Preparing your horse’s paddock for spring is an important job for any horse owner and it’s more than likely it’s taken a hammering during the wet winter months.
Follow our tips below to get your horse's paddock perfect for spring.
Harrow your paddock
Harrowing helps to remove dead vegetation and also aerates the soil. It’s also commonly used to spread droppings around your horse’s paddock, acting as a natural fertiliser.
Harrowing should be done when the conditions are becoming slightly warmer and from March onwards is ideal. The ground will become churned up if you harrow when it’s too wet, while you may not be able to harrow effectively if the land is too dry.
It’s important to remember that the pasture will be unpalatable for a time after harrowing (the BHS recommend a minimum of six weeks), and any worms will also be spread around the paddock.
Rolling your paddock is also wise after winter, especially if it has become churned up by hooves galloping through it. Rolling helps to flatten uneven ground, but make sure you wait until it’s dry enough, so as not to affect grass growth.
Reseed your horse's paddock
If your horse's paddock is looking a little bare after the winter, you might want to consider reseeding it.
Reseeding takes a bit of planning – horses shouldn’t be grazed on new grass until it is well established – so ensure you have enough space to graze your horse elsewhere while the new grass is growing.
Once your new grass is well established, you need to gradually reintroduce your horse to it, giving his digestive system time to adapt.
Choosing the right seed mix is important so check with an equine nutritionist if you’re unsure as certain grasses (such as ryegrass) can be high in sugar and low in fibre.
Check your horse's paddock for poisonous plants
Keeping an eye on your horse’s paddock for dangerous plants is a year-round job, but weeds can become more of a problem after winter as the land may be in poor condition.
We all know the dangers of ragwort, but it’s also worth making yourself aware of other plants that can be poisonous for your horse including sycamore, bracken, yew, acorns and deadly nightshade.