Quick tip for those of you dealing with muddy fields and lack of grass in your winter paddocks. It’s a bit late to do much with the winter fields other than deal with the mud. Place mats around the high traffic areas – water troughs, hay piles, gateways – straw is also a good option for putting down in muddy gateways to soak some of the wet up and make it a little less boggy. It will require a big clean up operation once spring hits though! Hardcore is probably the best solution for serially muddy gateways and water trough areas which will prevent the mud in future years as well.
Once spring and summer arrive however you can start to prep your winter field. Clean up any straw used and rake up leftover hay piles. If possible, roll out the very cratery parts of the field and lay any grass mats you want to use once winter comes round again (around troughs and gateways if you can’t get hardcore). Let the grass grow and leave the field to rest if possible. Top the grass once it has set seed and you should end up with thicker grass that lasts better through the cold weather, the grass will also have good roots so should be less prone to cratering unless very wet. Your grass mats will be rooted in and you should have nice mud free troughs and gateways.
Just remember, a good winter field starts in the spring! I know a lot of people leave it to the last minute, but if you get it all done with early preparation once we get to spring and summer you won’t have much to do and your horses and fields will be much happier.