Lordington Park Agronomy is helping Lavant Equestrian improve its soil structure and create better quality grasses for its horses.
Lavant Equestrian is a premier horse-riding centre offering horse riding lessons for children and adults. Set in the beautiful rural environment of the South Downs National Park, it has 80 acres of well-draining pastureland including a sub-soil of gravel with a thin layer of topsoil. This enables 50 horses to live out 24/7 in small herds in large fields throughout the year.
Lavant has always invested considerable time and money into caring for the land but turned to Lordington Park Agronomy to learn how it could improve the soil structure to create better quality grasses suitable for horses who work in a riding school.
It had also started keeping six (now 4 old horses too!) of its older ponies of more than 25 years old loose on the site as it could see how additional movement and selective grazing improved their soundness and relieved age-related pains.
However, Lavant Equestiran wanted to learn if there was anything extra that LPA could provide for this particular group that would help provide greater longevity, especially when appetites wane with age.
How we are working with Levant Equestrian
Jonathan visited Lavant Equestrian to meet managing director Lucy Thomson, along with her daughter Amelia (Mills) Ayling and to conduct a full Albrecht soil analysis.
This provided information on the mineral content and nutritional status of the soil, as well as the soil type and grass species.
By matching the nutritional content of the soil to the end use, they were able to ensure that the grasslands could provide enough food for the horses throughout the year and sustain the horse pressure throughout the year.
The environment had been compacted due to the dry weather and wet winters, which had affected the soil function and the grass species.
To increase microbial activity and release adequate levels of nutrition, humates were added to break down into organic matter that would feed and generate soil microbes.
Calcium and magnesium were also applied to the fields to improve the soil form and function.
Appropriate grass species will also be reintroduced to the paddocks to create a self-sustaining environment that is suitable for the horses.
Lavant Equestrian appreciated that the rationale behind all of the decisions explained to them and made for the benefit of the horses, as opposed to the complex artificial fertiliser mixture it was previously advised.
The aim is to help soils evolve, rather than forcing them to conform, as artificial fertiliser does, which is a very short-term measure.
The feedback so far…
“Amelia and I found this whole process fascinating, despite faltering over some of the science involved, which hopefully we will become more familiar with over time.
“You supplied us with exactly what we wanted and as a result have great faith your skill and experience will transform our pasture into something so much healthier and suitable for our horses as their primary food source.”
Lucy Thomson, Managing Director, Lavant Equestrian LLP