NANCY S. LOVING, DVM, is a
performance horse veterinarian based
in Boulder, Colo., and is the author of All
Horse Systems Go.
A pasture may have hidden hazards such as rocks, low
spots, ditches, or holes that could cause a horse to trip.
Fence off any that present major safety concerns.
One common quandary is whether to risk turnout when
bad weather creates treacherous footing, such as mud, ice
or snow. You’ll have to weigh the risk of potential injury on
slippery ground with the benefits of turnout.
It’s probably worth the extra work mucking a stall or
paddock while waiting for better weather and footing. To
minimize slick surfaces in paddocks and runs, provide good
drainage by taking advantage of gentle slopes for runoff and
using gravel in more difficult areas.
The Bottom Line
Some of the best advice is to try to think like a horse. One of
the best ways to monitor your property for potential prob-
lems is to look at your place as if you were going to buy it.
In addition, ask your veterinarian to examine the farm
and stabling for potential hazards. Veterinarians have the
advantage of knowing firsthand what commonly happens
when horses encounter hazards on the farm.
Turn out horses in
to minimize the
chance for injuries.