The wonderful UK weather is so unpredictable that we cannot guarantee the harsh cold winters and extremely hot summers to kill off worms on our horses grazing pastures. The milder, wetter weather encourages worms to spread further making it even more important to remove droppings regularly. Visit https://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/advice/health/how-to-control-worms-in-horses for further information.
By picking up droppings regularly you can minimise the number of parasites that your horse consumes whilst grazing. Parasitic worms can seriously affect the health of horses and can cause irreversible damage. Please contact your vet for further information regarding a suitable worming programme for your horse.
Tips for good pasture and stable yard management-
Droppings should be picked up daily from your horses stable and pasture to aid efficient parasite control when possible.
Harrow your pasture to spread out horse droppings, which will distribute nutrients and prevent grass rejection. Do not harrow your pasture unless you plan to rest the field, as all this does is spread the worm eggs/larvae around your pasture.
Make sure the muck heap is positioned well away from grazing areas.
The more horses you have in smaller areas of grazing may require droppings picking up more frequently.
Be careful not to overgraze the pastures as this can encourage your horse to graze close to the ground where the highest amount of eggs and larvae will be.
Other benefits of poo picking-
Poo picking your horses pasture regularly not only helps in worm control prevention but it also has other advantages-
By removing droppings you are reducing the amount of flies attracted to your horse/pasture and therefore reducing the chance of health issues brought on by flies and the irritation that they cause.
Pasture quality will improve – droppings will starve the grass beneath it of air and light, this is when bare patches appear. This will then restrict your horses grazing and these areas can then become prime areas for ragwart to establish itself.
Ragwort is a weed which is extremely poisonous to horses and must be removed from your horse’s pasture immediately.
Paddock maintenance – whilst carrying out your poo picking duties you may also come across broken fences and rabbit holes that may need attention, so all that shovelling may save you from a serious problem.
Ultimately a cleaner field will help keep your horse healthy and happy, although poo picking is a chore to many, the benefits make it all worthwhile.
Happy poo picking!