Choosing Soil For Your Horse Farm
When talking about soil types in Central Kentucky, Maury and McAfee silt soils are considered to be the best grazing soils in the world. That said, the USDA rates most of the soils in Central Kentucky as prime soils. Most of our soils have the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus to help horses' bones grow strong.
Maury and McAfee are actually the same types of soil. Maury just has a greater depth to it, while McAfee is more shallow. Both soils tend to be found on high ground or plateaus and drain very well. Because they drain well, they do not get torn up as easily by the livestock. Lowell soil tends to hold moisture slightly better. It will fair better in the midst of hot dry summers. Of course, it also wears worse in long wet Winters and Springs.
Faywood, Cynthiana, and Eden soils tends to be found on our steeper hillsides. I usually think of them as an indication that the land may be getting hillier and the soil shallower. Nolan, Allegheny, and Elk soils tend to be found in low lying areas around creeks and other bodies of water. According to the USDA, they are well drained but in reality they are often in locations that stay wet.
The old timers used to say that every good horse drank from Elkhorn Creek in its youth. Elkhorn Creek is a 99-mile creek with three branches and runs throughout Central Kentucky. Personally, I believe both our soil and water are what help to make horses strong. If you can, try to buy a farm with more Maury, McAfee, or Lowell type soils.