Ensuring your Paddock is Safe for Turnout

The long winter is finally behind us and the joys of spring are certainly a welcome arrival. Horses that have been cooped up for longer periods of time will now be able to be turned out more and enjoy the freedom and grass.

Secure GatesThose who have wintered out may be moving to fresh pasture, leaving their current field to rest and re-grow.  The changes in routine that are likely to occur in the spring involve turnout and it is important to ensure that your paddock is safe and well equipped for your horse or pony.

In this feature we look at the key points to watch out for and how to achieve a pleasant environment for your equine friend.

First, check all of the fencing and ensure that any damaged sections are fixed appropriately. The gate should be able to swing freely and be in good condition. If electric fencing is used, ensure that the battery is charged and all elements of the electric kit, such as the energiser, are in good working order.

Paddocks should be securely locked with a chain and padlock. There are many different types available but try and get one that is robust and more difficult to cut. Don’t forget to put one around the hinged end of the gate or even better reverse the hinges to prevent the gate being taken off the hinges.

Assess gateways and if they tend to get churned up consider putting some woodchip, stones or rubber down to reduce the impact and the mud that is created here. This may also be worth doing around water troughs and in front of field shelters. Make sure the water supply is in good working order and not leaking. Troughs should be cleaned regularly to prevent dirt and algae build up.

Secure fencingCheck the paddock thoroughly for any unwanted objects or weeds that need to be removed.  Weed control is important and any poisonous plants such as ragwort should be dug up by the roots and burned.

The spring is an ideal time to apply fertiliser to the land to promote good growth, Ideally, this should be done after topping which will also help the grass to grow, Depending on the type of fertiliser used, horses may have to be kept of the land for a few weeks so be sure to plan in advance and check the packaging.

Paddock maintenance is an all-year round job and regular poo picking is especially important. Make sure you have a safe and secure paddock and let your horse enjoy the start of spring.

For all your paddock essentials visit www.equestrian.com

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