February 02, 2016
Problems with Mud
Horses, precipitation and dirt....that means lots of mud. I've mentioned on this blog that we have a drainage problem around the barn and stable yard. First off there are no gutters on the barn. Who would build a barn and not put on gutters to move the water away from the building? The barn has been here probably since 1997 so maybe it just wasn't an issue then?
A north facing area of the "wormhole" as we call it creates a very muddy path and the water doesn't drain easily at all. The muddy path is through the riding area towards the barnyard
Our plan when we finally have time, it's not raining or snowing and the ground isn't frozen solid is to start the French drain here along with removing much of the muck and replacing it with pea gravel and some sand. The adjacent area, the "riding area" will be a project for another day. I want to grade it slightly (there is hump right in the middle) and add rock and then sand to make it a decent large round pen area with good footing, it's mostly flat so will work well I think. Plus when I get sand footing in there I'm sure it will be a favorite rolling spot for the horses.
Once the water does start flowing a little bit from the muddy path in the riding area it creeps around the higher ground of the barn walkway. Then the water makes a path along the edge of the barn overhang.
It veers to the left of the trough and forms a "quagmire". Some water drains to the right and some is starting to drain towards The Shire pasture but also towards where our septic leach field is located in the lawn...not a good thing. Where you can see the fence corner there is a human walk thru and this is about where the lowest lying area of the barn yard is located, we'll need to build this substrate back up at some point.
The plan is to create a French drain along the water pathway past the barn, towards this puddle near the trough and then towards the right away from the leach field and out to the other fields. In the picture below with Dani this is the area to the side of the trough where we want to direct all of the water, between the barn and shed, and then that would lead the water to the other fields. The eventual goal is to lead all of the water off to the natural slope of the land where it flows to a gully off our property.
You can sort of make out a line that goes between the barn and shed in the property aerial below. The line moves across Gallifrey and Westeros. It's hard to make out the topography but the barnyard has become the lowest area of this part of the property (even though overall everything slopes away from the area). It's probably from years of horse use and inevitable compaction just in that paddock. It's just what happens when heavy animals are concentrated in a smaller area. Substrate needs to be added regularly but water should have been directed away from these buildings with gutters and downspouts.
When we had freezing temperatures for a while the muddy pathway had become even more hazardous when it froze solid. It wasn't just hard and solid, it was pocked with hoof holes that were at least 6 inches deep and could pose a threat to bones and tendons. When we had our Jonas experience I kept the horses off this area for fear that they wouldn't see the pock holes with a covering of snow. When summer comes this could become a breeding ground for insects we would like to prevent from breeding rather than encourage.
I'm hoping here in the next month or two that we can get the drainage project under way, to also include gutters on the outbuildings shortly after we install the French drain. We haven't had the time to really deal with this since moving in, unpacking and having family over often with the holidays. The weather issues have not allowed us to trench the area for the French drain either, so we've just made due and dealt with the mess. I've kept a close eye on the horses' hooves and fetlocks and have been proactive in preventing Scratches and Thrush with my arsenal of No Thrush and MTG.
I want to get this project done so badly! Steve and I plan to start measuring and figuring out a supplies list. Here's hoping that weather wise we can get this done in the next month or so. I'll post before and after photos when we finally get this worked on.