Saddle up with Teagasc’s help

TEAGASC has published two handbooks, A General Guide for the First-Time Horse/Pony Owner, and Grassland for Horses.

Both are available to down load as PDFs from the publications section of the www.teagasc.ie website.

The guide to looking after a riding horse, or pony, was produced by the Teagasc equine specialist unit, who say that owning your first riding horse, or pony, is very exciting.

However, looking after your new mount properly requires lifestyle changes and a considerable amount of time, commitment and energy. Horses and ponies must be cared for every day of the year.

New owners should be aware of the time, and financial and other commitments involved.

The handbook has advice on buying your horse/pony, facilities for keeping it, general care and handling, feeding, foot care, general horse health, worming, laminitis, lice, tack, riding out, travelling and loading your horse, and a list of useful contacts.

Grassland for Horses has chapters on managing grass and grazing for horses, safety at grass, managing overweight horses and ponies at grass, re-seeding, forage conservation, noxious weeds and poisonous plants.

According to this handbook, grassland management for horses presents a number of management problems. Horses are very selective gazers and are often grazed on farms where there is no other form of livestock, and hence no mixed grazing.

This presents challenges to maintaining good quality grassland for grazing.

Horses will eat down some areas until they are almost bare, while other areas in which they dung are left untouched.

However, grass is the cheapest food for horses, significantly cheaper than purchased concentrates.


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