5 Horsey Jobs to do in April
You can feel it. You can smell it. Spring is in the air. It’s highly likely that we’ve still got some cold and/or wet weather to come but, for the best part, the end is nigh and it won’t be long before we’re all shedding our layers permanently. With that in mind, here are the five horsey jobs I'll be doing during April...
Create an Exercise Plan
There’s always the temptation on the first balmy day of spring to tack up and head out for a nice long hack for a couple of hours. This is fine providing your horse is fit enough to cope with it. Think about it from his point of view: he might not have had much exercise during the winter. So asking him to gallop across a field might be setting the stage for a variety of possible injuries of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even bones. Produce an exercise plan to improve your horses’s condition to prevent overexertion and injury. And don't forget to get your own body in shape too!
Harrow ‘n Roll
Traditionally, harrowing is used to spread droppings on the field to act as a natural fertiliser. Timing is critical and it should only be done in dry warm conditions, as this allows the harrowed droppings to dry out and kill any parasites.
Uneven, rutted and poached areas of your field will benefit from rolling. Doing this will flatten poached areas and consolidate loose soil. Once again, the timing of this is crucial, as rolling in muddy or wet conditions will compact the ground which will have a negative impact on the problems you’re trying to solve, i.e. the drainage and grass growth.
G is for Grass with a capital G
Spring is synonymous with the growth of everything green, especially grass. While lush green pastures are pleasing to the eye and to your horse, consider how much grass he really needs. The threat of laminitis due to too much grass is very real. Now is the best time to have your turnout strategy in place. Do you need to restrict your horse’s intake of grass? If so, how? Strip grazing, limited turnout, and grazing muzzles are all good methods for preventing spring laminitis, but which one or ones are best for your horse?
Get scrubbing this spring
While it's impossible for horses to fuss about the cleanliness of their feed bucket as they’re most concerned with just getting fed, spick-and-span water troughs are the hallmark of good management. Yes, the water trough or bucket in his field will look nicer, but there's a far better reason for the scrubbing that’s required – it provides a healthier environment for your horse to drink from! From spring onwards, troughs need to be cleaned more often as standing water can be a place for incubation of undesirables when the temperature climbs. A scrubbing brush or firm-bristled broom are effective tools for eliminating grime and algae.
Spring clean your stable
Every stable needs at least one big clean a year. Spring is often considered the best time for this satisfying task. For many people, however, the pleasure comes only after the work is finished. It may seem like hard work, but you can make the project more manageable and even enjoyable if planned well. Read our blog about spring cleaning your horse's stable for everything you need to know before you start. Click below.