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Natural boarding recognizes the fact that horses are herd animals who need the company of other horses 24 hours a day. They need to interact by touching and playing. Through evolution as a herd animal, horses are programmed to know that safety is in numbers. So a solitary horse is often a stressed horse.
Natural boarding methods are based on the study of how horses live in the wild. They are designed to meet the basic physiological needs of the horse and are the foundation of all natural horse care.
Jaime Jackson, who has carried out extensive studies of wild horses has written a book called Paddock Paradise which is a fantastic resource if you are looking to create a natural setup. To find out more about it click here.
Below is a list of the horses' basic natural lifestyle needs. You can get more information about each one by clicking on its text link:
You need to provide your horse with somewhere that he can go to get out of extreme weather conditions. In the winter that means somewhere he can get a break from the wind, rain or snow. In the summer, somewhere he can go to get out of the sun or away from biting insects.
Horses don't tend to like enclosed spaces so free access to a run-in shed or barn with more than one opening is best, especially if you have a number of horses.
Trees and hills can also provide shelter and wind-breaks and some horses will prefer these to man-made structures.
Horses need access to clean water at all times. This is really important in the winter as they can get impaction colic if they are not consuming enough water when eating hay. To encourage them to drink enough you can add extra salt to their meals (either in their bucket or sprinkled on the hay). Many horses prefer water that is slightly warm so a heated waterer is also a good investment in the colder months.
If you need an automatic waterer here is a great review - by Annie at www.ride-the-sunshine-glow.com - of the MiraFount
"the key to having physically and mentally healthier horses"
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