Since 2005 all of our horses have been living outdoors in a pasture with a shelter, 24 hours a day, all year round. They live all together in a single herd, the big and the small, the young and the old and the mares and the geldings. Good quality roughage is always accessible for them without time limitations. We have chosen this way of "housing" them because we see the number of benefits that it brings to their lives.
What benefits do we see with our choice of keeping horses compared to the traditional way of keeping horses stabled?
Horses become healthier
• They have less respiratory issues that many horses get from badly ventilated stables (dusty shavings, hay, straw, ammonia, etc.)
• They have a smaller chance of catching infections
• They do not get swollen legs because of being stagnant
• They do not get behavioral disorders such as crib-biting, weaving, stall walking, head shaking etc.
• They do not get stall-related injuries from rolling, getting stuck in stable structures, slipping on concrete floors etc.
• They have a smaller chance to get colic
Horses socialize in a herd
• They can scratch, clean and help to repel flies with each other
• They can play
• They can relax and rest
• They can just be with their best friends.
Horses can behave the way as nature intended
• They can roll
• They can search for food
• They can socialize
• They can stand, walk, run, rest, etc. whenever they want
• They do not stand at the gate waiting to be taken to the stable to eat
They become stronger with better muscles - and better hooves
• It is natural for a horse to walk long distances every day. Horses have a better chance for that in large natural pastures.
• It strengthens bones, tendons, and ligaments, which is important for all horses, but perhaps most important for the young growing horse
• The horses' hoof quality becomes better, especially if they go barefoot - which in turn has a positive impact on the horse’s overall wellbeing
The horses become safer to handle
• It is safer to go into a pasture where horses live 24/7, all year round, to pick up a horse –than to a paddock where horses stay only for a relatively short period of time per day
• They want to come and join - they do not try to get away from people
• They move as much as they like –and have no repressed needs for movement
• They are always in their herd in their "free time" - and feel secure in it
People get more time to socialize with the horses
• When you muck out, you are together with the horses
• You also do not muck as many hours a day as in the stable
• It is also better for your health to muck outdoors than indoors (dust & ammonia)
The horses feel better about free access to food
• They will be not so fixed on food
• They eat/graze whenever they want
• They get the most they need and therefore they get little or no industrial feed/supplements
• Their gastrointestinal tract does well
• They do not need any blankets (at least not the healthy ones, and not all of the old ones because the majority of the heat of a horse comes from within, warming themselves as they eat)