The days are getting colder and Autumn is well and truly upon us. The farm is full of warm, vibrant colours – red, orange and yellow – as the leaves turn, giving our hacking trails a whole new dimension of beauty.
Spindles, blackberries, hawthorns and rosehips fill our hedgerows with delicious berries for the winter birds and our planted rye, barley and sunflowers have turned to seed adding another rich food source for the Redwing and Fieldfare that have been arriving from Norway over recent weeks.
As the season changes, our work varies too. We have cultivated our fields to kick-start the germination of weeds, and the plough has moved in so we can start preparing the soil bed for planting our winter-sown crops.
We have also been busy harvesting plenty of hay from our fields to ensure the horses will be well fed over the winter months too.
The horses will need thicker stable rugs and waterproof turnout rugs to keep them warm and dry. If you are looking for a rug for your horse, but don’t want to shell out for a brand new one, we have lots of affordable second-hand rugs in great condition, so please give us a call to see if we have one to suit your needs.
This is the time of year when we are busy clipping horses too. They grow a thick coat to keep them warm over the winter months, which is great if they’re out grazing. But if they are working hard, they will sweat and it can take a long time for them to dry off. This can be uncomfortable for the horse, plus they could catch a chill. So, we clip them, allowing them to dry off quicker, then compensate by covering them in a nice warm rug when they’re resting.
Depending on how hard the horse is working, will dictate the type of clip they require. For example, a horse in hard work may need a full body clip, however a simple trace clip (under neck and belly) would be more suitable for a gentle ‘happy hacker’.
We love clipping and would be happy to clip your horse if you are local to Berkeley – bring him to us or we can come to you. Alternatively, you can give it a go yourself. We get a lot of questions from people who have tried a DIY clip with questionable results (!), and so we will soon be filming a series of ‘how to clip’ videos – watch this space!
The autumnal weather brings with it seasonal health risks that could affect your horse too.
Vet, Lily Witchell from Rowe Equine in Wotton-under-Edge says: “The changes that we see through the autumn months can lead to a variety of conditions that horse owners need to be aware of. Changes in feeding and activity levels can lead to colic, and too much exposure to wet ground can leave legs vulnerable to mud fever.
“Worming treatments are also important at this time of year, and Atypical Myopathy is a potentially fatal condition linked to the ingestion of sycamore seeds.”
To find out more about how to prevent these seasonal health problems, or spot the symptoms, you can read Lily’s full blog here.
We hope that you are all enjoying watching the season change as much as we are. Christmas will be here before we know it!