Mud Management 101: Gutters & Downspouts

Find out how a simple investment of making sure your gutters and downspouts are in good working order can help manage mud around your horse barn.

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Divert roof and gutter runoff away from buildingsand paddocks, or construct a shallow ditchsurrounding the building to steer runoff wellaway from structures.
Photo by: Alayne Blickle

A simple investment of making sure your gutters and downspouts are in good working order will greatly benefit you, your horses and the environment over the coming winter months. Fall is the right time to clean as well as make needed repairs or additions to your roof runoff system for all barns, sheds and outbuildings. Diverting clean rainwater away from high-traffic areas reduces the amount of pollutants (from mud, manure and urine) that’s washed into surface waters. It has an added benefit of substantially reducing the amount of mud created on your horse property.

From a chore efficiency standpoint, diverting water away from barnyards, paddocks and high traffic areas avoids creating mud problems and nagging horse health issues.  As an example, in a state such as Illinois annual rainfall is about 40 inches per year. A modest two stall run-in shed, sized 12 feet by 24 feet, will have over 7,000 gallons of water run off its roof in a year. You can imagine that capturing 7,000 gallons of rainwater in a roof runoff system and diverting it away from your horse’s paddock will make a huge difference in the amount of mud created.  Determine how much rainwater comes off your barn roof or horse shelter with this simple formula:

_____# of inches of annual rainfall X _____# of square feet of roof surface X 0

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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