These are bandaids, but they will help with the immediate problem for some horse properties around Salem, Oregon. Another article will follow later this month to discuss permenant ways of dealing with pasture mud.
Rotate your pastures. If you have several good sized pastures, try to move your horse/horses every 2 weeks from pasture to pasture, allowing the grass to grow, and hopefully the ground to dry out on our occassionally dry days. If you don’t have several pastures, cross fence a couple of larger pastures with temporary fencing, making it easier to move when needed.
Relocate-temporarily. I don’t mean you and your family, but your horse. If your turnouts are so bad that they are no longer safe for your horse, consider boarding nearby for the worst 2-3 months in winter. Not only will you keep your horse from slipping around in deep mud, risking injury, you will prevent compacting your soil even more. Compacted soil can not drain, nor can the grass grow very well.
Add texture. Add a thick layer of woodchips or sand to a small, level paddock or round pen. This will give you safe area for turnout on a daily basis, but if you are adding this to an already swampy mess, it will mix in with the mud rapidly.
Find new ground. I have odd spaces outside of my pastures that I ran a single line of tape fence on a few added tposts and one simple gate handle. It gives me an extra place to put a horse that respects hotwire (and he gets to enjoy more grass than usual in winter) and allows the regular pastures extra “rest” time.
My horse property is located in South Salem, near Turner which means I have alot of red clay. This stuff is slippery when wet! But, it can be managed. Yes, we have more rain, more ground water and sometimes poor-draining soil here in the valley. But it is the trade-off for lush, green summers and mild winters. Our Willamette Valley lifestyle has much to offer us (and our horses), we just need to “adapt” here and there!