Horses bring us so much joy, why not give them what they deserve as well? Considering they are herd animals, horses need to be surrounded by other horses in order to keep them both mentally and physically healthy. The behaviour and changes observed amongst horses living in a herd are unbelievable when compared to stabled horses, and the health benefits are also incredible. This is why you should consider finding a space suitable for your horse’s happiness.
Here are some of the benefits of letting your horse live the herd life:
- Digestive Health
Movement increases the functioning of the gut system. Standing still in a stable just after having eaten a meal is not healthy, therefore horses kept in larger living spaces are known to have a much lower risk of colic and ulcers than stabled horses.
- Leg Health
It is in a horse’s DNA to roam freely. Living in open spaces will help prevent stiff joints and the onsets of arthritis, whereas living in a stable is not good for joints no matter how many shavings are put in, they need to move around naturally.
- Hoof Health
Exercise encourages increased circulation to the hooves, and also promotes healthy hoof growth. If your horse is confined to a damp environment such as a soiled box stall, they will be more prone to getting thrush and other hoof diseases, even if the stall is regularly cleaned.
- Mental Health
Stabled horses often become bored and can develop bad habits because of this such as weaving, pawing, pacing, wood chewing and windsucking. In order to prevent this, the horse is given a toy to play with or a device is put on them to stop the behaviour, only making the horses even more frustrated.
If your horse is highly-strung, turnout time is the best medicine, but people immediately go for calming supplements or feed before considering letting the horse live in a bigger space. Giving your horse the freedom to move and exercise freely will ensure that you have a calmer, quieter and happy horse. Horses will not need to be lunged before riding, they simply need some turnout time to get that energy out naturally!
Horses are herd animals that thrive and feel secure when they are with a herd, even if it’s a small one. They depend on each other for protection, so keeping them in isolation makes the horse highly anxious. Your horse may not be able to be turned out 24/7, depending on the lifestyle that they require and the resources available.
All in all, herd horses are far more relaxed, happier and healthier naturally than any other horse!