I have 5-6" of standing water/mud around the gates the horses come through. What would happen if I got a few bags of Quikrete and mixed it in? Supposing I could keep the horses off for a few days.


Have you seen on Pinterest where they take unopened bags of quikrete and stack them to make a retaining wall? I bet it would work laid out flat too. If you keep the horses off, what harm could it do?Worse case it’ll blow away when the mud dries up. I’d do it.

And now for an opposing view.
Warning - YouTube.

I would wager that it would harden, but be very brittle since it will have so much organic matter in it. You might get a year out of it before frost, rot and pressure turn it into little concrete rocks. If it were me, I’d dump gravel first over the whole area and then put quikrete and water. I would think that would last longer and not be much more expensive.

For a moment I read that lead sentence in the OP as 5’ 6" :eek:

We had a similar mud problem. Hired someone to dig the area up and put in French drains, which work beautifully. But this winter so far temps have been up and we’ve gotten rain instead of snow, so large areas of our pastures are mud. :frowning:

senoy - That was the sort of info I was looking for. I was afraid of that happening. Although little concrete rocks sounds better than mud.

kayaker - I’m in Tn, where were don’t get much frost and snow, so mud it is.


How about a load of crushed rock? Or recycled/crushed concrete.

I’m thinking that unless you do a real good job with poured concrete like adding rebar and wire, It’s just gonna break up.

I, too, live in TN and back when I had horses I had the same problem along with several other horse-folks I hung out with. I happened to belong to a trail riding club at the time and was very aware of maintenance issues to reduce erosion concerns and solve those sorts of issues. Your best long-term, and not terribly expensive, fix would be to do the gravel thing. To make it last longer, put down a thick layer of landscaping fabric first, then a layer of moderately coarse (3/4" - 1") crushed limestone, and top that with a layer of finer crushed stone with the dust (fines) included. This is basically the original Macadam process for road building and is amazingly durable. By using the coarser stone topped with finer stone, everything compacts better and holds up longer. The finer top layer is also much better on the horses’ feet.

Instead of gravel I’ve heard some have used wood chips.

Wood chips will work temporarily, but will mix with the mud and eventually decompose thereby adding organic matter to the soil and keeping the area soft. Which leads to more mud.

Stana Claus - I almost got some shavings to put down, but know it would be a temporary solution at best. The problem with your solution is A) labor and B) it’s not much space for two loads of gravel (big crusher run and fines) and I need to use fines because my tender-footed thoroughbreds will bruise on gravel.

Still, I could probably find other places that need gravel. I’ll have to think on it. Every winter I say I’m going to do something about the gates in the summer, and every summer I find other uses for my money.


I wonder what would happen if you built up the area with gravel so it’s more or less level, then put rubber mats over it? I was thinking about gravel chewing up hooves even before I got to the tender-footed TB parts, which made me think of mats. If you go with gravel, try pea gravel. I don’t know how expensive it is, but one barn where I boarded had it in their outdoor arena. It probably had some underlying drainage system, but it never had standing water and was easy on my guy’s unshod hind feet.

You should be able to find someplace nearby that will sell you the crushed stone by the bobcat scoopful/pickup truck load which would be about the amount of each needed for a typical gate area. Should only cost somewhere in the $20 - $30 range per scoop depending on where you are. You definitely want to use a coarser stone on the bottom then top with finer stuff to get it to pack right. Just putting down fines will wash away after the 1st couple of heavy rains. Around here the top coat you want is called “plant mix”. It’s a fine crush with lots of fines/dust and it packs beautifully to an almost smooth surface.

Another, somewhat more expensive option would be to put down pervious pavers. These are typically concrete paving blocks with large holes that you can fill with dirt, gravel, sand, what-have-you. Grass can grow up through the holes and make for a nice look with solid footing and good drainage. Just make sure the holes through the block are small enough that they don’t cause problems for the horses’ feet. It might actually be cheaper to do a small area this way if you don’t have to buy too many blocks.

We had a horse mud situation which we solved by

  1. hiring a guy with a tractor to scoop up the really wet stuff and pile it away from the area
  2. digging drainage ditches to lower ground (lined with geotextile, then perforated drain pipe, then back filled with drain rock)
  3. putting down about 40 tons of 2" drain rock
  4. laying six inches of crushed granite on top of that
  5. running a tamper over the whole thing.
  6. putting stable mats in the run in shed (which got the same treatment as above).

Fixed it. Even when the pasture was a lake during the winter where we got over 80" of rain in 4 months, the horses’ feet didn’t rot because I closed them into the shelter every night so they could dry out for 10 hours out of the day.

I would stay away from concrete and pavers if they are going to be mixed with mud and horses.

I’ve been to a county park where half the paths were held up by walls made the same way.
And several stretches were made up of unopened bags laid out flat in the mud.

Otherwise alot of old roads and now tractor paths were just logs laid down. Corduroy roads I believe is the term.
The mud preserves the logs anywhere they stay wet, so with wear (or a little sawing to begin with). The tops eventually kind of flatten out.

I’m with Stana Claus and Ulfreida. I think the better fix is gravel, with crushed granite on top. You’ll have drainage to get the water away, and the crushed gravel is much easier on their feet than concrete.

It shouldn’t be too expensive to get the materials.

Also, what happens is sorting. The smaller rocks will fill the gaps between the larger rocks, compacting and solidifying the entire thing. That’s why in a bag of chips, the top of the bag will have more that are unbroken and the bottom of the bag is filled with crumbs.