Over the stable door
Greetings Fellow Equines and Horse Owners!
Well that much needed rain is certainly slow to appear! The forecast has been for an Indian Summer, which can be lovely riding weather, but feed is certainly low. As always, when in doubt as to what to feed, the safest is always good quality, low value roughage, usually in the form of hay bales. Good quality need not necessarily be expensive, but it should not be dusty, have any weeds, especially barley grass and should not smell ‘off’. If you are buying in, then see if you can get one bale for trying before spending on a large amount. If not sure where to source your feed from, fellow horse owners can often recommend someone or even give some to try.
After this dry spell, there will be many bare areas in paddocks, so when the rains do come, there may be a glut of weeds as there won’t be any competition for them, so that is going to be the first problem. After a good soaking rain, some weeds are easy to pull by hand, such as cape weed and salvation jane. Dandelion, dock and others are more difficult. Dandelion can be sprayed. Dock has a long tap root and is very difficult to pull, but you can cut the top off (where the seeds are) and bag it. Weeds often thrive where there are deficiencies in the soil, so it may be useful to get a soil test done. Early autumn is a good time for this.
As far as us neddies go, we may be needing new rugs, or at least a good check over last year’s. Check halters for signs of wear as many are not made as robustly as in the past. Also check our saddlery for any dryness and general cleanliness. This can have a safety benefit as well, especially with stirrup leathers or other attachments. With last year’s rugs, ensure that they ready to be used with all clips etc. in good order. The lining of the rugs should have most of the excess fur brushed off and it is a good idea in this milder weather to hang them out for a good airing.
Older neddies may be needing that warmer rug, so that needs to be considered too. But, just be aware not to over rug, as this is detrimental to us. Unless we are clipped out, we are already wearing our own fur coat, so really, a paddock rug is just that – it keeps the wind off, keeps us dry and also helps to keep us clean. We don’t need to wear doonas in the paddock all day!
Good horsemastership means checking us at least once a day. We do have a habit of getting playful at times and getting the odd clip undone or broken – and sure as eggs, it happens just when we are not checked!
Yours truly has been keeping my weight hovering around the 500kg mark, which is not ideal. My owners say I don’t have an ‘off’ button and never know when to stop eating, and this is probably true as I can’t imagine what it is to not eat. They do keep my fitness up and restrict my grazing AND weigh me on a regular basis with a weight tape. All of which helps to keep me safe.
Safe riding everyone and looking forward to some rain!