It might’ve been frosty this morning with a feeling of snow in the air but spring is definitely on it’s way.
How do I know? For starters the daffodils are out. Otis gazed longingly at the rested section of his field which he’s never done before. Unclipped horses are moulting like it’s going out of fashion.
But most significant, is the fact that I can’t catch the horses to ride them!
Yesterday a coloured cob wandered away from me for quarter of an hour until I purloined a lump of sugar (not a cube, but the lumps which form when damp sugar dries!) from the tea room and bribed him.
Today I opened the gate to one gelding’s field, where he was lying down. He promptly got up and galloped laps of the field for ten minutes. I had even gone prepared with a mint treat, but couldn’t get close enough to show him. At least he’d worn himself out so he wouldn’t be as spooky on our hack…
After him I headed to the next field, where the large herd were cantering around. Next door was a geriatric cavorting around excitedly. I have to admit, there is something very uplifting when you see the veterans, or sensible horses, have a play in the field. Thankfully my next horse saw me coming and stopped playing so I could put his headcollar on.
With the spring grass coming through it’s important to make sure you aren’t over feeding; perhaps reduce the hay slightly and start to cut back on sugar beet or other hard feed. Increasing turnout helps get the wind out of their sails, and remembering to opt for lighter turn out rugs if possible so they don’t sweat if they do have a play. Then of course, actual exercise can be increased to help prevent energy levels building up, which is all the more pleasurable in the lighter evenings.
In Wales the horses usually stayed in at night until the Easter holidays, but invariably we would be told upon arrival on mild March days “so and so didn’t come down”. The culprit was usually cheeky Billy, and he ofte managed to persuade a friend to stay out with him. If the rebels followed our ponies down we had to let them in, but if not then it was tough teddies! They usually hurried in the next night!