Update on the track system

Here are some new photos of our track. Last winter we had a real problem with very deep mud on the front part of the track and I am hoping that has been fixed now.

This view is from the stable yard looking up the slope, the mound of rocks on which Ben and Rosie would climb has been cleared back and these rocks used to level the arena area. You can see where fresh crusher dust has been laid down. It will over time become fairly hard, but I am hoping it will stay loose for a while and provide an abrasive surface for bare hooves.

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Further up the slope, where the new crusher dust stops, the track is firm and stayed firm all winter. They trot up and down here daily, a few times yesterday in fact as I had to give both Ben and Rosie a dose of copper paste, “yuk” said Ben and to release all that stress Rosie was herded at a brisk trot and canter round the track a few times. The boundary here and across the back section is, as you can see, hawthorn and bramble amongst others.

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At the top, which has been narrowed to accommodate the new arena space, seen stretching out to the left: there is new crusher dust here as well. It is quite deep but will pack down.

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Around the corner, towards the back end of the track: it has been left as mud. The ground drains well here as we are at the highest part of the paddock and even in the worst of the rains last November was not too muddy. I do not want a track of crusher dust all the way around. I want some soft areas as well.

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We have crusher dust down on this side. It has stayed fairly loose all year.

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Under the trees: the camera cannot take the whole area, it is much wider here. There are loose stones and a considerable amount of tree roots. Last winter it got quite muddy, as Ben and Rosie spent a lot of time here taking advantage of the shelter it provides. When the rain stopped, the ground dried very quickly, probably due to all the trees.

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The front section of the track. It will be interesting to see how this holds up. The digger scraped this back, laid down larger stones (we had a quantity from some other work we were doing) and piled the crusher dust on top. As far as I can see, neither Ben nor Rosie have rolled on it yet, maybe because I am still giving the time in the grass. Last year, when this went down, there were some serious rolling sessions and two very grey ponies.

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Back to the yard. As soon as Ben’s shoes come off (next Wednesday) all my haynet rings are being lowered to as far as they can go whilst keeping the nets off the ground. As you can see I have put a rug on Ben – just a summer sheet and purely for my benefit. I am trying to slow down the growth of his winter coat. He became just incredibly hairy last year. I will probably clip with a chaser clip – underside of neck and belly – as I did last year.

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The yard: this surface should be good for their hooves, but it can get muddy also when the heavy rainfall comes.

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Jaime Jackson recommends varying the track surfaces in lots of ways, including logs or stones to make the horses lift their feet, wet areas and dry areas.  Wet is not too much of a problem here, dry is but I am encouraged by how well Rosie has done on this system to hope that it will help Ben’s transition to barefoot.

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4 Comments

Filed under hoof care, track system

4 responses to “Update on the track system

  1. Love love love what you are doing with your track. I keep thinking about it and seeing the possibilities here. Thank you for sharing and taking the photos!!

  2. Billie, I am so pleased with how well it has worked. In accounts of track systems in England, there is often a comment that the ground gets too poached to make it worthwhile in winter. But thanks to our underlying limestone here, it worked very well last winter.

    I try to convince people here of its benefit, but without much success so far. I have had it called a “footpath” (by my farrier) and the man who delivers my hay looked at the track and kindly pointed out to me that I had somewhere Ben and Rosie could run in the winter time!

  3. Haha after reading this I feel really stupid about commenting earlier about the importance in a variety of different surfaces 😀 I’m so sorry! Now I get all your posts in my email so I will be able to follow your stories complete 🙂

    • Jenny, I am delighted you are interested in the track system. If only I could interest people here in Ireland! It is a work in progress and Ben and Rosie tell me how effective it is and how they like it by their patterns of use.