Slow the Flow: Dealing with Winter Drainage Issues

The best and easiest way to reduce surface water is to slow it down. Alayne Blickle explains.
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Mud creates an unhealthy environment for horses. Mud harbors bacteria, fungal organisms and other pathogens that cause abscesses, scratches, rain scald, and thrush.

The effects of repeated wet/dry conditions are damaging to hoof structure and can cause general unthriftiness. Mud is a breeding ground for insects, such as cullicoides (“no-see-ums”), filth flies, and mosquitoes. Insects are not only annoying; they can carry diseases and can cause allergic reactions. When fed on muddy ground, horses can ingest dirt or sand particles with hay, leading to sand colic, a very serious digestive order. Plus mud creates a slick, unsafe footing, increasing the risk of injury–for horses and humans!

And every horse person knows that mud is inconvenient and unpleasant. Mud makes everyday chores difficult. Odors, flies and just the sight of mud lowers the desirability of a property for customers and neighbors.

Once soil and manure has mixed with water to make mud, it can easily be carried into nearby streams or lakes. Sediment can smother trout and salmon eggs, destroy habitat for insects (a food source for fish), and cover prime spawning areas. Many pollutants, like the nutrients in manure, are also likely to attach to soil particles and be carried into the water

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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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