We can’t always choose to keep our horses the way we would like, but there are some simple improvements you can make to make life nicer for your horse.
Horses are herd animals and for them belonging to a group means safety, companionship, play, grooming, mates and more. So being among other horses is a must for them. We humans are herd animals, too. If we want to punish someone we lock them up and if we want to punish a person severely we put them into solitary. Maybe horses experience the same feelings if they are being locked up alone in a stall. See if you can make a change to let your horse spent more time amongst his own species. Look for a boarding facility where they provide group housing.
Horses are animals that by nature are used to move around a lot. They need to be in excellent condition all the time to keep them healthy and escape possible predators. Playmates can help give your horse exercise. Make sure your horse has enough space to run.
A long, rectangular pasture or paddock where they can really gallop will entice them more into exercise than the same acreage in the shape of a square. In order to encourage your horse to move as much as possible you can put the water on one end of the pasture/paddock and hay on the opposite end.
Search the net for [click here ->] paddock paradise tips. Trail rides are also a good way of exercising your horse.
If your horse spends time alone in his stall, you can provide an acrylic (unbreakable) mirror. A mirror is never a substitute for a real horse, but sometimes they spend lot of hours in a stall and then it can help your horse feel safer. It is proven that mirrors can decrease vices as head nodding and weaving behaviour. [click here ->] if you want to read more about mirrors.
Horses in the wild eat for approximately 16 hours a day. They make stomach acid all the time, whereas a human stomach only excretes acid when we are eating. In order to prevent ulcers and boredom make sure your horse spends as many hours eating as possible. Their bodies are developed to eat low nutritious grasses, so provide more hay that’s less nutritious. A hay- or a slowfeeder net can help slow your horse down so he can spend more time eating. As a bonus it also prevents your horse from peeing or defecating in their hay.
Give your horse not only physical exercise but give him enough mental challenges too. Let him figure things out, start trick training, horse agility or other mental gymnastics to make his brain work too. Have fun and be fun. It will improve your relationship with your horse. The more he is allowed to think, the smarter he will become.
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
Do you want to work with me or do you want to sign up for the next online course ‘Set Your Equestrian Goals & Achieve them‘, please visit my website. I am here to help you and your horse to become the best team you can be.