Happy spring everyone!
Depending on where you live, it could feel like spring is here to stay whereas for other places it feels like it won't be here for a while. Where I live, the snow is just starting to melt and we are starting to see the grass. The sidewalks are starting to be flooded with water as it travels to the drains and the ground isn't able to hold up under our feet.
For horse people, they can have a love-hate relationship with spring. Spring means that the show season is fast approaching (or has already started), but it also means that the horses will be shedding. It means that the warmer days are coming where you can bathe your horses, but it means that your clean horses may roll in the mud.
When spring comes around, mud can become a big problem around the stable. Horses are more prone to mud fever and to losing their shoes if the mud is deep enough. Depending on your situation, there are different things you can do.
If you own the property that your horses are living on, making sure that the ground drains well will be a big help. It'll allow you to deal with the problem at its source. If the ground is slightly angled towards a draining system or if it is composed of materials that drain better than others, you'll be ahead of the game. Adding a few inches of crushed gravel can help with draining the extra water. The water will fall through the gravel where the soil is and will give the soil more time to absorb the water before it will be noticed on the gravel's surface.
If you don't own the property or if you don't feel comfortable suggesting to the owner to improve their footing, there are still a few things you can do to deal with the mud.
Keep your horse clean. It sounds simple, but it's true. If you make sure that your horse is properly groomed, it will make a big difference. Make sure to focus your attention on your horse's belly as well as his legs (especially around the pastern). Your horse will also be standing is more damp conditions than normal so be sure to clean their hooves well to prevent infections.
Mud fever is "a painful skin inflammation caused by a nasty microorganism that thrives on damp horse coats" so making sure that your horses are dry is important as well. Keeping your horse's coat short will also prevent a large buildup of mud from gathering on your horse. If you would like to know more about mud fever and how to manage your horse's health in muddy conditions, you can click here.
Also, mud is not good for your leather equipment. Make sure that you clean your boots and tack after using them. The mud will dry out your leather and make it crack more easily than if they were clean because the mud will soak up all of the oils in the leather. So make sure to protect, clean and condition your boots and tack to prevent that from happening.
You might also want to always have a pair of rubber boots handy. That way, you can use those to go get your horse out of a muddy field and not have to worry about destroying them. They are made for wet and muddy conditions. Once you are done with them, all you have to do is rinse them off with a hose.
I hope you are all enjoying the early days of spring and that the mud around your stable won't be such a big problem this year. Thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense and have a good weekend.
Until next time, happy riding!