Spring is here, and your horse can finally begin to spend lots of time outside again. Before you turn your horse out into the pastures, though, there are some important steps that you should take to make sure that your pasture is safe.
Walk the Pasture Fences
Start by walking all of the pasture fences. Look for areas which are weak or damaged, and make any necessary repairs. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the fences are readily visible to your horse. If you are using electric fences, then you may need to add some plastic flags to the fence lines to make them highly visible.
Check and Oil Pasture Gates
In addition to checking the pasture fences, make sure that you carefully inspect the pasture gates. Your gates should swing easily and should be well supported by their hinges. The spring is a great time to oil the hinges to keep them working well. Also inspect the chain or device that you’re using to close the gates to make sure that it’s in good working order.
Look for Unsafe Objects
The freezing and thawing of winter can sometimes bring buried objects to the surface. Walk all of your pastures and look for debris or objects that could be dangerous to your horse.
Fence Out Unsafe Footing
As you walk your pasture, look for areas where the footing or terrain may be unsafe. Heavily rocky areas or steep hills may be dangerous for your horse; it’s best to fence these areas out so that your horse cannot access them.
Treat Muddy Areas
The areas near pasture gates often become very muddy, which can cause tendon strains and can pull horseshoes off of your horse’s hooves. If your pastures have heavily muddy areas, then you may wish to bring in some pea gravel or other substance which can help to reduce the mud in those areas.
Check for Poisonous Plants
Don’t forget to check for any poisonous plants which may begin to emerge in the spring. You should make a point of checking your pasture for toxic plants regularly.
Clean Up Leaves
If you have maple trees near your pasture, then it’s important to clean up any leaves that may have fallen in the fall or winter. Maple leaves are toxic to horses if ingested in large amounts, so make sure that your horse cannot access these leaves.
What will you be doing to ready your horse pastures this spring?