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Dusty Pens Can Turn to Mud in Winter Months

Dusty Pens Can Turn to Mud in Winter Months
Alayne Blickle

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Q:

I recently moved and now that my horses have been in their paddocks a while the dirt has turned to powder. I’ve installed feed bins so they are not eating it and I wet it down daily however it dries out quickly and is extremely dusty. What can I mix with this powder to eliminate this dusty situation? I’m thinking of putting gravel into their shelters. Thank you.

A: 

Dust in the summer becomes mud in the winter. Come winter all those bare dusty spots will likely turn into mud so you do want to tackle this problem now. Fortunately, there are some low-tech solutions for avoiding dust and soil erosion: cover bare spots with some type of footing. Where you can, growing something to hold onto the soil is the best solution. This might be dryland grass (species of grass that are tolerant to low levels of rainfall) in the non-irrigated areas. In areas where you get rainfall or irrigation it might be trees, shrubs or native plants. If it’s pasture, then plant pasture grasses.

For sacrifice areas, like paddocks and turnouts, cover with some type of crushed rock or other footing material — gravel, sand or chipped wood — wherever possible.

For more specifics you might check my Horses for Clean Water website. I have lots of resource materials there as well as Tip Sheets for sale for a small fee on different topics, including footing choices.

– Alayne Blickle

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Alayne Blickle

Alayne Blickle, a life-long equestrian and educator, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, nationally acclaimed environmental education program that “wrote the book” on caring for horses and land. Known for her enthusiastic, fun and down-to-earth approach, she is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horses and livestock owners for over 20 years. Alayne teaches and travels throughout North America and abroad, and also runs Sweet Pepper Ranch, an eco-sensitive guest ranch and horse motel in Southwestern Idaho where she and her husband raise top-notch reining horses and beautiful grass hay. For more information contact Alayne at alayne@horsesforcleanwater.com or 206-909-0225.

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