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Prevent Your Horse Being Injured in the Field



Every year a significant number of horses are injured whilst turned out in their pasture. This is unfortunate for the animals concerned and can prove costly for their owners. Many such injuries could have been avoided. So here’s what you need to do to keep your horse safe when they are in the field.



Size Matters


You must ensure that there is sufficient grazing for the number of horses that are turned out into the field. This will be at least 0.4 hectares per horse. However, the space required will depend on the size and type of your horse, the length of time they will spend in the pasture and how much exercise they receive. If your horse seems to have too much energy when they are turned out then you probably need to exercise them more.

If your paddock is too small then the horses won’t have adequate room to run about and so collisions with fences and other animals are more likely.

The Importance of Company


Horses are naturally herd animals and so should not be turned out alone. Neither should horses be left alone because other horses have been taken in or ridden out. Loneliness will lead to frustration and boredom which in turn could result in restlessness. Restless horses may try to escape from the field and that is when injuries happen.

Competition


On the other hand, there are pecking orders within a herd and horses will compete for food and a good place at the trough. It is crucial that you provide more piles of forage than there are horses so they don’t fight over it. Spread these out across the field to reduce the chance of the ground poaching and to give each horse sufficient personal space.

Don’t introduce a new horse to a pasture and leave the animals unattended until you are sure that they get on. Introduce horses to each other gradually over time. Horses may attack other horses with terrible consequences.

The Dangers of Poaching


The high traffic areas of the field can become poached and so both horses and people could then easily slip. The danger zones are the areas adjacent to the gate and around the water trough. If possible, move the water trough around the field to even out wear and keep the gate area well-maintained.

Fencing


Check your fencing regularly to ensure that it is secure. Make sure that there are no damaged sections which could injure your horse. Use electric fencing to keep horses away from barbed wire.

Establish a Routine


Establish a routine and stick to it. If horses are expecting to be taken in at a certain time and you are late, they could stand around the gate waiting for you and this raises the risk of injury. Turn your horse out regularly as they will be less inclined to get over-excited when they are given time in the field.

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