CHRISTIAN Williams’ Scottish Grand National champions reap the benefits of their surroundings at the Ogmore-By-Sea farm in Wales. Managing the 200 acres of grazing isn’t easy and has become a real family effort.

Christian is a big advocate for keeping the horses in training out at grass 24/7. Fortunately, according to his father Robert, the farm has quick-drying, sandy ground which although still causes problems in the wet months, makes a helpful difference.

Father and son engage a paddock rotation strategy, resting alternate fields, with spring pasture maintenance beginning in early March.

“We over-sow poached areas in spring after rolling with a heavy roller chain harrow.” Robert says. “We sow and roll again with perennial ryegrass to create a thick sward, and we add timothy fescue and meadow grass with creeping red fescue but no clovers. We fertilise heavily in March, May and July for the second flush – unfortunately though, this means we miss early grass.”

According to Christian, managing the pasture is easier in winter, but from spring onwards can be much more work.

Robert adds: “Chain-harrowing to spread the droppings and picking up in smaller areas helps, as does regularly rolling to help keep the moisture in the ground. Believe it or not, in this part of Wales we suffer from a shortage of rainfall from May to September. I would like to see rain every day with a little less in winter. I like to subsidise grass with haylage in summer and haylage with grass in winter.”