Spring Time Care for your Horse

Things horse owners should be thinking about in spring time:

Poisonous plants in summer paddocks

Coming into spring it is important to check your paddocks for poisonous plants. Plants to look out for include ragwort, foxglove and deadly nightshade. Field checks should be regular in spring time especially; everything is starting to grow and so there is an increased chance of deadly plants. Remember to wear gloves when pulling toxic plants, and always pull out plants from the root. It is important that plants such as ragwort are burned and not disposed of in any other way.

Reducing feeds in accordance to work load / weight etc. Every horse is different and needs assessed as an individual

It is always good to be closely monitoring your horse’s weight but especially at this time of year when summer is approaching and horses may be getting more turn out or better quality grass as the spring grass comes through. If your horse gets a hard feed you may need to start reducing how much they are getting. All horses are different and you should use your own judgement. Things to consider include work load, turn out, quality of forage, type of horse, age etc. For example horses in full work generally need more feed than a horse out of work.

Cleaning water troughs

Something that is very important to your horse’s wellbeing, especially if they live out 24/7, as they need access to fresh and clean water. You should ideally check on your water troughs daily and clean when necessary; as well as it being a lot nicer for your horses, if you keep on top of cleaning it makes it a quick and easy job each time rather than a huge chore if left too long!

Checking fencing

An all year round issue but something to be aware of if moving into a fresh summer paddock. Fencing should ideally be checked daily in case of any broken sections where horses could potentially escape and/or hurt themselves.

Laminitis

With the lovely, sunny weather we have been having keep an eye on laminitic prone ponies and think of ways to reduce grass intake to prevent any episodes. Spring time is prime time for horses and ponies to get laminitis. This can make it a stressful time if you own a pony prone to laminitis. Make sure you are aware of all the signs of laminitis, mild signs sometimes go missed so it is a good idea to do some research if you are unsure. Controlling grass intake is a big thing for laminitic horses and ponies, here are some ideas and tips: Strip grazing is often a good idea to reduce grass intake, it can also help your field rest and recover throughout summer; turning out overnight and bringing in through the day when the grass will be at its highest sugar levels; turning out in a smaller paddock; if you don’t have the option to reduce your paddock size turn out with a grazing muzzle on.

For further advice and support, please email our Equine Team at equine@oaktreeanimals.org.uk 

Spring Time Care for your Horse