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Erin Equine Education Series covers horse and pasture prep for springMarch 2018

Story: Nicole Weidner

manure pick-up in pastureThe recent warm weather may have been a reminder to us all that spring is around the corner, but for horse owners, it’s also a reminder to start planning for spring turnout. Attendees at the second workshop in the Erin Equine Education Series on February 22nd are a step ahead with planning, thanks to advice from Alf Budweth, from Budson’s Farm and Feed Company, and Mark Eastman, from Credit Valley Conservation. Budweth and Eastman presented key information and tips on preparing your horses and your pasture for spring turnout, respectively.

Budweth provided helpful advice on transitioning your horse to pasture. The switch from hay to pasture can be stressful, especially if done abruptly. To understand it from your own perspective, imagine eating only high fibre cereal every day, then switching to eating only jellybeans. Providing a slow transition gives the bacteria in a horse’s gut time to adjust to the new food, and will reduce the risk of diseases like laminitis and colic.

Eastman’s talk covered a lot of ground (literally!), with topics ranging from soil testing, fertilizing, reseeding and the importance of sacrifice paddocks. Eastman suggests soil testing at one time of the year (e.g. fall or spring), and staying consistent by testing at the same time in the following years. For more information on maintaining a healthy pasture, check out Equine Guelph’s Pasture Management fact sheet.

Don’t miss the last workshop in the series! Guest speakers will cover a hot topic related to hoof care: leaving your horse barefoot vs. using horse shoes. It’s coming up on March 8th at 7pm, at Budson’s Farm and Feed Company in Erin, ON. Dr. Jeff Thomason from the Ontario Veterinary College will be participating in this presentation.

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