This article should be posted during summer. Would anyone pay attention when the sun is shining?
When the rain comes, the prevalence of mud makes the management thereof unavoidable.
If you're lucky enough to have five acres for each horse, it's possible to rotate the horses from paddock to paddock to keep them on turf and out of the muck. On small acreage properties like most found in Los Angeles county, not a blade of grass can grow wherever livestock is found.
Mother Earth supplied Agoura and the Conejo Valley with a preponderance of clay soil. This heavy, dense soil is quick to absorb water, yet slow to dry-out. The stuff is so sticky, it can suck the the shoes right off of you and your horses. The clay traps any bacteria introduced by animal waste and other rotting organics.
Horses that constantly stand in mud will suffer from bacterial infections and hoof problems. Fortunately, there are solutions, mostly involving prevention. So even if you won't remember where you put the umbrella, take a gander at these suggestions before the next storm:
Drainage - Improve drainage with surface culverts to channel water away from paddocks. Subsurface drainage is costly and prone to fail. Barn rain gutters will help prevent mucky stalls.
Amendment - Add absorbents such as natural silicate, diatomaceous earth, and pumice, which are sold commercially for horse stalls (Sweet PDZ, Dry Stall). Local hay and feed suppliers keep these products stocked year-round (for a list of local suppliers please call or email Nona Green). Added to the mud, these materials will help break up and de-stick the clay, and help keep the ground drier. Sand will serve the same purpose, yet is not advisable for areas where the sand will migrate to feeding areas.
High and Dry - A raised area in the paddock, made of decomposed granite and/or covered with rubber mats, will provide a reprieve for your horse, up and out of the muck and mire.
If anyone has additional constructive advise on this matter, please share!