Healthy Horses Healthy Landscapes

Field day held in Cargo on managing horses to keep them healthy and the landscape they are kept in healthy

Healthy Horses Healthy Landscapes

Field day held in Cargo on managing horses to keep them healthy and the landscape they are kept in healthy

Showing the Difference -

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The issue

Many of our members in the Mid lachlan Landcare region own horses and it has been recognised that these animals can be hard to manage on pastures in this location. Some of the issues identified are obesity, laminitis and in some cases founder. In order to manage these risks the horses diets are often carefully managed and horses end up being kept on bare paddocks which can then be prone erosion, weeds and worms.

The solution

Our members expressed an interest in looking at alternative methods to manage their horses and the paddocks in which they are kept. A practical informative field day was held on a farm which has been allowing their horses to graze naturally out in paddocks for part of the day and then they come in to a common area where they have access to slow fed hay. Each paddock is grazed down to a height of about 6cm (or a stubby bottle lying down) and then the paddock is given a minimum of 90 days to recover before horses return. This recovery time reduces worm burdens, encourages groundcover and aims to minimise weed impacts. The system needs to be designed so there there are enough paddocks to allow the minimum 90 day recovery period. Key to this system is growing the grass long to ensure the horses don't have access to short stressed grass that is high in sugars thus increasing laminitis risk. 

The impact

This informal session has given attendees plenty of information for them to go away and research what might suit themselves. We allowed plenty of time for questions to be asked and the day was very interactive. Some feedback recieved included "Excellent session on encouraging groundcover and healthy pastures", "Very impressed by depth and diversity of plant cover in drought conditions", "Discussion about management and grasses during talk and walk was great" 

The turnout for the day showed there is plenty of interest in this topic so we will be looking to do some further work on 'Healthy Horses Healthy Landscapes' in the future. 

Key facts

  • 33 participants
  • Practical information
  • Postive feedback
  • Recovery time is key

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