Over the stable door
Greetings Fellow Equines and Horse Owners!
Yay! The season has broken at last. Some welcome rain for the paddocks. Ground cover would have been really down due to the long dry, leaving lovely bare patches for those pesky weeds to come through. No rest for the wicked or the horse owner!
Most of the more common weeds that will be coming through will be cape weed (black and yellow daisy flower), plantain, dandelion (plain bright yellow flower) and salvation jane (broad base with purple flowers on a spike).
These all come under the heading of broadleaf plants due to the broad leaf base at ground level. They are real survivors and easily outcompete normal grasses given a chance.
Dock is also included in this list and gets a tall reddish spike of seeds. Capeweed and jane are relatively easy to pull out when the ground is dampish, but the others tend to have a long stubborn root that is quite difficult to pull out unless the ground is really boggy. Being an early bird definitely pays off with weeds, so getting in there before they get a chance to take over makes the job so much easier. If, due to time constraints you have missed the boat, then selective spraying is another option. And if that is also too hard, then paying a contractor to do the job can work too, especially if you are on a broad acreage.
Horses tend to be browsers, so they will have a nibble at most things. If there is enough of good pasture available, then this is not a problem, but if not they can develop a taste for the more risky stuff such as salvation jane. Unfortunately, the toxins from the jane stay in the horse’s system indefinitely (eg like lead in a human) and can accumulate. In extreme cases, deaths have occurred due to this accumulation. So do take the time to have a walk around your horse’s pasture and see what is coming up. If there is something you don’t recognise, then the Mount Lofty NRM board at Mt. Barker will be able to help you.
On a traffic note, an equine friend was quietly riding along Cherry Gardens Road near the golf course when a large truck laden with Porta-loos and other rattly things appeared. The truck was travelling at some considerable speed, suddenly applied his air brakes (frightening the horse), lost some control of his vehicle, so that rider and horse were incredibly lucky to escape unscathed. This is not just a horse issue; other road users could have been injured because this driver was obviously travelling without due care. There is horse signage along the local roads, but not everybody takes heed. Most horse riders take extra care when out riding, as they recognise the risks. For the motorist, this is not always the case, but in an extreme situation, they are just as much at risk as the horse rider. A 500kg horse coming through the windscreen does not bear thinking about. It is really all about being sensible and careful when sharing roads and pathways. A bit of thought for fellow users goes a long way and go towards preventing or lessening the chances of an accident.
On that note – safe riding (and driving) everyone!
Hamish (at well under 500kg!)