Middle photo of Harry sporting a new look this morning after exploring or hedgerows.
Horses should be able to spend time browsing hedgerows, not only is it good for them to seek out plants they need for their nutritional benefits (natural antioxidants, micronutrients etc) but also browsing helps their mental health and wellbeing too.
In the wild horses spend between 16 and 18 hours a day eating forage - grasses, herbs, barks, roots and plants. Their natural diet should be low in sugar and starch and high in fibre.
Our high, native hedgerows provide shelter and enrichment and include many horse friendly plants such as dogwood, blackthorn, hazel and hawthorn, nettles, rosehips, and danilons.
It helps that many of our fields are 'old swards' too meaning that the fields haven't been ploughed and re-seeded for many years so they also provide a variety of different meadow grasses for a varied, healthy diet. These same fields are used for haylage and hay making for winter feeding.
We like to see the horses exploring the hedgerows, but do have to occasionally tidy up their manes afterwards.
Just a little bit about all that's going on at Lowertown Farm, in the heart of Dartmoor National Park where the wild ponies roam on England's largest wilderness.