Managing our pasture is essential to provide your horses with a head start when it comes to athleticism, strength and condition. Between Tom, Paul and Andy the paddocks are taken care of to the highest of standards, helped in no small way by the machinery owned by the stud.
Spring is a prime season to analyse any deficiency in our soil and to identify the PH of the soil. Thereafter we can establish if we need to be using lime and/or fertilisers during March and April when there is some rain forecast. During late spring Tom and Paul harrow the paddocks removing any dead grass and aerate the soil. This is also a favourable season to reseed any areas in the paddocks. For instance in 2020 we ‘overseeded’ our nursery paddocks that have been poached over the winter. Once the weather permits, we roll our paddocks to flatten any rough and rutty areas.
During late spring, early summer we normally find this is a good time to carry out faecal egg counts, as this is the period where some endoparasites will be emerging from the gut wall and establishing an adult infection in the lumen of the gut. Any poisonous plants like ragwort will be removed during early summer, either by digging them up or applying a horse-safe herbicide. Once the land is dry we will top the paddocks to remove any dead, dry or long herbage and encourage growth of the lower grasses.
Late Summer and early Autumn, we aerate the soil to prepare for the wetter months ahead. This releases the impaction of the top soil and importantly encourages root growth with added Oxygen and nutrients gravitating down. During October and November our hedges are trimmed back and our ditches are cleared to aid irrigation during winter.
As all stud farms know, turnout can be limited due to rain and snow. At Heatherwold, we have shelters in each of the paddocks that the horses accommodate to keep dry and out of the wind.