Which Paddock Surface is Best for a Rainy Climate?

grass-field-left
Galloping down one of the back fields

These are pictures of my set-up, where I am self-boarding my horses on a friend’s property. There are 4 acres of fields here, and three horses (I could go to a maximum of 4 horses) so I have enough land for a “sacrifice field”. And that way I can keep them on pasture year-round in this super rainy Pacific Northwest climate. BUT, what am I going to put on their paddock surface to create a paddock footing with adequate drainage?

In this front area I call the “paddock” are their water tubs and 2 walk-in shelters, each with it’s own slow feeder and rubber mats. I will leave the back field open for them through the winter until May/June and let them trash it with their hooves and manure. Then I will harrow this field (leaving the manure to bake in the hot sun and kill all bots, eggs, parasites etc.) and move them to the field next to it. Where I will leave them for the entire summer and winter, let them trash it, etc. By the time the following May/June rolls around, the harrowed field will be rejuvenated and I’ll flip them again. And repeat, ongoing.

grass-paddock
The current paddock footing

BUT the paddock area in front of the shelters is going to get a lot of traffic, and will quickly turn into a mud pit. So I want to lay down some kind of surface footing that will encourage water drainage and help keep my horses hooves drier, so we can avoid thrush and other hoof problems that are common in this rainy climate. The question is: what should I put down on the surface of this paddock; what drainage materials will work best and not cost me crazy money?

If you don’t care about the how’s and the why’s and the research and you just want the solution fast, then here’s my chart of the best paddock surfaces in a wet, rainy climate, according to what you can afford. Obviously, the Queen is the ideal solution for both long-term wear and hoof protection – but many of us cannot afford that. The Pauper solution may need to be re-done every year or two, but at least it should get you through the wet season with hooves intact.

gravel-chartDOWNLOAD this chart

For those of you who want to know HOW I came up with this chart, let’s keep going…

Which Paddock Footing Materials are Best?

This is a debate which could go on a long time, so I’m just going to summarize the various positions here and give some examples.

One herd owner I know used a mixture of various sized gravel, sand, and crusher dust. But she said she wouldn’t use the crusher dust again, since it packs down like cement. Crusher dust is gravel that has been crushed to the size of 1/4″ or less. It can also be called quarter minus, or flume sand. However, on the flip side of that argument, here’s what a Farrier has to say about why she prefers crusher dust:

“As a farrier, my favourite footing in this area is crusher dust. My clients have a rubber mat outside and they feed off of that. If the hay does get on it, it isn’t like sand for colic concerns that I’ve ever heard of. It keeps their feet in the best shape of all the footings I’ve dealt with. Be aware that there are different types of “crusher dust” and the type that sets up very firm is what I prefer. The other stuff is too loose and just moves out of the way like pea gravel. It would probably be fine in a drier climate but on the Wet Coast, it isn’t ideal.

hog-fuel
Hog Fuel

Sand tends to overwear the feet but of all the footings for paddocks, it tends to be my second choice because at least their feet stay dry.

My least favourite footing is hogfuel and I’d probably have them stand in mud over hogfuel because when hogfuel is new, it is very acidic and it etches out the sole of the foot, leaving the foot more vulnerable (I’ve seen hooves so bad on it that a hoofpick can poke through the sole easily. I’ve also had a few that you had to be careful even with thumb pressure because that was enough to poke a hole through the sole.). As the hogfuel ages and the acid leaches out, it turns sloppy and is a fantastic host for bacteria so again, another problem to deal with.”

The most common concern about using crusher dust – which is just tiny, crushed gravel – is whether it will be too sharp for the hooves. But again, after researching, I think that’s an issue of the existing surface, how much is used, and what the resulting footing is like. The same Farrier I quoted above also says:

“It locks together and makes a very firm surface with just enough give to allow for maximum traction. It isn’t something the horses prefer to roll in but give them options on a rainy day and they will stand on it over most other footings. Because it packs down fairly solid, it doesn’t have the big pointy bits that are inclined to puncture and lead to abscesses. That said, you pretty much have to see the different types and as was mentioned by someone else, you have to know how the surface below it will effect it. If you are putting it over mud, you aren’t going to get the positive results that many of us see with it. Sometimes you have to do some research into what to lay down below it.

I’d highly recommend going to look at farms that offer to let you see theirs and take a good hard look at their horses feet. I have seen improvement in hoof quality in every foot taken from hogfuel or mud and placed on crusher dust and comparing it to the sand options, it is still a better hoof. That said, there have been some crusher dusts surfaces that while I feel they are an improvement over hogfuel or mud, are still not “the best”. If you are already starting with fairly hard footing underneath, crusher dust may not be your best option but on the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley [of BC, Canada], it is rare for it not to be an improvement.”

One thing everyone does seem to agree on, is that if you are using crusher dust or pea gravel, is it’s best to scrape off the topsoil (mud) first and get it down to the hard soil surface, then lay your footing. For the people that love crusher dust, they seem to love it because it packs down hard and forms a cement-like surface that doesn’t sink into mud. However, depending on the surface you lay the crusher dust on, it can also mix easily with the mud and be gone by the next rainy season. I know several stables that just dump fresh crusher dust on their paddocks every year to replenish the surface.

When I called a local nursery that sells everything (pea gravel, crusher dust, limestone, sand, mulch etc.), they told me that the Cloverdale Racetrack uses limestone gravel for their track. They said it packs down better than pea gravel in the rain, there are less of the tiny stones to get stuck in the horse’s hooves, and it’s easy to shovel manure off of. They also recommended I use 6 inches of it.

A number of articles I’ve read on this subject suggest using a minimum of 3 inches of footing (surface drainage material), or to use the same depth your mud gets to. So if your paddock usually turns into 5 inches of mud, then use 5 inches of footing.

What If There Is No Hard Soil?

The big problem you get in many (most?) parts of the Pacific Northwest and the U.K., is there there is no hard soil, or shale, or rock beneath the topsoil! A friend of mine who builds roads in the Vancouver area – and whose father builds horse arenas – told me that you can go down 6 feet and you still won’t hit any kind of hard soil or anything that would provide a barrier to your gravel sinking away.

He said you MUST go with the Princess solution for your paddock surface or you will just have to dump the same amount of gravel every year, year after year, because it just keeps sinking. I’ll tell you my personal experience with this towards the end of this article…!

The Royal Paddock

draingridAfter consulting with herd managers, researching the Internet and commercial companies who provide paddock footing services, the creme de la creme way to create the absolute best paddock drainage surface seems to be this: First dig down 4-6 inches, then lay Geo-Textile fabric to cover the area. Next, lay a specialized plastic draingrid on top of the Geo-Textile fabric, then layer with sand and then 5/8 inch minus pea gravel and top with 3/8 inch minus limestone gravel, or crusher dust.

If it’s your own land, or you have lots of cash, this solution makes perfect sense. But in my case, I’m self-boarding on a friend’s property and I just don’t want to sink that much money into someone else’s property. However, I also want to do as much as I can to make sure my horses don’t get thrush in their hooves this winter.

Two Layers of Footing/Drainage – Different Sizes

Since I don’t want to install the premium paddock drainage surface mentioned above, and the budget to hire an excavator to remove 6-12 inches of soil, then lay Geo-Textile fabric is also out of my range, what is a cheaper alternative that is still likely to work well? Dr. Ann Swinker (professor of Equine Sciences) says:

“Ideally a two layer footing system works best when working with gravel. It consists of a coarse aggregate base and a finer cover layer. Neither of these materials work well alone. Coarse aggregate does not compact easily; many voids may result leaving the surface uneven and difficult for livestock to walk on. The finer material compacts easily but will move under heavy traffic. When the two materials are used together, the fine material fills in the voids left by the coarse material. The result is a durable, all-weather surface that is acceptable for animals.”

So if I were to follow her advice, I could use pea gravel on the bottom and crusher dust on top (crusher is really just tiny gravel with gravel particle dust), or limestone gravel and crusher dust, or limestone gravel and sand. However, you don’t want to use sand if your horses are going to be eating on the surface (can cause colic if ingested). But since mine have slow feeders in the walk-in shelters, that is not an issue.

When choosing gravel, pea gravel, or limestone gravel, most experts say you should get crushed rock particles no larger than 3/4″, or they are not comfortable for the horses to stand on. However, if you can get them small enough (usually 3/8″ – 5/8″) to filter through the tines of your manure fork, that will make scooping poop easier and reduce gravel wastage. This may seem like a small point, but trust me, it makes a huge difference to the time spent scooping manure AND the loss of expensive gravel that gets tossed out with the manure.

How Much Drainage Footing to Order?

The one thing you notice when you’re trying to price out gravel or crusher dust, is that pricing tends to be in cubic yards. Luckily there is a super easy way to convert square feet to cubic yards:

1. Multiply the square footage (length x width = square footage) of your paddock by the depth of gravel you want. BUT your depth must also be in feet, not inches. So 6″ = .5 feet, or 3″ = .25 feet.

e.g: 500 square feet x .5 feet depth = 250 cubic feet

2. Divide your answer (cubic feet) by 27 to get the number of cubic yards you need.

e.g. 250 cubic feet divided by 27 = 9.25 cubic yards

And that’s how much you need to order!

Here’s a full list of inch to feet conversions so you can figure out the depth of gravel you want for step #1 above:

Converting Inches to Feet:

1 inch equals .083 feet
1.5 inches equals .125 feet
2 inches equals .167 feet
2.5 inches equals .208 feet
3 inches equals .25 feet
4 inches equals .33 feet
5 inches equals .417 feet
6 inches equals .50 feet

My Final Paddock Surface

So now that I have all the information needed to make a good decision about what is the best paddock surface for horses in a wet, rainy climate… it’s time to look at what I can afford!

My big constraint with my set-up is that it is not my own land and so realistically, I could be kicked out at any time. This seriously impacts my decision-making process. So instead of implementing what I know would be a great solution (the Princess or Queen solution), instead, I’m trying to figure out the most cost-effective way of making sure my horses don’t get thrush and can maintain healthy hooves through this year’s wet, rainy Winter and Spring. I’m less concerned with the following years, since I may not even be there.

Since I have not prepped my paddock surface and the gravel will be dumped straight on the grass, I decide to order 39 tons of 3/4 inch minus gravel from Fraser Valley Aggregates. I’m concerned that if I use crusher dust or a smaller gravel, it will be easily churned into mud before the winter’s over. Here’s what 3/4 inch minus looks like and it costs me $700 including delivery:

3-4-inch-gravel

The truck arrived and dumped both loads of gravel near the shelters.

DSC_0030

I thought I could get a few friends out and spread the gravel using rakes, but when I looked at the size of the piles and realized how heavy the gravel was, I decided to hire a local farmer to come spread it for me.

front-loader-spread-gravel

Here’s what it looked like after the two truckloads of 3/4 inch gravel was spread out:

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I was happy with this for a few days, and then I started fretting about the fact that there really wasn’t much room for them to move around and exercise, yet stay on the gravel. Then I thought: What if they get a thrush infection and I need to keep them completely off mud… I won’t be able to do that without cross-fencing the paddock!

The farmer who spread the gravel for me suggested I try a load of crusher dust from Upper Fraser Valley Trucking next time – he thought it would be a better surface, even spread directly on grass. So I called them up and ordered 45 tons of 1/4 inch minus crusher dust with squared edges (not sharp) and had that spread on the remaining half of the paddock. That cost me $840 including delivery.

Here’s what the 1/4 inch minus crusher dust looks like on the paddock:

1/4 inch Crusher Dust
1/4 inch minus Crusher Dust

And here’s what the 3/4 inch gravel looks like on the paddock:

DSC_0026
3/4 inch minus Gravel

I figured this would be a really good test to see which gravel held up best under the horse’s hooves during the rainy season, because I had them side-by-side for direct comparison!

Here’s all the things I did not anticipate, so you can benefit from my learning curve:

1. As you can see from the 2 photos directly above, it is much easier to rake all the leaves off of the crusher dust. With the gravel, the rocks are often larger than the leaves, so the rake ends up gathering the rocks and the leaves are left behind. The larger chunks of rock are also easily caught in the rake, so you end up dumping a lot of the gravel you just paid money for, out with the leaves – which does not feel good!

DSC_0023
3/4 inch minus gravel stuck in rake

2. The same problem occurs when you shovel manure. The 3/4 inch gravel gets stuck in your manure fork and you end up throwing away a little bit of your money every day when you clean the paddock:

DSC_0020
3/4 inch minus gravel stuck in manure fork

3. The whole idea of having a gravel or crusher dust top layer is to prevent wet organic matter (soil, grass, hay, leaves, manure etc.) from coming into contact with your horses hooves, and then to facilitate the drainage of rainwater away from the surface, so your horse’s hooves stay drier. So you cannot leave any of this organic matter sitting on your gravel, or else it will quickly break down into a mucky layer that defeats the whole purpose. Manure and leaves also break down quickly in the rain, so you must clear them off your gravel daily. This is really labor intensive – and I totally did not anticipate the amount of leaf raking I was going to have to do!

The Winner: Gravel or Crusher Dust?

In hindsight, even if I could not afford to remove the topsoil and lay down an industrial cloth barrier, I should have dumped 3/4 inch minus gravel directly on the grass (at least 3 inches) and then dumped 1/4 inch minus crusher dust directly on top of the gravel (at least 2 inches deep). Here’s why…

In the middle of the worst rains of winter, the 3/4 inch gravel has the best drainage and keeps the surface drier, even during a full day of rain:

gravel-winter

On the same day, here’s what patches of the 1/4 inch crusher dust look like – you can see how the mud and soil underneath has been churned into the crusher dust. On a full rainy day, these patches fill with standing water – there is no drainage:

crusher-dust-winter

So why not just use the 3/4 inch gravel? Well, because of the difficulties cleaning the manure and leaves off it (detailed above) AND the horses will not lie down on the gravel, but they love to lie down on the crusher dust. Good sleep is an important part of a happy, healthy horse.

Another consideration: the dust particles in the crusher dust work themselves deep into your horse’s mane and coat. Not only does this make them very hard to brush clean, but the particles are super fine dust that occasionally irritate the horse’s eyes and are certainly not healthy for you or your horse to be inhaling.

Next time, I would want to examine the crusher dust and see which supplier’s contains the least amount of dust. Or, I will try to find just 1/4 inch minus or 3/8 inch minus smooth gravel with no dust – that would be ideal.

What does minus mean, when referring to gravel? It simply means that the particle size of the gravel is guaranteed to be less than the measurement. So 3/8 inch minus gravel means that the largest particle size is 3/8 of an inch and all the gravel in the load is guaranteed to be 3/8 inch or smaller.

Here’s my handy-dandy Paddock Surface Chart to help make your decision-making process easier.

How Did The Paddock Hold Up Over The Year?

Well, I went with the Pauper solution for my paddock footing in August. By February, all the horses hooves were still in great condition (they are also fed low sugar hay, which makes a huge difference to hoof health) and the surface was still in good shape.

But by April, the area around the slow feeders was wet and mucky. Even though we moved some gravel over from other parts of the paddock, the gravel had sunk down into the soil all over, so there wasn’t much left to scavenge.

slow-feeder-May
By May, the area around the slow feeders is mostly dirt

By May, you can see that the paddock surface is pretty much toast – the grass is growing up from underneath and the gravel has almost disappeared from sinking into the soil – and the entire thing will have to be re-done in August for approximately the same cost ($1800 total).

gravel-May
The three-quarter inch gravel by May (9 months later)
What the crusher dust looks like in May (9 months later)
What the crusher dust looks like in May (9 months later)

Oh, and even though I added a new portable shelter for them, so they could stand outside to eat, this rain cover did not prevent the gravel from sinking into the ground around the slow feeders by April.

gravel-shelter-sfs
A new shelter with slow feeders under it – horses are standing on gravel while eating, but can still feel the sun and freedom

In my opinion, both the Pauper and the Merchant solution are throwing your money away. The gravel and/or crusher dust only lasts one season and so you have to pay out the same amount every year. If you go with the Princess solution, the cost is anywhere from 5 – 8 times the cost of one year of gravel, but I’m told you only have to do it once (as long as you keep organic matter off your paddock surface).

I know many boarding facilities who use the Pauper solution every year, year after year. Whether it’s because they just can’t get enough cash together at one time, or they’re not thinking long-term, I don’t know.ย If it was my own land, I would definitely go with the Princess solution (hint: download the chart to see what these terms mean).

Please feel free to share your experience and experiments in the Comments section below!

Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Freedomite. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.

Which Paddock Surface is Best for a Rainy Climate?

20 thoughts on “Which Paddock Surface is Best for a Rainy Climate?

  • October 16, 2016 at 11:40 am
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    That was a very interesting read! I’m curious to know if you ended up redoing the paddock surface area this year again? And what you used.
    I redid an arena 4 years ago and after MUCH research we went the 3″ minus with an “arena mix” of sand and fine gravel on top. (from Kelmor in Chilliwack) We did not do a geo textile cloth (although I had one in my first hog fuel arena). My arena is also used as the dry area on wet days and overnight hours, I am very happy with my surface.
    One thing that I did and would highly recommend is after having the 3″ minus delivered we rented a 1000 lb plate compactor and compacted the arena surface for a full week, many, many, many times. The sand was dumped and spread about 2 weeks later. This was an important step because without it the large 3″ minus rocks will slowly start to surface to the top and will need to be “picked” before riding / turnout. I have friends who have used almost the same formula but without the compacting and have to pick the rocks regularly (at least weekly, if not more often).
    It has great drainage, and my one complaint is that it gets dusty in the summer, but I consider that a small price to pay for a dry arena in the winter.
    I have also not had to top it up in any way, although I pick manure daily, and also harrow it weekly as I don’t want to mess up my base by having “holes” in my sand from the horses playing out there!
    I live in Chilliwack, so have the same weather as you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • October 16, 2016 at 4:38 pm
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      Great info Donna – thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! I have since left that boarding place, but the owners (who bought their own horses after being inspired by mine) did indeed dump 4 more boxes of crusher dust on that paddock ($1400). It’s holding up well though and perhaps they will only need to re-do it every 3-5 years now; since there’s such a good base on it now.

      And yes, I can also concur with your friends’ experience. At my recent place I put down the 3″ minus rock first, but only ran the tractor back and forth over it. And yes, that 3″ rock is endlessly coming up through the 3/4″ minus, and the crusher dust I layered on top!

      So for the 1000 lb plate compactor you rented – was that a separate machine? Or is that an attachment you put on your own tractor?

      It’s good to know that packing it down like that can make such a difference though, I will definitely keep that in mind.

      Reply
      • October 16, 2016 at 6:36 pm
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        We rented the compactor from United Rentals, it is a seperate machine, but we did use a tractor to lift it off of the trailer that we brought it home with, it was heavy!

        Reply
        • October 17, 2016 at 9:47 am
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          Good to know – thanks Donna!

          Reply
  • December 22, 2016 at 1:35 am
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    Ladies

    Catherine here. I live in Ireland where we have a wet mild climate. I have just purchased a house with 2 acres. As I have 2 horses I intend to build a small turnout paddock for the winter months. All your information is invaluable, thank you very much. It is fantastic that you took the time and effort to go into such detail. I will probably go with the princess option , again thanks a million.

    Catherine

    here it is:  

    Reply
  • March 6, 2017 at 11:45 am
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    great info, i really appreciate you sharing with others as it takes time to post such info with pictures, too. I have 3 acres and am looking to create a drylot for my 6 sheep ๐Ÿ™‚ Leaning towards the princess option, or somewhere inbetween. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • March 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm
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      Post a before and after pic when you’re done Joanna (with your sheep in it!) – that would be cool ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • May 7, 2017 at 3:34 am
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    Thank you for your great article!!! I’m in Virginia, USA and have been researching what to do for the muddy parts of our barn and our sacrifice lot. We don’t have as much rain as you all in the NW but we do have LOTS of hills and so we get drainage across our fields. We have a rescue donkey and rescue OTTB that love to roll in mud — but after 4 days of rain, it’s too much mud! (normally everything here gets wet from rain, but dries the next day to hard surface). This has been SO HELPFUL!!!!! and I love the photos!!!! THANK YOU!!!

    Reply
  • May 24, 2017 at 4:03 pm
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    Just what I needed for my muddy hillside Tennessee horse farm. Just beginning to figure out what my best plan is. This will help tremendously. Thanks you so much!

    Reply
    • August 8, 2018 at 3:31 am
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      Hi Suzy! I am also a muddy hillside east Tennessee horsefarm owner. Just purchased Nov of 17 and boy it was a wet muddy mess for my 3 because I only had one month to get so much done before I could move them in.
      I have been doing research on the geogrids and stumbled on this wonderful and very helpful ariticle by Jini… Thank you ๐Ÿ™
      I am curious as to what you went with if you could let us know.

      Reply
  • July 8, 2017 at 9:14 am
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    This is the best article I have read on this subject!

    Reply
    • July 8, 2017 at 6:53 pm
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      Thanks Margaret – glad it was useful/helpful!

      Reply
  • November 28, 2017 at 5:06 pm
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    Thank you very much for this information, I am in Colorado, down on the plains, so we don’t get a lot of rain, but for sure the snow then the horse’s runs fall apart. I started with the crusher fines, but have not been happy with the pee spots, so I’ll go back and do the pea gravel, or maybe put some sand down in the pee hole, then the next 2 layers? I like the fines so far for helping with the mud, but for sure am trying a longer term solution. I have a small boarding facility, so I have 12 runs to deal with and budget is a concern, but I also know having to do it twice costs more because of mistakes lol

    Reply
    • November 29, 2017 at 7:51 pm
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      If you have hard ground underneath, you may be able to get away with 2-3 layers of gravel:

      Bottom: Large roadbase (3″ minus)
      Middle: 3/4″ minus gravel
      Top layer: Crusher Dust

      But if not, then you’re going to have to put down either geotextile cloth, or the plastic grid mats – and then lay your gravel. Or for sure you will be re-doing every year. Would love to know what works for your climate/conditions… ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • April 16, 2018 at 12:29 am
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    Hi!
    I have found your article here really helpful!
    I live in Maple Ridge and I am about to attempt this for my two horses on a rental property…
    Their paddock is 8000 sq feet, so cost is definitely an issue.
    I have already tried to scrape down a few layers last year and dig a trench through the center of their paddock but it hasnt worked as i didnt grade the area well enough..
    I have hired a contractor with a huge tracked skid steer who specialises in fine grading to fill my trench back in and grade and scrape their entire paddock so that it has a nice gentle slope.
    I have been debating over whether i need Geo-textile or not, as some areas are fairly hard but some seem to have some clay…
    I am considering using 3″ deep of recycled 1″minus concrete directly on top of the fresh scraped and graded ground compacted with his skidsteer and then adding 3″ deep of crusher dust or sechelt sand to the top..
    what do you think? how essential is the geotextile if you have scraped down a few feet?
    appreciate your thoughts on this.
    Again, this article is fantastic!
    Best,
    Alicia

    Reply
    • April 16, 2018 at 5:44 am
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      After just completing yet another experiment, I would say the Geotextile is non-negotiable!! Seriously, DO it. It doesn’t matter how much you scrape and pack, your gravel (even 3″ road base!) will disappear and every year you’ll be laying new gravel. But then you’re hooped, because you just won’t be willing to scrape away $2,000 worth of gravel and start again with the Geotextile! I have been on two rental properties and each time didn’t think it was worth doing the geotextile, but even if you only stay 2 years, it’s worth it. Either that or you need to lay the plastic drainage mats – but that’s even more expensive. Also be sure and check out our French Drain post as that worked brilliantly and may replace your trench:

      http://listentoyourhorse.com/paddock-mud-or-flood-problems-install-a-french-drain/

      Reply
  • May 29, 2018 at 8:45 am
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    Great info. A couple of months ago (prior to reading this) I leveled the walkout paddock area and laid pea gravel 6โ€ deep under the roof and 4โ€ beyond which will be exposed to a lot of rain in winter. I forget the size but itโ€™s small enough to fall through the manure fork. Only a few donโ€™t fall through. So far so good. My mare has Cushings and sometimes laminitis. Since putting the pea gravel down her feet have improved a lot as the little rocks act like ball bearings and roll around under her feet instead of sticking causing pain. This is a boarding facility so all my expense. Now Iโ€™m going to moving my other mare over so wanted to check whatโ€™s the best footing as I live on Vancouver Island, the place with the most rainfall on the planet. Winters are horrible for mud so I wonโ€™t be caught off guard again. Iโ€™ll be staying with the pea gravel for sure. Just wondering about freezing. Which is less likely to freeze. Gravel or 5 ml washed sand. I want a common sandy area as well so they can enjoy a good roll with no dust.

    Reply
    • May 30, 2018 at 7:15 am
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      Hi Pat, if you just laid the gravel, but no geotextile cloth underneath, you’ll get one good winter out of it, possibly two. Don’t be tempted then to just throw more gravel down, thinking it’s got a good base now. I’m on year 4 of doing that – and it just keeps disappearing into our rain-soaked soil. Regarding freezing, when it gets below zero, it all freezes. But mine prefer to lie out in the field on the frozen mud, so perhaps sand would be better – it would be warmer for sure and I think that plays a big part in their choice.

      Reply

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