As the seasons change and our mares continue to eagerly graze, we were busy this week moving our beloved mares to a fresh pasture.
You can see from the picture below that we’re committed to maintaining the nettles in the pasture. Contrary to conventional pasture management, we’re deliberately leaving the nettles untouched, allowing them to grow tall and wild.
The reason for this is not just to provide a natural haven for our horses, but also to create a thriving ecosystem that benefits local wildlife, including butterflies and birds of prey. Nettles, often regarded as a nuisance by many, serve as a critical habitat for a variety of wildlife. Butterflies, in particular, rely on nettles as a host plant for their larvae. Species like the Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, and Peacock butterflies lay their eggs on nettles, which then become a vital food source for their caterpillars.
By leaving the nettles untouched, we’re essentially laying out a buffet for these magnificent insects, contributing to their survival and the overall health of our local butterfly populations. Additionally, the tall, dense nettles provide shelter and refuge for a range of birds of prey, offering them vantage points to hunt and thrive in our pasture. This harmonious coexistence between our mares and the local wildlife reminds us of the profound interconnectedness of all living beings and our role in nurturing the natural world.