Plan ahead to give your paddocks the best chance of surviving the winter with as little damage as possible — although, of course, this depends on their soil type. While the weather is still mild, remove weeds before they seed, check drains and ditches are clear of debris and carry out any necessary fencing or water supply maintenance. Also check every day for signs of sycamore seeds or acorns — they are poisonous to horses and abundant at this time of year. As the winds blow, they can easily drop onto the grazing, so fence them off if you can (read about atypical myopathy on p70). Also consider: Resting an area of pasture to save it for spring. Putting drainage in the most-used areas of the field. Using a thick layer of straw to provide a dry area for eating hay, lying down and so on. Creating an all-weather turnout area using woodchip or shredded rubber. This is particularly useful for horses who have arthritis or are prone to mud fever.