How can I get some more traction on the ice around the barn?
With winter comes beautiful snow (and slippery sidewalks), amazing sunsets (and freezing cold), and shorter days (and too much dark). Assuming we can all stay warm, winter can be an amazing time of year - except for the butt busting ground which can so easily turn into an ice skating rink with ice and snow. But the horses must be fed! The horses must be groomed! The horses must be mucked out!
Enter the zeolite. What you use in the stalls for ammonia control will also turn your icy paths into something much safer to walk along. Handy for that late night stall check and feeding.
Zeolites are a group of specially formed organic minerals, originating deep in volcanic areas and other rock formations. Zeolites are unique in that their alumina and silica structure has room to hold water and other substances. They are even more unique in that getting them wet won’t change their structure. They won’t get mushy or melt.
Back to the icy paths around the barn. It’s not unheard of to use sand on icy paths, but sand is not as grippy and textured as zeolites. Sand also does not have as much bang for your buck. Zeolites are also handy in that you can sweep up and re-use the zeolites after the weather clears by tossing them into your horse’s stall.
You might also use cat litter or salt on icy patches, but those mix with the water and melt into mush. Zeolites retain their structure when wet, which is part of the reason they are able to work so well with the surface of ice. As zeolites lay on the top of ice, the super thin layer of water on the ice works to get inside the zeolite and actually imbed the granule zeolite into the ice. Hence the good traction.
So - now you have another use for the Sweet PDZ granules at the barn (be sure to use the granulated formula!). This will help you safely maneuver around the barn and farm to do chores and keep the horses cared for. While it might be tempting to also let your horse walk on treated areas, I would skip this. Simply because a horse that is frisky from the weather and perhaps has skipped a few turnouts is very likely to decide he wants to do some dancing on your head and zip off your path into unsafe areas. Wait until the weather clears and the ice has melted from the ground before your horse can go back to his routine.
The easiest way to use your zeolite granules at the barn is to shovel any snow out of the path, then sprinkle as needed. You can also use with freezing rain and sleet, and you can also use on top of packed snow if you are not able to shovel it all away.
Stay safe on the ice! Enjoy the cold?