Dry Lots and Snow

So we already had 8" on the ground and tonight will add 7" to that. Have BARELY stayed in front of removing the snow hill accumulating as a result of sliding off the building at the lean. Just trying to keep the ponies from getting snowed in!

Please do share your experiences with winter’s effect on your drylots.

We had the topsoil removed down to clay, laid 6oz nonwoven geo textile fabric then 3 inches of various size stones and then 3" stonedust. It was a beauty for the past 3 months but has now gone to hell.

I don’t have your exact system, but my 75 foot runs are gravel, then Hoof Grid, more gravel in the grids, then stone dust on top. We got 6 inches yesterday, with 6 more due today. We’ve had snow on and off since November, with unseasonable warm and melted snow in spurts in between.

While the surface starts out after the snow/freeze really lumpy and uneven due to horse traffic, once it melts it’s easy to rake level again. Once everything melts I can easily pick up the manure and the runs look as good as new. I was worried at first that it would be a mess and ruined, but it wasn’t. And it drains great. This place is new to me, since last fall, but I had the same system in my old place for 14 years, with the same snow amounts.

Why remove snow from the drylot? Snow will melt in the spring and run off like rain if you have appropriate slope. If the snow stays around long enough (like here in WI) then horses eventually tamp it down to flat surface. If the surface gets icy/slippery through freeze thaw cycles then I apply ag lime for grip. I pick the drylot by hand during am/pm feeding, even during this recent cold snap (-20F). Drylot crushed limestone footing holds up fine. :blush:


I only remove snow in my dry lot that interferes with gates. If it gets crazy deep we also make a path (two snow blower widths) from the hay to the water trough so there is no worry that the deep snow will limit the pony making trips for water.

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Thanks for the replies so far and I feel so much better. Did not know about ag lime and have that on hand. Used my screenings up around the place and have no sand on hand so a wee concern if we get ice. But thanks to ya’ll once again my arse is saved.

I have found the ag lime is even better than sand for grip!

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That is amazing about the ag lime. I was thinking…I know where I got the idea that I had to remove the snow from the dry lot and it was a The Horse article about dry lots and snow. They said to SHOVEL if you had to, ok? What a relief that short of the pile roof edge (will melt and run back towards the barn) that must get out of there I can leave the rest. Whew.

Getting pretty deep here, so we are pushing the snow into a piles, dumping pIles over the fence into unused paddocks. Using the tractor bucket and the bobcat bucket, both manage snow loads well. Hand shoveling is done at the house. Paths from house to driveway, Yard fence won’t let the tractor in there. Had to shuffle around the yard, making trails. Getting too deep for even the big dog to make her own trails!

There was about 6-7 inches on the ground, then we got another 8 inches. A day of rest to let us clear things out, before another 2-3 inches, with a couple more inches today. Also had to plow out the routes between the barns daily, where it drifts a couple feet deep, driveways and the gates.

The 2 main areas are more of a barnyard that feeds into a small field. We keep 4 or 5 horses in each barnyard, with hay feeders on the ground. It was just getting too deep for them to safely maneuver barefoot, so the snow had to be removed.

If the snow gets much deeper, I will be dragging the bucket to make trails in the fields to get horses out further and moving apart more.

Thanks for the tip about the lime. I have a couple bags here I can spread on slippery spots like people doorways.

There’s a few lessons with this winter and snow. One, keep your driveway wide enough right from the start. I wasn’t doing that and ended up having to use my tractor bucket to move back the hard line. With easily over 1000 ft of drive that was no small task.

My 60’ lean has a dump of snow again (from over 100’ feet of roof) that must be removed.

@goodhors Thanks for the idea of using the bucket to make paths - that’s a really good one.