one mustanger account from years past where gravel was added to a muddy pen, and mustangs (considered worthless) driven round and round until they wore their lower legs and hooves to stumps in the abrasive mix, then they were shot and the gravel mixture used for some sort of clay.... ugh.
 

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There's no easy solution, unfortunately. I have seen places like this, and wouldn't want my horses living there. However, you obviously don't have the option of going somewhere else since you lease.

I'm not sure the product you posted would be effective, but it's worth a try I guess... see if you can find reviews on them. I feel like they wouldn't stay on very well (I snowshoe and the straps on these would not keep snowshoes on my feet), but maybe I'm wrong. Also be cautious of horses stepping on the plastic edge. You'll want to stay very far away from those hooves -- off to the side and a bit in front. It may even be necessary to ask them to have the horse you lease brought in for you. I know you want to do everything yourself, but this strikes me as a dangerous situation. Getting stuck and falling over in an area full of horses seems risky.
 

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All good things to know for my own property--if we decide to have horses. I will have to determine that before we buy a property. If I don't need to own my horse, we can get a smaller property. If I do want my own horse, then the drainage issues just became a big factor!
Their shed was dry the last time I was out there, but we've had a bunch of snow in the last couple weeks--and thawing and freezing--rinse and repeat! So not sure if it's still dry now. It had a big chunk out of one side which I was told the barn was about to fix. Hopefully they did before this last snowfall.
 

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When I acquired my first horse she was stabled in a similar situation. She always came to me at the gate. People would ask how I got her to do that. Simple, I carried treats.
As cor the mud it is too late now but keeping the manure picked up reduces mud and hog fuel over the hard pan provides a drier footing.
Do watch out for scratches just below the fetlocks.
 

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We don't usually have big mud issues, but fall/winter and winter/spring transitions can be rough. I got a pair of tall muck boots that have staying power so they don't slip off. It can happen in places that don't historically have deep mud issues, too.

I have these and the short boots and they're both amazing in the worst, muckiest, wettest seasons.
https://www.nobleoutfitters.com/products/womens-muds-high
 
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