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If there is anyone that can talk about hot horses on a hack, it is me.  My horse Shandy was a complete nightmare on hacks.  He would attem...

Friday, 6 July 2018

Perfect Farmony: Keeping Horses On The Farm

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Whether you’re a hobby farmer, a homesteader who has eschewed the necessity of consumerism by becoming your own supply chain or a career farmer for whom your yield is your livelihood, a horse can be a wonderful addition to your farm. Not only do they provide wonderful companionship,
not only can they be put to work on smaller farms to help till the earth, not only can their manure be
used to fertilise your crops but there’s something romantic about the presence of horses on farms
that evokes an almost frontier spirit. But of course, introducing a horse to any home has its caveats
and everything you do must start with the animal’s safety and wellbeing in mind.

Working farms can be noisy and chaotic environments and it may not be easy to keep your horse
calm and serene while you get through the necessary work of the day. While the right way to keep
your horse happy on your farm will depend on the size, scope and setup you have, here are some tips
that will help you to achieve perfect... farmony.

Gimme shelter

There’s a great deal of debate among horse owners on the issue of whether horses should be
stabled. While it’s true that stabled horses are statistically more prone to lameness and illness, the
risk is mitigated when you have good quality bedding which is changed regularly. If you run a busy
farm, a stable may be a useful tool in getting your horse accustomed to the sounds and smells of the
farm through gradual and controlled exposure. Just be wary of keeping horses stabled for too long.
They are active creatures and require a lot of exercise. It’s essential that you’re able to keep them
in a paddock where they have room to exercise and ideally have access to the company of other
horses. Even in a paddock, It’s essential that horses have a sheltered space in which to get out of
the sun or rain. Extremely cold, wet or muddy conditions can be damaging to a horse’s health.

Match your schedule to the horse’s needs

Some farmers like to keep horses as draft animals who can help out in the farm. On smaller farms
draft horses can marry their need for regular exercise with the farm’s need to keep a steady turnover
of crops. For some farms, however, industrial equipment may be essential to provide the necessary
turnover. If you’ve already talked about agronomy services with our field marketers and run a heavily
mechanised affair, it’s essential to make sure that horses don’t get startled by noisy equipment.
Plan your horse’s exercise around activities that involve noisy or potentially scary equipment, at least
until the horse has become accustomed to the sounds.

Graze for days

Aside from shelter and exercise, a horse needs to be able to graze for long periods of time
(a horse should be allowed to graze between 16 and 18 hours a day). Grazing space needs to be
carefully managed. Horses are natural browsers, they will chomp on patches of grasses, herbs
and clovers then move on to new pastures. They will usually avoid land that has been soiled by

With a little care and planning a horse can be happy, healthy and harmonious in your farm.


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