Spring has sprung: how have your horses done?
The daffodils are out and the sun is making more appearances – yes, spring is well and truly on its way!
It’s been a long, hard winter for everyone, but how are your horses doing? From a welfare point of view there are a few things we need to be on top of as we head into spring. The main one is weight. Horses are designed to lose some weight over winter in preparation for the lush spring grass.
If your horse is a good doer, winter is an ideal opportunity for him to lose some pounds. The dreaded laminitis is a real threat at this time of year so, if he hasn’t lost a little, consider slowly introducing more exercise and decreasing his hard feed. If your horse is retired or not ridden, like our residents here at Remus, then some walking in hand could be beneficial. For more information about laminitis, you can also read our previous blog on the subject here: Laminitis Alert for Horse Owners and/or download this article from Horse Magazine which featured our research work.
If your horse has lost too much weight over winter then good nutrition and appropriate rugging until the weather warms up will help. The spring grass will also give him some much needed nutrients, but if you’re at all worried then speak to your vet.
Check out the full vet health check from Your Horse magazine for more information: www.yourhorse.co.uk/advice/vet-advice/articles/vet-health-check-has-your-horse-wintered-well
And if you would like to contribute to our winter feed appeal to help the many neglected, malnourished and tethered horses out there, you can find out more and do so here.
Caring for our horses during the pandemic
Coronavirus has changed our lives beyond anything we thought possible. Thankfully our animals, for the most part, remain oblivious to everything going on around them. That’s how we want it to be, but for many who own or care for horses, routines have been affected and even life at the yard has been unable to go on as usual.
Depending on your yard situation, you may have had to turn your horses away for the foreseeable future, or you may be able to continue with their usual routine but on a buddy system with other liveries. Either way, this time of year presents lots of challenges with weight and grass management, which have now been made even trickier. Plus, as we all know, horses thrive on routine and some have had to endure sudden but inevitable changes.
So there is a lot to think about regarding our four legged friends – from managing farrier visits to coping with reduced exercise to getting hold of essential supplies. Among the reams of information out there, this checklist from Horse & Rider is a good place to start and will help make sure you’re on top of everything that still needs doing despite Covid-19.
Here at Remus we are now reliant on a small but dedicated group of yard staff and continue to give our residents the very best day to day care amidst more and more challenging circumstances. In the meantime we’re enjoying sharing pictures of the horses and ponies with you on our social media pages and if you are able to help support us in any way possible, you’ll find links below:
- Please make a donation, even if its only to set up a monthly direct debit for £5 a month! remussanctuary.org/donate.
- If you prefer you can donate food and bedding via our online shop www.remussanctuary.org/product-category/animal-treats.
- Please share our posts on social media with your friends and family www.facebook.com/RemusHorseSanctuary, twitter.com/RemusHorse, www.instagram.com/remushorsesanctuary.
We and the animals thank you!
Stay alert this Spring
It’s March, which means the first day of Spring is nearly upon us! It’s a lovely time for horse owners with lighter evenings and less mud, but it’s also a time to be vigilant. Yes, there’s the dreaded laminitis we all worry about, but the start of Spring is also when people tend to start getting their gardens ready for the warmer weather.
There was a news story in Horse & Hound recently about grass cuttings being dumped in a field with horses. Cut grass can do a lot of damage to a horse; it can make them colic, which could lead to all sorts of complications. Members of the public don’t necessarily realise how grass cuttings, vegetables or anything else they assume horses can eat, can actually harm them.
Our Horse Welfare Watch here at Remus helps us to encourage people not to turn a blind eye and report any horses that they are concerned about. Horses can, unfortunately, be exposed to what is not good for them, but we can work together to help raise awareness of the dangers and stay alert.
Read the whole news article here.
For information on our Horse Welfare Watch, visit our website here.