Paddock paradise in a wet climate

One thing I have realised is that keeping a track system involves regular adjustment to the track, some tweaks and some major works. It has been fortuitous to have the winter grazing for Ben and Rosie over the past couple of months as the disruption to the paddock and the track has increased again.


The building to the side is the new extension to our house which means no paddock fence at present. There will be a fence, new gate, the service road which was put in for the builders will remain and lead to the yard and there will be a path up to a new ‘pedestrian entrance’ to the yard. So no more climbing up a slippery slope, over a wooden fence, negotiating an electric fence before reaching the yard. The water pipe will also be buried in the hope of preventing freezing.

I have taken advantage of the digger that has been on the premises over the last week.


Rock (never a shortage here) has been brought up to the trees and leveled and pea gravel has been spread on top.


Now when they are eating from those big haynets instead of sinking into mud, Ben and Rosie will be standing on pea gravel and hopefully polishing their hooves. I suspect they will roll a lot here too. The muddiest part of the track has also been scraped right back.

Pea gravel has also gone into my picadero, I look forward to seeing how well this works.


Despite the natural advantage of a lot of rock here, some very muddy areas develop which need to be kept under control.  While I do not mind the ponies walking through a muddy section of the track, I do need to be able to push a wheelbarrow along, which had become impossible in the last few months.  Also when I started the track, I was very keen that hay would be distributed around the track to encourage movement.  This has only been possible on dry days and therefore those large haynets have been useful under the shelter of the trees.  However I think I have relied on those haynets too much and when Ben and Rosie return I intend to be more proactive about distributing hay around the track when the weather permits.



Filed under track system

9 responses to “Paddock paradise in a wet climate

  1. I am drooling with envy over those pea gravel areas!!! We are putting in areas of gravel here too, though doing it a bit at a time with our pick-up and a nearby quarry. So far we did the shelter that is on the back of one side of our barn. Now on rainy days if they stand there it’s doing that polishing thing, and every time they come in and out they go through it. It’s working really well. We also did a 12 x 12 area just outside that where they tend to stand and where we sometimes do hoof picking in the summer.

    We’re going to do a strip all the way around the barn, extending out further at both barn doors, and then do all the gateway areas with deeper, larger sized gravel.

    I’ve also put stall mats in the barn aisle, which was previously bare dirt – it’s added a new chore (sweeping the mats!) but it sure makes hoof trimming and picking and treating easier, plus I love the sound they make as they march through.

    Can’t wait to see more photos of your paddock paradise!!

  2. This looks great! We’ve got to get the pea gravel for out catch pen where the hay nets are on the fence. Don’t remember if I already told the story but we hired a contractor in the summer to do it. He was all set to start in September, haven’t heard a word from him to this day. Obviously, he’s fired and we have to find someone else. We’ll have to wait until spring though.

    Love your paddock paradise though it all looks like it’s going to work beautifully. Ben and Rosie will love it.

  3. That looks brilliant. Where did you find a local supplier of pea gravel – not a normal product of irish limestone quarries, I think!
    I added shredded rubber (recycled tyres) to my arena a couple of years ago and we haven’t looked back, it’s a great surface to ride on. My original surface was very fine slag from the steelworks in Cobh, so it’s a little like fine gravel, but we found it a bit “dead” to ride on, the rubber literally gives it some bounce. There is a supplier in Cork, I can give you his details if you’re interested. I had a (cheap) sand arena for years before we went down this route, but it was a disaster, too hard & dusty in the summer, drains clogged and sections flooded in winter, it needed topping up every couple of years and would be too deep for months after topping up. Never again!

    Can’t wait to see how your new arrangement works out. Best of luck.

    • Martine, I am not a fan of sand for arenas. I have seen too many problems. I just had crusher dust down, small gravel but larger than slag. It did roll under Ben’s hooves but was too hard for any riding or fast work. Your rubber sounds interesting.

      Our builder got the pea gravel for us. He would not let us get any – said (rightly) that we would pay too much, so I don’t actually know where it came from.

  4. That looks great…! We have to redo our pea gravel section as we had no idea what we were doing when we did it the first time. Pity. Did you have to scrape the topsoil off and then put down rocks before the pea gravel. I’m trying to figure out the absolute best thing to do and get it right this time.

    Martine – who is that supplier of shredded tyres? Do you think it would be good for general standind around on…..Can it be used on it’s own or should be always be added to other gravel or whatever…?

    Deligthed to see this post as the more ideas we get the better,

    Good Luck with it, hope Ben and Rosie appreciate it 🙂

    • Maria, the topsoil was scraped off first, before the rocks were put down. Any area where crusher dust was put onto mud has not worked. The crusher dust disappeared into the mud. We have one section of the track where that is very obvious: a strip was scraped back, covered in small rocks and then crusher dust and the rest was scraped back and directly covered in crusher dust. That is the part that has had to be scraped back again. The other section has held up to all the rain and regular traffic.

    • @Maria, I can’t remember the guy’s name, he’s from Dripsey (or thereabouts) in Co Cork. Mobile no. 087 2943987.
      Not sure how far afield they will deliver, but it never hurts to ask.
      I would recommend the rubber is mixed with fine gravel or something similar, otherwise it can be too deep and a bit insubstantial.
      It’s probably best used as a riding surface, I’m not sure how beneficial it would be on a standing area, perhaps it would be overkill.