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Issues on Rented Grazing

Many people find themselves in difficult situations with their horses and ponies because of their grazing. Here in NZ, with weeks of warm rain, not only is the grass exploding but so are all the equine health and behaviour problems that go along with it! Some issues are relatively easily manageable but some are very serious such laminitis, head flicking or uncharacteristic behaviour. They are particularly serious when owners don’t have any grass free options available at their grazing or where there IS a yard or a grass-free option but it means the horse will be stressed because they are now separated from the other horses, or this is just a yard.

Of course CHH would advocate that grass-free options (not just yards or stables) need to be standard facilities when charging for grazing. We are contacted by many people who find they are paying for grazing that is causing problems for their horses/ponies. This includes Pony Club or other 'one-size fits all' agistment.

When horses and ponies go down with acute laminitis (or other serious issues) the problem becomes an emergency because access to grass needs to be eliminated as a priority.

If your horse is not coping with the grass and you don’t own the property, ask the owner or the grazing manager if you can tape off an area or a strip, preferably close to water supply and which includes some sort of shade and shelter, that you can make grass free.

horses playing on sawdust
IF the area is well draining, it is just a case of covering the grass with sawdust/bark or sand - deep enough that grass won’t grow through it. Cathy's horses pictured here, spend a lot of time playing on a pile of sawdust heaped up for them as a soft surface.

Carpet as a surface
If the area is in danger of becoming muddy you can cover it first with free carpet from your local carpet store. Stores are only too happy for you to take it away.

This will both kill the grass underneath and stop things churning up into mud – you can then put a load of sawdust or bark on top without it disappearing into the substrate. It is very easy to cut the carpet from the back with a box cutter.

Then, once it’s no longer required you can roll it up and take it to the dump.

This is a good option if finances are limited and is potentially acceptable to the land owner because it isn’t permanent and the grass soon grows back once removed.

Mud Mats
Mud mats are a viable option in the UK but seem to be prohibitively expensive here in NZ.

For temporary fencing, because in these cases it is imperative that these horses or ponies do not escape back out onto the grass you need to make it ‘Fort Knox’.

Gallaghers Line Posts
Gallagher’s now have great semi-permanent and safe fencing with their line-posts. Normal standards and tape can be too flimsy for some horses and ponies when it is imperative they don’t get out.

Another great use for the carpet is to cut it into metre wide strips and lay under the fence-lines – stops grass and weeds growing along there.

Carpet laid under fences to stop grass growing where horses can reach it!
Carpet laid under fences to stop grass growing where horses can reach it!

At such times it is very important that horses get the right nutrition in their daily feed. Premium MVA is formulated accordingly and added to the feed, along with salt, supply essential daily nutrients including selenium and boosted levels of Vit E.

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