Article Originally Posted March 3, 2022 – Dare to Live Trust

Not wanting to tempt fate, we won’t say winter is over – that would be reckless, knowing that the weather always gets the last word, but for now we are certainly ‘transitioning’ into spring! The tell-tale signs of ‘bud burst’ on the trees and shrubs, first signs of nettles and wild honeysuckle leafing up and even a recent glimpse of a wild primrose or two, let us know that we’re nearly there.

The one constant however, often right through winter and most of spring (until we get long stretches of warm weather without rain), is MUD. It can also pop back in the summer if you have a deluge like last August, especially if your land is clay based. 

If, like us, you follow species appropriate herd care and management, meaning horses have liberty to live with ‘Friends, Forage, Freedom’ then you may encounter the challenges of MUD more often. There is no avoiding it if you are committed to your horses living out 24/7/365. But you can manage it. You can direct footfall (hoof-fall) to different areas of your land, rotate access to grazing and improve the surfacing of ‘high traffic’ pathways/feeding areas etc.

If you are lucky enough to have multiple hectares of land available for your horses this might simply mean closing off the boggiest area during winter and utilising the more free-draining, higher, sandier, or sheltered acres over winter. In the UK, with land at a premium this is something most owners/tenants don’t have the option of. 

The Dare to Live Trust (IFEEL Method’s associate charity) recently relocated to a new site in the High Weald, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Mid Sussex (UK). With over 20 acres of grazing and woodland we have been very fortunate to have had access to fantastic grazing with an enriched foraging environment of long lengths of well-established hedgerow and woodland shaws…