If you look after your pasture during the summer months, you stand a greater chance of maintaining the quality of your grass throughout the year.
Agricultural consultant, Gavin Strathern has the following advice on keeping your grazing in tip-top shape during the hot weather:
- Horses are fussy eaters and from choice will only graze the most palatable grass, leaving other areas relatively untouched to become long and ‘stemmy’. Having your paddock topped when necessary to a height of about six inches will encourage fresh leaf growth.
- Rotate your paddocks regularly during the summer months, allowing a rest period of at least two weeks or more.
- Regular removal of droppings will help prevent worm infestation and damage to grass growth. You should lightly harrow the areas that are heavily laden with droppings,
or – in smaller acreage – remove the droppings by hand.
- Avoid over-harrowing your pasture during the summer months, as this can stunt grass growth.
Beat the heat
Exceptionally hot weather can be as uncomfortable for your horse as it is for you, so you may need to adjust your horse’s routine.
- If your horse is normally stabled at night and out during the day, consider reversing his turnout times to avoid the hottest temperatures and the worst of the flies.
- Check that the water supply to the field is working correctly so that your horse always has water available.
- If your horse has to stay out all day, ensure there is somewhere he can escape from the sun and the flies, such as some trees or a field shelter.
- Apply fly repellent regularly, and don’t forget sun screen for horses with pink skin.
- Wet weather following a long dry spell can result in a flush of new grass growth similar to spring, so be prepared to limit your horse’s grazing if you are concerned about laminitis or weight gain.
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