As long as the fencing is ok, your horse is safe in his field? Right?

Horses have an innate ability to find things that they can injure themselves on. Scarier still, should they get a leg – or some part of their body – stuck in something, the damage they can do through panicking is truly terrifying. We came up with a list of common field hazards to look out for with regard to the safety of your horse.

Sycamore seeds

Horses eating these can result in an often-fatal disease, equine myopathy. It is often considered a seasonal disease owing to the sycamore ‘helicopter’ seeds in the autumn and saplings in the spring. It is something however to be alert for all year round. Ways to minimise the risks of it affecting your horse include, limiting turnout, sectioning off areas around poisonous trees, remove any sycamore leaves or saplings and make sure the field is not over-grazed. Always keep an eye out for other poisonous plants growing and remove accordingly.

Feeding hay

A simple straightforward task? It is often impractical to feed hay from the ground as winter approaches and the terrain gets wetter. There are many options available to overcome this problem. A haynet can sometimes be useful – but this is often only practical for relatively small quantities of hay. When feeding ad-lib hay, some people opt for a traditional, old fashioned wooden hayrack. Wood is often a good material to use for items in fields – always making sure there are no nails that might come loose and cause an injury. Metal ring cattle feeders however, can be very dangerous around horses. If they manage to get a foot – or even worse – a leg through the metal bars this could result in a nasty injury.

The water trough

Again, whilst long-lasting, metal is often not ideal for a water trough. The corners of square metal troughs can catch passing legs very easily. Many people use a metal trough but place old tyres around the corners to avoid injuries. Purpose-built plastic troughs, may not last for quite as many years, but are generally much more forgiving injury-wise.

Things lurking in the grass

It is surprising what can be hidden in even relatively short grass. Old tin cans, wire, glass or a paving slab can all cause no end of painful and frightening injuries. It is really important to make sure in a field that is new to you, that you walk every bit of it and make sure that any hazards such as these are removed prior to putting your horse out. Subsequently, each day, it is very important to check the field and fencing are all in good shape to avoid unnecessary injury.

Other things to consider

Accidents do happen – it is why many insurance policies are taken out. Make sure your horse insurance policy is up to date with cover relevant to your horse’s needs. Also, as many field injuries involve cuts, when your horse has his annual flu-jab, remember to double-check with your vet that your horse is up to date with his tetanus vaccination which after an initial course is due every two-years.

About SEIB

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.