Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The trials of pony management!

After the last days rain I arrived at the yard this morning to find my paddocks well beyond their best and desperate in need of a few months rest!
I have managed all summer with the 3 ponies on 4 small foal paddocks, rotating around with the two larger ones in together, and little Welsh pony Jack following them once they have the grass eaten down. Jack has a tendency to get Laminitis, a painful condition which - in short - means that I have to watch his diet incredibly carefully, if he gets too fat or eats too much lush grass, he will go painfully lame.
The Stud where I keep them (next door to ours) is also rented by our Stud, and they are busy moving mares over there for the last few months of pregnancy before they are stabled here in December/Jan.
I have to move the ponies soon onto their winter grazing to make way for the thoroughbreds, but being September (and having had every paddock fertilized with Nitrogen in the spring)  the grass is still very lush! Poor Jack would never cope, and Charlie tends to be colicky on fresh grazing too. We already had one nasty episode this summer requiring urgent vet care and I really have to watch him.

(The ponies in Spring L-R Jack, Chuck, Charlie) 

So this mornings task was to find a way to graze them all with their various special needs whilst keeping them near each other (or they get upset)! After constructing a makeshift fence across a walkway, I have decided to work my way down towards the new paddocks using poor Chuck (a lovely black cob) as a lawnmower! So Chuck is now grazing a walkway, Charlie on a tiny square paddock, and Jack waiting on the foal paddock for a space! Hopefully if I let Chuck graze down the worst of it bit by bit, by the time I reach the winter paddock they can all be close to each other without anybody getting poorly. It is a bit like an enormous jigsaw puzzle!

Here's Jack doing the 'Wall of death' around the foal paddock, he was none to pleased that the boys had all the grass. I am quite pleased that he looks a good weight. I have been very strict with the poor boy!

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