This week the farms’ horses headed off on their annual holiday to Homestead Farm in Barnet where they will have a field full of grass to themselves. The horses are not ridden during their holiday so it is a real rest for them. In addition their shoes are removed and they are not groomed during this time to allow the natural oils in their coat and skin remain, much like a duck’s waterproof coating, keeping them protected from the elements.
This process of ‘roughing off’ is an important part of caring for horses that work hard the rest of the year. It is very beneficial for the physical and mental wellbeing of the horse. Allowing them to have a ‘mini break’ gives them the opportunity to unwind and come back to work with renewed enthusiasm and vigour.
After four weeks of rest the horses will return to the Farm; they will need to be conditioned back into their working life (a bit like going back to school!), ridden, groomed and have their shoes put back on – before horse riding will resume on the Farm in late October.