Slideshow: Mud Management and Drainage on Horse Properties

Alayne Blickle, creator and director of Horses For Clean Water, shares ideas and considerations for managing mud and drainage on horse properties.

All photos and captions copyright Alayne Blickle, Horses For Clean Water and used with permission unless otherwise noted.

Mud Management and Drainage for Horse Properties
Mud creates an unhealthy environment for horses.

Mud harbors disease-causing bacteria, fungal organisms and pathogens that cause abscesses, scratches, rain scald and thrush. Effects of repeated alternating wet and dry conditions can be damaging to hoof structure. Additionally, standing in mud all day can lower a horse’s body temperature, causing general unthriftiness which reduces its body condition score. Mud is a breeding ground for pests including many insects including culicoides (the genus of biting midges, in the family Ceratopogonidae) as well as filth flies (in the family Carnidae) and mosquitoes (in the family Culicidae). These insects are not only annoying to horses and humans, but they can carry diseases and cause allergic reactions. When fed on muddy ground, horses also can ingest dirt particles with hay, leading to sand colic which is a serious digestive order. Mud also creates a slick, unsafe footing that increases risk of injury for both horses and humans.

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