Just that really, about to a small LR pony on a section of field that has been empty since it was cut for hay last year - should i top it - goodness I'm thinking she's probably going to be knee-deep in grass.
Depends on size of field but we do top our fields and then strip graze them. The trouble is that you have to avoid them eating the cut grass so let it die off before giving access. Topping is good for the field and the pony will appreciate it because they much prefer shorter grass to long. Of course it may mean you can't cut for hay though..
Have you access to some sheep to take the worst of it off before you let the pony on? I have strimmed and raked extra long grass before now - tedious but worth it. Lovely long grass already and the grass finally beginning to grow will quite possibly lead to laminitis.....
Would love some sheep on our fields but hard to come by. Most of the farmers near us - including our hay supplier - put sheep on but there is more available land than sheep at the moment. They also want bigger acreage than we can offer and they require sheep proof fencing which they provide but they are picky about where they go.
hhmm - thank-you for the replies, it's so hard to know what to do -if I'm going to top it i want to be certain its the right thing to do - it's old grass, never been fertilised, we do have sheep proof fencing so could try the local farmer - currently i have the pony in a small taped off section - but I'm not even sure if that's to big or small a section, she's a young Welsh A and currently out 24/7 , my neighbour has told me she's at high risk of lami and colic because of her size and having to much grass available.
We're lucky in that there are lots of people with sheep here - where I used to live there was a chap who had no land at all of his own but just moved his flock of sheep from one horsey patch to another - he had about 10 customers and was much in demand.
Have you thought about muzzling her Essex? I've done it for the first time with my little Welshie - he's out at night on a big 3.5 acre field with it on and then in a yard with hay during the day. I always feel they're a bit short of space to run about when you're restricting grazing, my Welshie started chewing the fenceposts from the bottom up so they looked like a beaver had been at them which is why I've put a muzzle on. It's a Shires pony one with fleece round the nose and so far is working ok although he loathes it.
I would start restricting now though rather than waiting before she looks fat, it's much easier than getting the weight off once it's on.