Pasture has the potential to provide
1. The horses nutrition
2. A Safe exercise area
Potentials rarely achieved, often neglected

All information given here is believed to be correct but the author cannot be responsible for any consequences of it's use.

Pasture Management
for
Horses

by Denis Lindsell
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Soils




 


 

Drainage

Your paddock may be unnecessarily wet due to water not being able to move away quick enough. This may be due to bad soil structure or bad drainage (no where for the water to go). If the latter situation is causing water logging, this will cause a breakdown of soil structure causing a worsening situation.
The first line of attack for improving drainage is to check the ditches, if you have any. If not, ditches may help.
The shape of a ditch should depend on the soil type, if the sides are too steep they will crumble and frequent cleaning will be required:

On light land, the sides should have a gentle slope


As heavier soil is generally more stable, steeper sides are acceptable. narow ditch profile


In all cases, ensure that the ditch is deep enough to enable water to drain freely from any drain outlets
Diagram showing depth of ditch relative to drains

Pipe Drains

Where there is a drainage problem, it may be worth having a drainage system installed, though this will be expensive. Pipes can be laid by a machine that will place a layer of gravel or other permeable substance on top of the pipe to make it easier for the water to move from the soil to the pipe.


Types of Pipe

These can either be clay pipes or plastic.
Clay pipes are usually about a foot long and simply butt together. There will naturally be a sufficient gap between each pipe to allow water to enter but not soil.

A 100mm dia Clay Drain Pipe
Clay drainage pipe

Plastic pipes are made in a long roll, and have small holes at close intervals along their length to allow water to enter.

A 150mm dia Plastic Drain Pipe
Plastic drainage pipe

Mole Drains

Soil with a high clay content is stable enough for a drain called a mole drain to be made, simply by pulling a metal object through it, leaving an open channel. These may remain effective for up to 10 years and have been known to remain effective for 20 years and are cheaper than pipe drains. Mole drains can be used on their own taking water straight to a ditch, but will be much more effective when used in combination with pipe drains.

Mole drainage

The design of a drainage plan is a specialist job but as water will always move relatively slowly through soil, the drains will need to be close together to be effective.

Drainage plan for clay soil

Where the soil has a suitable clay content for mole drains to be used, an efficient system is likely to have closely spaced moles, as these are relatively cheap, and pipes running across the moles at relatively wide spacings. The mole drains in this situation will be at the correct depth so that they pass through the permeable fill above the pipe.