As summer rolls around, many equestrians will rejoice for the reduction in mud, frozen toes, and general hassle of winter time (let’s not forget frozen taps and iced-over buckets!)
However, Summer comes with its own set of challenges which face horse owners. Follow these tips to make sure this summer is a breeze for both you and your four-legged friend!
- Paddock Maintenance.
From fencing to weeding, ensuring your field for turnout is safe is your number one priority! There are many types of fencing suitable horses that will suit most budgets, land and requirements. Fencing should be inspected daily to make sure they remain safe and secure, (your horse in the wrong field should not be your first indicator!)
Poisonous plants are dangerous and should be removed immediately.
- Plants – Bracken, Buttercup, Horse Radish, Horsetail, Iris, Lily of the Valley, Hemlock, St John’s Wart, Ground Ivy, Deadly Nightshade, Foxglove, Ragwort, Henbane, Larkspur, Linseed, Lupin
- Trees & Shrubs – Oak, Pivet, Rhododendron, Laburnum, Yew, Box, Broom. Ragwort is very dangerous to horses and needs to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. The British Horse society offer a very insightful free leaflet on Ragwort and the dangers.
Rubber gateway mats are also useful to help the safety and stability in busy through-ways such as field entrances. Ensure you stock up!
2. Managing Turnout
To reduce the risk of health issues such as colic and laminitis, additional grazing should be introduced gradually. Horses were not built for the all-you-can-eat buffet we provide them with as domesticated anmals, and in the wild would have had to roam for food. The BHS recommends a ratio of 2 horses per hectare (1-1.5 acres per horse) when on permanent grazing.
This is a year-round dedication. More turn out does not mean slacking off on the worming treatments!
4. Prepare For Any Weather!
The British weather is notoriously unreliable, and whilst one minute you’re peeling off the rugs and hurrying to clip, the next we can have storms and cold snaps. Ensure you are prepared for anything the British Summertime throws at you by ensuring your horse has access to a field shelter so he can escape either the rain or dazzling heat.
5. Last But Not Least- WATER!
Fresh water should always be readily available, changed regularly, and be clean. Water buckets or containers should be large enough to supply the number of horses living in the field, and ideally not be in a corner where lesser dominant horses may not be able to reach. Rubber drinking buckets are ideal as they are durable and easy to clean!
What other tips would you give? Feel free to comment below!