Horses are categorised as Migratory Animals, aka animals that travel large distances throughout the year. In the case of the horse, it followed the grasses across the continent they lived. We can still see this with Wildebeest and Zebras in Serengeti, Tanzania. This is different from today’s feral horse, which is only allowed to live in somewhat restricted areas.
One of the great advantages of herdlife is that it’s directly linked with movement. Often what can be observed, one horse starts to move, the others join in. Transfer this to a track system, the lead horse moves off to the water trough, the others follow.
Horses with sufficient psychological stimulation will be calmer, more level-headed and less likely to spook or bolt since they are aware and comfortable with their environment and have trust in the human.
Constant exposure to natural climate in the form of all-year round constant outdoors living in a paddock with open shelter. This allows for proper stimulation of the horse’s thermo-regulatory system so the horses can cope with any weather conditions. A return to the natural environment improves the horse’s immune system making it better suited to resist disease.
No Blankets, Leg Wraps, Bandages or Other Clothing or Protective Wear as these are usually more detrimental than beneficial to the horse’s health.
Freedom of Movement
Constant Natural Movement as in 24 hours per day freedom of movement and a reason to move in the form of other horses for playing etc. Horses with sufficient natural movement will have better muscle tone and are less likely to take off the minute they are under saddle or out of their ‘cages’.
Resting Places in the Open that provide sufficient shelter from the sun or winter rain but where there is a free flow of air and accumulations of ammonia or carbon dioxide cannot build up.
Nutritional Variety and Constant Food Uptake
For the horse’s digestive system to function correctly it is important that the horse is able to feed continuously (24/7) via pasture, hay and branches. Natural boarding will normalise weight, allowing for gradual seasonal weight changes and ensure adequate nutritional variety.
Natural Body Posture is with the head down so all feed must be given at ground level. This reduces the risk of respiratory infections and diseases from dust particles etc being embedded in the mucus membranes and encourages proper weight distribution on the back and hooves.
Exposure of Hooves to Water
Daily Exposure of Hooves to Water is important to ensure that the high water content of the hooves is maintained. This can be done through soaking the hooves in water (a natural water hole, bucket or purpose built hoof bath) past the coronet band for 10-15 minutes per day. We use the state of the periople horn as a guide – ideally it swells up once per day.
Grease or oil based hoof conditioners are not needed as hoof moisture can be maintained through daily exposure to water.