Having got through one of the longest, toughest winters imaginable – thanks Covid – many of us in the SEIB horse insurance team have been looking forward to some mild, damp spring weather. At this time of year we would generally expect to be see our precious horses out in lush paddocks, rugless and happily grazing away.
For many of us, the reality – especially over the last few weeks – has been more in line with, rugs on, hay out in the field twice a day and limited cantering on the increasingly hard ground whilst out hacking.
How do we make the best out of this situation?
Wait until rain is forecast before fertilising the ground. There is simply no point in putting fertiliser down until it will be rained into the ground, without water fertiliser will not help the grass grow. On the plus side, horses can still use paddocks until fertiliser is put down. There is the same need for rain if reseeding any patches of the field is on the agenda.
Continue to hay
Following hay shortages over the winter many people have been anticipating no longer having to put hay out in the field by now. Sadly, for many horses, the grass simply hasn’t yet grown so it is very important to put out a decent amount of hay to make sure they have sufficient forage and full tummies. Putting out plenty of hay will also make sure that the horses aren’t being encouraged to over-graze the grass that is there. If the ground has been looked after then when the rain does arrive, the grass will grow more densely.
Whilst there have been plenty of nights recently where the temperature has been sub-zero, in the day-time it has been fairly warm. Keeping a close eye on the forecast – it can work out well to put a rug on horses overnight and then take off again for the daytime.
Go back to basics
Whilst the ground is already firm – and getting harder by the day – at least there is no mud! The hard ground can also provide a great opportunity to concentrate on how your horse is going in walk and trot. There are plenty of basic, training exercises you can do out hacking in walk and trot. Simply practising transitions down from trot, to walk, to halt and then back up again can encourage your horse to listen and make him more responsive to your aids. Some people even find they are able to practise leg-yielding and shoulder-in while out gently hacking.
Everyone here in the SEIB horse insurance team has their fingers firmly crossed for a bit of milder weather and rain. Surely they will arrive soon!
We have been providing insurance for horses for over 50 years. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you and your horses are covered should the worst happen. If you’d like advice on your insurance please call us on 01708 850000.