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  • Bruce Williams

Chert - Nature's Perfect Footing

So many factors affect your horse’s health. For feet & hooves, a clean & dry environment is a must. That’s why we take paddock maintenance seriously here at Lyric Valley.

In this how-to, we’ll fix a spot in one paddock that has become soft and muddy (and slippery and yucky).

When water pools the footing becomes soft. That wet place gets progressively deeper and uneven, collecting more water until it’s a muddy mess. Here’s how we correct this situation.

Use a flat shovel and remove all muck until you find a solid base. Remove it all - the hole may end up deeper and wider then you expected, but every bit of mud needs to go. If the resulting dig goes deeper then 6 inches, You’ll need to add gravel or small rock first.

Time to fill with chert (you know, a hard, dark, opaque rock composed of silica with a microscopically fine-grained texture). The stuff sheds water like a waxed car. Fill in your repair place adding 3 inches of depth at a time. Then let the horses wander on it for a day. Add another 3” and more wandering. This particular area needed 2 layers.

You can see that we leave the patch higher then the surrounding footing. It’s going to settle and pack down as the horses travel. If it’s not level after a week, I might rake it into a larger area. Your goal is a surface that lets water pass over and just keep running.

Two weeks later there’s no sign of the bad spot at all. ‘Course 4 more places need patching in other paddocks so - gotta run!

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