How can I control mud in heavy traffic areas in my horse pastures and paddocks?

Some horse owners have been successful in dramatically reducing mud problems using a load-bearing material used in the highway industry that can be placed in high traffic areas—or, in other words, creating a sacrifice area. There are two basic types of materials: 1) geotextiles, which are a porous filter-type material, and 2) polyethylene-type plastic grid material. The area to be surfaced should be excavated to 6 to 8 inches in depth. Place 4 to 6 inches of No. 4 crushed limestone over the fabric or grid material. Cover the rock with an additional layer of 2 to 3 inches of fine material such as “dense grade,” screened lime (greater than No. 200 mesh) or sand. Make sure the fabric material is placed smoothly, with few wrinkles, so that the load will be distributed evenly. In order to allow water to run through the larger rock layer, you can separate the two with an additional layer of geotextile fabric. This keeps the air pockets open to enhance water flow between the layers of stone. This will also decrease mud and ice, as well as potentially decrease the amount of manure/urine that the water runs through.