Over the stable door

Greetings Fellow Equines and Horse Owners!


You may recall last month that my paddock mate Ziggy had foundered.

Four weeks down the track and he certainly isn’t worse. He has continued on a plain diet with restricted feeding. Unfortunately this means that he can’t go out and graze with his friends. The plus is that he can see them and is comfortable with that as he tends to be a bit of a loner normally. He is yarded with ad lib access to meadow hay and 3 ‘hard’ feeds per day. Being 29, he struggles to eat hay sometimes and tends to leave some. He seems to be adjusting to the MaxiSoy, so that is a plus. He is taken out of the yard, feet checked and goes for a walk 2 or 3 times a day. So this is pretty much his ongoing daily routine at present and will continue unless there are any changes (for better or worse).

On another seasonal topic, the dry winter and spring here is affecting all the crops.

The drought in the eastern states is critical. Prices are increasing as hay becomes even scarcer. The cost of seed has also increased, so many farmers have their backs to the wall. Small property owners with no ABN or registration as a primary producer are not eligible for any government subsidy so times are tough for these small holders. Some owners are putting their horses and other stock down because feed is not available. Other farmers have gone into debt to buy enough hay to feed their stock. Much hay has gone east from South Australia and elsewhere. My owner has rainfall records going back to 1949 and this September is the driest it has ever been (26.5mm for the month). The next lowest was 29.4mm in 1951. This doesn’t augur well for the coming summer. So get cleaning up now and ensure all buildings, outdoor shedding and fence lines are free of excess growth. Bring out your fire plan and revise (things may have changed in 12 months). Mainly, decide whether to stay or go and work from there. The CFS has excellent information on how to organise yourself and family, stock etc. Talk with neighbours, set up a neighbourly web site so that everyone can liaise and help one another. Have your plan written down (maybe more than one copy) and include a plan of your property with access points, gates and water points indicated clearly. Visitors to your property should also be advised of your fire plan as well.

If riding, take note of any hazardous undergrowth or dumped material which could cause a fire hazard and notify your council. Not a very cheerful article this month – at least we have sunshine!

Safe riding and careful eating, Hamish