Howdy Friends! Horses will get along, as many of them prove over and over again, with less than ideal conditions and treatment. But that does not mean they are happy, healthy or thriving. In my opinion, we owe it to our horses to provide for them with as natural a lifestyle as we can possibly provide.

Each of us as owners or caregivers have limitations placed on us by such things as economics, lifestyle, jobs, property, riding disciplines and more. Our efforts must be to do the best we can within our own circumstances for the physical and mental health of our horses.

Basically we could sum up a lot of the healthy, happy needs for our horses in one sentence. “No shoes, no stalls, no grain, limited grass and seeing everything from the horse’s point of view.” That’s pretty much my focus. To me, those are the most important things to the secret of a happy, healthy horse.

No shoes no stalls no grain

Shoes, stalls and grain, all are as far from natural to the horse as we can get. Some folks say, ‘so is riding as far from natural as we can get.’ Yup. That’s probably correct. And that is precisely why we must focus relentlessly on our equine husbandry. As I said earlier, it often takes a long time to break a horse down. They are tough – But break down they will. I’ve rehabbed my share of sadness in horse flesh.

Let’s take ‘em one by one

Shoes. The problems with shoes are bountiful. Let’s look at a few. The hoof needs to flex. It can’t in iron. The hoof is the horse’s primary shock absorber. It can’t in iron. The hoof helps pump blood in the legs, tendons and muscles. It can’t in iron. The hoof helps the horse seek balance – This is deadened in iron. There’s a bunch more, but that’s a start.

Stalls. Horses are designed to move. Everything about a horse, God designed for movement. Nothing in the horse functions for health in a stall. Not muscles, posture, feet, ligaments, organs, or brain. Movement is fundamental to a horse. Confinement is detrimental to everything about a horse. Note: Not addressing temporary confinement do to health care – Although that should be a brief as possible.

Grain. This one is truly controversial. And it should not be. God designed horses to forage. Not eat a bowl of oatmeal. Digestion in a horse functions at its peak on an all forage diet. Preferably long stemmed, coarse, low sugar forage. I always try to buy first cutting coarse, past bloom, hay.

Full time grassy grazing is not in the horse’s best interest either. Horses hail from arid, sparse regions. Lush green pastures are not in a horse’s best interest. Not only is it unhealthy, but it is detrimental to their posture. Better is a track system, which everyone can create with not much effort.

The horse’s point of view

If we have a paradigm shift, to examine everything from the horse’s point of view. Rather than our wants, desires, and ease, it becomes routine to examine how, and why, we do things. Therefore that little attention shift, can shine the focus on all our husbandry. And aid us in our applications.

Do we shoe because all our friends do? Because we don’t know or understand everything involved in keeping a barefoot horse? Because we just know horses need shoes to ride where I live?

Do we stall because we board and turn out is rotated? Do we stall because we don’t do much with our horse?

Do we feed grain because “We can’t keep weight on our horse?” Because we always did. Because the feed company wouldn’t sell it if it wasn’t good for them?


So, there ya have it. Just a few more things to ponder, in your spare time. ~ Gitty up, Dutch.

If you enjoyed this little chat, you’ll love my book IT’S FOR THE HORSES. I promise.


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