It is RAINING (yay!) – HOW DO I DEAL WITH THIS SANDY CLAY? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

So it is raining in my part of California.  Yay!

The downside is that I am finally learning about the soil on our new property.

It seems that I have 10 acres of sliding material.  Slippy, slidey, gooey, sticky claymud.

If I was a potter, this would be great.  But, I’m not.

The horses are not sliding – yet.  Their feet go further down into the sand and they seem to be OK, for now.

But me, I am like a topsoil hydrofoil.  I go zipping onto my backside every time I step on a wet spot.

It is raining, finally, in our part of California.


My boots weigh about 100lbs each right now.

What do I do?  How do I keep my boots from gathering everything they touch?  How to I get the mud off?

Those of you in the know, please educate me!

I’m stuck in the claymuck and can’t get up!  Sigh.

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10 comments have been posted...

  1. sandy kelm

    Get some Muck Boots, from Muck Boot Company. I have the style called Tack. They’re awesome for mud and they last forever! Just hose them off.

  2. Sonya

    My first concern is the house… Make sure YOUR home is not sliding down the hill as well. We have black gumbo clay. In spite of the pilings used to support our foundation, we eventually had to put piers (31) in and around the house, under the foundation. We had to raise the SW corner of the house 7 inches, to keep the foundation from breaking in half.

    After the adjustment, we had to repair 7 foundation leaks and 80+ cracks in the walls… We let the problem go for 6 years, though, so FIRST thing, before it gets as bad as ours did… Make SURE your foundation is in good shape.

    As for the horses… Not working them in the mud is a no-brainer. If you have standing water, though, check to see where your drainage runs or your low spots are. Now is the time to start planning and changing your drainage. I just ended up using the used straw from the stalls to burm up the front of the barn so the water runs more along the sides, and not all down the aisle, like it used to.

    The best thing I have found under loafing sheds and covers (for them and to save dirt), is a bale or two of $35 straw. You’ll eventually have it ground into the clay, or have to pick it out, but over the years, most of it gets stomped into the clay and rises to where the water goes around the structure.

    I have discovered that the clay moistens the hooves and when it dries, breaks them off. The clay stays in the hoof so prolonged exposure means you need to pick the feet and look for thrush, otherwise, when it dries out, you will see all these hoof-shaped clods laying around. Keep an eye out for cracking after the clay is dry a while, but for some reason, their hooves have gotten tougher over the years, which isn’t a bad problem to have. Even the white hooves got tougher, and those are the ones I really watch.

    Get some MUD boots. I’m not talking the little girlie ones you see in Dover catalogs. I had to go to Cabela’s and get some men’s hunting, MUD boots (Muckmaster Hi-Cut Boot). Yes, they get a little warm in the summer, but oh, the grief you will save yourself, not messing up your pasture boots. And in the Winter, they are fabulous (I HATE cold, wet feet). Make yourself a spot in the garage to keep a boot jack handy and change into flip flops, and hose the boots off, or leave them because it isn’t long before you have to go out again and get coated up all over again. I taught myself to weld, so I can take old horseshoes my farrier saves for me and make jacks and racks (to hang boots on).

    When it rains a lot like the last two years, you don’t get to work your horses regularly, but you figure out how to work with them in other ways. I actually prefer the clay being really wet, as opposed to just the top being wet. Horses are going to feel good and run around like idiots regardless of your concerns. ;-) I give them time in the barn during long stretches of rain, but otherwise, you just have to let them get used to it… When just the top is wet, though, they can catch the dry underneath and get a bowed ligament or tendon, if they are not used to it. Mine have been great with all this rain, but it doesn’t stop me from watching (and wincing). On occasion, my cremello and palomino ponies become BAY ponies… Just shake your head and laugh (“Bay for a Day” is what I call them). It’s all you can do.

    After 9 years in the clay, this is about all I can tell you. Hope it helps. Be patient. Eventually you will have your own ways to deal with it. Lots of people look funny at me sometimes, but they only visit the way I have to live, so I don’t bother explaining anymore. Just… well, ride YOUR ride… Blessings!

  3. INA M ISH

    Not much you can do to keep the mud off your boots, but a god boot scraper with stiff fibers helps, after that scraping, a hoof pick with the brush end end are the best for cleaning the boot treads. Time consuming but works. Nothing I have found prevents the mud from sticking to the boot. Carrying a cane or staff will help to keep you on your feet, don’t be surprised when the mud sucks your boot off!

  4. Kitty Bo

    I keep a shallow plastic tub with shallow water in it by the front door, and I step into it, dipping so to say, to get the mud off. But if it’s really raining, I usually wear rubber boots outside. These you can power hose off if need be.

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