paddock maintenance

Horse ownership and land management both require a lot of hard work and effort, but thankfully, you don’t have to undertake all the work yourself. At Hill View Farm, we understand how hard it is to keep your paddocks tidy all year round.

That’s why we offer a range of services to ensure that you save yourself time and effort. Our history as a working farm means that our team knows a thing or two about paddock care. We love sharing our knowledge with our customers, which is why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to paddock maintenance.

Remove Horse Dropping Regularly: An Important Part Of Paddock Maintenance

Like most animals, horses don’t like to eat where they do their business. As such, you need to make sure that you clear away their droppings several times a day. Clearing away muck is one of the most vital tasks in paddock maintenance, but it’s also one of the most distasteful.

By keeping the paddock clean and free from horse mess, you’ll also make it easier for you and the horses to walk in it. You won’t be at risk of stepping in horse muck if you clear it regularly. Also, your horses won’t step or roll in it, meaning that you have less mess to clear off their bodies.

If you leave horse droppings in the area where they eat for a long time, then they could attract parasites and weeds. They could also damage the soil, leading to reduced grass growth. As such, you should use a shovel to clear away the mess several times a day when your horse is grazing. It’s easier in Winter, as the droppings harden in the cold, but it’s never pleasant.

Not everyone has the time or inclination to do this, but thankfully there are people out there to help. Our team can assist with paddock maintenance and muck clearing, leaving you free to spend time having fun and enjoying horse ownership.

Give Your Horses Hay As Well As Grass

Horses enjoy grazing on grass, but they also need additional roughage. Also, if your pasture is small, then it might not produce enough grass for your horse. As such, you need to supplement their diet. Hay is dried grass, but it offers additional roughage to aid digestion.

Consider feeding your horse hay in the paddock. You can spread the hay along the ground, so the horse feels like it’s grazing. You could also place a bale of hay in the paddock to keep your horse busy.

In Winter, you need to make sure that you always have enough hay for your horse. Grass growth sometimes slows in Winter, so you need to make sure they have enough to eat. Hill View Farm can supply you with quality hay so that your beloved horse never goes hungry.

Move Your Horse Around

Paddocks can quickly become overgrazed, meaning that the horse consumes all of the grass and it can’t grow back fast enough. As such, you should rotate your horse and move it to a new grazing area with fresh grass every few weeks. This approach will encourage grass growth and allow the pasture to recover.

When you move your horse to a new area, you should let your previous one rest. Do not move a new animal into the paddock. Another animal will only try to eat the remaining grass and stop the grass growth.

Grass takes weeks to regrow, so be patient. Wait until the bare patches in the grass are gone, and there is enough growth for your horse to eat before you return them to the pasture.

Choose A Selective Weed Killer

Some weeds and plants are poisonous to horses, so you need to make sure that they don’t ingest them. That means weeding the area as part of your paddock maintenance plan, but this process isn’t the same as weeding your garden.

Domestic weed killers contain toxic chemicals that can harm your horse. They might also kill some types of grass, restricting grass growth. This eventuality means that your horse won’t have as much grass to eat in paddocks that you treat with a strong weed killer.

As such, you need to buy a selective weed killer that is suitable for paddocks. Find a brand that is non-toxic to animals and grasses, then follow the directions from the manufacturer.

If you notice any poisonous plants or weeds, then remove them before you allow your horse into the pasture. If you don’t, then your horse might accidentally eat the weeds, leading to a lot of discomfort for them and a hefty vet bill for you.

By keeping the ground free of weeds, you’ll keep your horse safe and make their outdoor home look neat and tidy. You’ll also encourage grass growth and improve soil health. All of this helps you to create a pasture that your horse will love.

Test The Soil’s PH And Nutrient Levels

Much of your horses’ diet will consist of grazing on grass, so you need to make sure that it gives them all the nutrients they need. Test your soil’s PH and nutrient levels in the Winter, to make sure that the soil allows for the growth of grass gives your horse everything it needs.

If the soil is deficient, then consider fertilising it and supplementing your horse’s diet. When horses have got all the nutrients they need, then they will be happy and can perform perfectly.

It’s easy to test your soil’s PH and nutrient levels; you can buy a kit online. Follow the instructions to find out the nutrient levels and PH of your paddock’s soil.

These kits only give you a rough overview. As such, if your horse is significantly deficient in specific nutrients, then you can’t rely on a testing kit to give you the full facts. Speak to your vet to find out how you can get your horse back to optimal health.

Work With Paddock Maintenance Specialists

Maintaining the paddocks you keep your horses in is vital, but it’s also hard work. If you don’t have the time or experience, then consider working with agricultural experts like us.

Hill View Farm is much more than just a gorgeous farm. Our experienced team also offers a range of services, including agricultural field maintenance, equestrian services, hedge cutting with a tractor and more.

Thanks to our industry experience, we have the equipment and skills you need to keep your paddocks perfect all year round. Get in touch by emailing us on info@hillview-farm.co.uk or calling 01296 906084 to speak to a member of our team.

You May Also Be Interested In:

5 things to consider if you’re looking for hay for sale

Four reasons to use agricultural contractors