Winter Garden

It’s been a very busy winter for us here at The Smallest Smallholding – big life milestones have been reached, we’ve been drowning under a tonne of admin and paperwork, and I’ve been as busy with ever with a very energetic 18 month old keeping me on my toes. For our extended family, there has been bigger news, as we now have a large piece of land in the family as my father pursues a lifelong dream, working the land and looking after horses.

I remember growing up, my Dad always said he wanted some land and some donkeys to look after. These days, for him, it’s all about caring for horses. Now that the little slice of land has been purchased, I feel a sense of relief that for my Dad, there’s an enjoyable working life beyond the daily grind. I think in a lot of ways I’m like my Dad – I always need a project to get my teeth into and to just be busy, and there’s somehow much more satisfaction and contentment from working outside, in nature.

I’ve never really had much experience with horses, other than a few riding lessons when I was younger. But I’m really keen for my daughter to have as much exposure to animals and caring for animals as possible. And it’s lovely that she’ll be able to visit Grandpa’s stables nearby, and get to know just how majestic horses are, up close.

We were thinking of getting a present to celebrate this new milestone for Dad… maybe something useful for the land or the horses. As I know next to nothing about horse husbandry I thought maybe we could gift a sack of feed for them – it’s practical, and the horses will enjoy it too! I’ve read some reviews online and Spillers Feed have a huge range and generally favourable reviews… so there will be something suitable that we can get, I’m sure.

The first residents are already in the new stables – a Shire horse and a couple of other horses. From some preliminary research, I think some high fibre feed for the shire horse might be in order. Either that, or a Spillers Feed conditioning food could be useful over the last of this winter period when grazing can be a challenge. I’m not going to leave it to chance and hope that I’ve got the right feed… I’ll ask Dad to look at the Spillers Feeds range and choose for himself. Like people, horses have individual nutritional needs, so there’s no one size fits all approach to feeding, especially when you’re considering smaller, leaner horses vs a very tall, strong and muscular shire horse!

The land is a bit rough around the edges and needs a fair amount of work, but has been used as equestrian land and for grazing for a long time. I think the plan is to build even more new stables and improve access to the fields, as well as making it look much prettier! The other benefit for us is that we’ll have plentiful access to horse manure for the veg plots and flower borders here at home… and to know that the horses that “produce” the manure are being so well cared for makes it a little bit more satisfying!

Post written in collaboration with Spillers Feed


  1. Tania (FRUGAL IN ESSEX) says

    Well rotted horse manure is like gold dust.

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