Paddock Paradise on Hampshire Grass
by Linda Jane (Hampshire, UK)
I got my QH mare 5 years ago now when I turned 60. We went from shod to barefoot looking for the solution to slight lameness which came and went. I have had a Laminitic pony but this was not so clear. This was Low Grade Laminitis, very sneaky and not easy for the vet to diagnose either but the front feet were like pancakes.
It has been a long and winding journey but I seem to have two mares and two colts now all of them barefoot. I am trimming them myself with the help of an expert and I took the first step toward a Paddock Paradise last summer.
One fly in the ointment is that we live in Hampshire in the Uk and our land is limited. Unless you have been here you have never seen anything as lush and green as these Rye grasses. Deadly. Another fly would be my budget with the little side show of a husband who has no interest nor affection for horses and who thinks I am a little touched. Luckily he humours me.
From little acorns great Oak Trees grow. I bought a lot of plastic stakes and some tape and a solar energizer and laid out a track on the 2 acre field. It was a pretty boring track to start with but it seems to have helped get more movement going which also wears down the grass.
This spring I have cajoled a fencer to dump a truckload of copiced tree branches and logs on one side of the track to create some interest and divert traffic while the leftover gravel from a replaced driveway is spread across the other side, which has to be traversed. Pea gravel was beyond my means but Basalt Dust is cheap and the stable area and an area behind it where the horses stand under the only tree on the field, is proving a great hoof grinder and is comfortable for even the flat footed QH.
Buying hay is proving a challenge. Most horse owners stop feeding it in the spring and summer so it isn’t widely available and its expensive. I’ll find it though and I will get one of the fence net feeders to reduce waste.
I plan to buy a couple of small bags of pea gravel to put at a gateway where a puddle always forms. It is a work in progress and I have almost stopped worrying about the Laminitic threat. I have learned a lot. I’m almost an expert. I hope to get a lot more innovations going on in this track and perhaps to create a better one in a rented field down the road. Meanwhile my horses are all beautiful, happy and sound.
Well done Linda – the challenges that we have to overcome and learn from can be very hard. But to hear that you have “almost stopped worrying about the Laminitic threat,” just goes to show how far you have come.