In the Saddle: Mud monster mayhem

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You would not believe the state of the winter paddock at home with all this constant rain. It's an absolute swamp. I fear I have hippos at home and not horses.

Just to show you what I mean I have taken a photo of my horse 'April' after she came in from her grazing the other day.

I nearly died when I saw the state of her and she wasn't the only one sporting the mud monster look. All three had kindly had a roll in the swamp and swaggered in feeling very pleased with themselves much to my horror.

It's not just the state of the horses rugs that mud affects. I've just had to invest in pair of small clippers which will take the horse's 'feathers' off their legs.

The feathers on a horse are the dangling bits of hair near the heel area (pastern) of the lower leg and they stop the legs drying out properly.

This is to help prevent mud fever - which is an infection from bacteria caused through prolonged wetting.

Trimming off the feathers near the pastern helps legs to dry off and prevents sores. Which can help to prevent mud fever. It's not a definite preventative but it might help a little. Ideally you wouldn't turn them out in these conditions but with clay soil and little drainage there's not much you can do.

I don't believe in boxing horses up all winter. My horses would go crackers like that. I know some that are quite happy to live like that though.

I was going to trim the horses at the weekend but with the fantastic frosts (oh yes, I get excited over frosts as it means the ground is crunchy rather than swampy) I wanted the horses to have turn out so I'll do it later this week.

The clay soil tends not to drain as well as sandy soil and although it seems to grow better grass in the spring - it really is horrible for horses.

I know I keep saying it but roll on spring and please can we order some dry weather?