SEVEN INGREDIENTS FORM THE NATURAL HORSE HABITAT™:
Horses Travel: THE TRAIL SYSTEM
In the wild, horses travel many miles, depending on the size of their home range, forage, and water availability. Stabling horses means we take away their natural need to move. To cope with the stress of being cooped up, many develop damaging behaviors such as windsucking, weaving, and wood chewing.
My Natural Horse Habitat™ includes a Trail System that weaves around what I call Play Pastures, and provides over a quarter mile of trails on 2.24 acres. Not only can my horses use the trail system, I can also play On Line, at Liberty, and under saddle on the trails, AND I can exercise myself by walking and running the trails without having to leave my own property.
Horses Don’t Work, They Play: PLAY PASTURES
In the wild, horses eat while moving, and they play to engage socially. So what could be better than having multi-purpose areas that I call Play Pastures?
While these Play Pastures serve partially as an additional food source, with proper planning, we can also use them to play with our horses On Line, at Liberty, and under saddle.
Fun and safe obstacles help us to keep things interesting; we are building confidence, as well as raising our level of trust and connection as a team.
Use your imagination and design multi-purpose areas on your Natural Horse Habitat™: Play Pastures, a holistic approach to horse training!
Horses Don’t Live in Caves: HABITAT SHELTERS
In the wild, horses live on the wide-open plains. They only seek shelter from inclement weather and insect infestations, and always keep a watchful eye on their surroundings. If they can't find shelter, they will simply "stick their butts into the wind" and wait it out!
We humans build barns with our horses' comfort in mind, or so we think. In general, barns and even run-in sheds barely meet the horse’s requirements. To address our horses' level of comfort, the Natural Horse Habitat™ offers horse-friendly shelters. Around the HABITAT SHELTERS, horses will seek shade, windbreak, and refuge from insects while being able to observe their surroundings.
Horses Eat All the Time: NATURAL FEEDING
In the wild, horses spend about 75% of their day eating. They not only graze, but also browse on bushes, trees, lichen, herbs, and more. They are not stationary; they travel as they eat, keeping their relatively small digestive tract moving all the time.
However, many horses are only fed twice a day with concentrated feeds and industrially harvested hay, lacking the roughage, nutrients, foliage, flowers, and seed heads that they would find in the wild. The unnatural, concentrated feeds add to the unhealthy effects of such an imbalanced diet.
Being fed only twice a day, they spend as little as 15% of their day eating...it’s not colic insurance that will make the difference! It’s feeding our horses the way they are supposed to be fed: Aligned with their physical, mental, and emotional needs!
The Never-Ending Story: MANURE SOLUTIONS
If left unattended, large, concentrated quantities of manure can be a hazard for our environment.
Many communities now have strict rules on how to handle animal waste. Instead of allowing this precious, free resource to turn into a hazard, let’s turn it into black gold instead!
There are many different ways to deal with our horses' manure: we can workout and be our own manual manure spreader; we can collect it and make piles, allowing it to passively compost; or we can choose active compost methods such as Vermiculture, composting with worms.
When we properly manage manure and use it, we are closing the natural cycle by enriching the soil of our pastures and landscaping on our Natural Horse Habitat™.
Planning with Nature: ECO-LOGICAL LANDSCAPING
In the wild, horses roam many square miles. We horse lovers usually cannot provide the amount of acreage needed to sustain horses AND keep nature in balance. Horses have the ability to turn lush pastures into desert wasteland if we allow them to do so.
Incorporating Eco-Logical Landscaping, Architecture, and Systems will help us to preserve and increase property values while making NATURE a valuable part of the Natural Horse Habitat™.
Providing windbreaks with local shrubs and trees that will also feed wildlife; planting seasonal flowers for color and texture; and incorporating healthy pasture and manure management to enrich the soil while protecting our precious natural resources is all part of planning YOUR NATURAL HORSE HABITAT.
For Horses and Humans: NATURAL CARE
Caring for ourselves and our horses naturally is simply both a logical and heart-based extension of Natural Horse Habitat™.
To develop a relationship that is based on heartfelt connection and communication, it is vital to balance our own body as well as our horse's body, mind, and emotions as a foundation.
In times where environmental challenges and health concerns are mounting, each of us can make a difference by adopting natural care and wellness practices for our horses and ourselves.
Learn how to use natural approaches such as personal self-development, movement education, aroma therapy oils, flower essences, homeopathy, herbs, and red-light therapy. You can implement these modalities on your own to be your best for yourself, your horse, and others: modalities that will set you and your horse up for success, so you both can do what you are asking for, willingly and with enthusiasm!