After adopting horses and goats, all the grass and weeds were eaten in a few months, and the corral became a mud zone. In order to mitigate the problem, the corral soil was dug out and replaced and compacted with fill gravel in August 2009. Because the space was so large, specific attention was paid to the shelter zone as well as the worst mud pit around the old apple tree.
A few years later, mud came through the compacted gravel due to the nature of being in a watershed zone.
Suzanne from the Monterey RCD program demonstrates the depth of the mud and rock underneath by poking a probe into the ground. She attributed the moisture to an underground spring. Her suggestion was to move the shelter zone to the other side of the mud patch to keep out the animals.
Our solution was to add corral fencing to keep the animals away from the apple tree. Another benefit was attaching a gate to control the flow of traffic between the two animal zones. In heavy rain, the horses are confined to the shelter zone.
However, the mud patch still exits in front of the goat deck as the horses walk through it. This particular area is still in need of additional mitigation requiring a gravel path to be compacted for the horse to walk over with a small drainage swale outside the fence line.
After changing the fence line, a few years later, the apple tree fell over due to age and bent the metal fence. In replace of the tree, we added a post with outdoor sensor light.
We filled this area in with a thick layer of wood chips and wood seating benches.
We are still not finishing with this area. We plan to add a 20′ drain pipe and cover it with the wood chips. The water will flow from the corral into our drainage system.