What's happening

08 September 2016

What is a mineral lick?

If you’ve visited a Redwings Visitor Centre you might have noticed that there is something in the horses’ paddocks that looks a little like a brick. It is in fact a specially made mineral lick that contains some of the nutrients that horses need to stay healthy. It’s like a horsey lollipop full of mineral goodness!
The minerals horses need include calcium, sodium, iron, magnesium, plus many more. Although they don’t need very much of each mineral, if they don’t get enough they could become poorly.
Most of the minerals that horses need can be found in their natural diet – grass! As grass grows it draws all the mineral goodness up from the soil and horses can live quite happily without needing anything other than grass.
But in some areas the soil can be low in certain minerals affecting the mineral content of the grass, and in hot weather horses produce more sweat, which means they may lose some of these important minerals too; therefore, mineral licks act as a ‘top-up’ on the minerals the horses get from the grass. So mineral licks are another way we keep our horses happy and healthy at Redwings and as you can see from our photo, a lot of our residents love them!


02 September 2016

Why do some horses wear rugs in summer?

If you’ve visited one of our centres recently, you may have noticed that even though the sun is shining some of our residents are still wearing a rug!
That’s because some rugs are designed to serve a particular purpose in the summer months, but all are made from lightweight and breathable material, so the horses stay comfortable and don’t overheat.
Some rugs are known as fly-rugs and as the name suggests they give relief to horses that are particularly bothered by flies, and stop them from getting bitten too.
Other rugs protect from a painful skin condition called sweet-itch, which is caused by an allergic reaction to midge bites. In the UK, midges are mostly present during the spring and summer months, hence why some of our residents can be seen sporting their rugs even in the warmer weather. Sweet itch rugs are simple yet effective; they cover the horse’s skin, stopping the midges from biting and therefore prevent the painful allergic reaction.
Some of our horses, like lovely Amigo, need to wear a rug in the summer to protect from the sun’s UV rays. When Amigo was rescued, he was suffering from liver disease which in turn made his skin oversensitive to sunlight. On bright days, Amigo now wears his sun proof rug to keep him comfortable and protected.
So there you have it, our horses wear rugs for all sorts of reasons, whatever the weather!