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Footing Materials For Sacrifice Areas

Footing Materials for Sacrifice Areas


                                                             Masoud Hashemi and Cassandra K. Uricchio

Sacrifice/exercise area is a small paddock where horses are confined during the rainy season or when pastures are not growing actively to prevent overgrazing and trampling. It is called a sacrifice area because you are giving up the use of that small portion of land for the benefit of the rest of your pastures. It is also useful for separating or confining animals, and for controlling the amount of grass your horse consumes on a daily basis.

The sacrifice area should be located on higher ground and away from wetlands or any surface water flows. It is best if the area is surrounded by grasses or other vegetation to filter any potential runoff contaminated with pathogens, sediments and nutrients.  It is probably best to have one sacrifice area per horse. An exercise area should be a minimum of 200 square feet per adult horse. Sacrifice paddocks must be cleaned frequently.

Footing is an important consideration for sacrifice areas. We have tested several possible options at Hadley Horse Farm University of Massachusetts Amherst. Each footing option has its own pros and cons.


Please open the PDF version of this fact sheet to view accompanying tables of footing materials. 

This project has been financed partially with federal funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) under a s319 Competitive Grant. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or of the Deparment, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.