Your horses spend many hours in their paddocks, so checking your paddocks regularly for safety can help to protect your horses against potential injuries. Make it a point of checking your paddocks frequently, and ideally on a weekly basis. Here are some important areas to check:
The Fence Line
Walk the fence line and inspect your fencing to make sure that it's in good condition. Check for sections which may be weak or broken – broken fence boards and protrusions such as nails can make for a potentially hazardous situation. If you find weak or broken fencing, fix it immediately or keep your horses in an alternate paddock. While inspecting the fencing, also check all of the gates and latches to make sure that they are secure and functioning properly.
As you walk the paddock, keep an eye out for hazardous plants which grow in your area. Your local agriculture and farming department can assist you in identifying hazardous plants which could potentially grow in your area. Put together a "cheat sheet" or handbook of these plants with photographs to make identification easy. If you find any hazardous plants, research the best method to remove them to keep your horses safe.
And while lush green grass may look appealing and inviting, don't overlook the fact that this, too, can be a potential danger. A sudden introduction to too much grass can put a horse at risk for laminitis and weight gain, especially in the spring. If your horse has not been out on pasture, then be sure to introduce him very gradually for short periods of time. Using a grazing muzzle during the introduction can also help to limit his grass intake.
Take a walk through your pasture to inspect its footing. Fill in any divots you find, remove large rocks, and consider bringing in a tractor and additional footing to repair any particularly bad areas. Exposed tree roots can be another hazard, and need to be thoroughly covered or blocked off from the horses' access.
While you walk the pasture, keep an eye out for any trash or debris and remove it. It's also a great idea to occasionally sweep the pasture with a magnetized wand to check for any small pieces of metal, such as nails or screws, which could injure your horse. If your horse loses a shoe while turned out, a metal wand can help you to find it in tall grass.
Make a point of also checking the water supply when you walk the paddocks. If you have automatic waterers, check to make sure that they're functioning and clean. Check any stock tanks to be sure that they are clean and full.
Walking your pasture regularly can ensure that it is an area your horses can enjoy in safety.
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