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[RC] Limited pasture/horse and hoof health/Paddock Paradise - Kristi Schaaf

Paul wrote:
Horses spent millions of years adapting to life
outside with free movement. Whenever we try to change
them into  a confined indoors animal, we have to deal
with the effects of that confinement. 

It's surprising to me how humans often make things so
much harder than they need to. Is it because people
continue to do what they learned, without really
thinking about the 'why'? Around here, I see so many
people build barns with stalls that require mucking,
maintenance, bedding, lighting, etc, when the horse
would be healthier and happier outside with only a
rudimentary shelter. I've never confined my horses
indoors (they have a lean-to built into a hill for
shelter from wind/driving rain). We're in the upper
midwest where temps get down below zero, and I don't
believe that my horses would ever choose to be bundled
up indoors even then. In fact, I truly think that
they're much happier when it's -20 than when it's 90
and buggy. 

Besides the physical health of constantly moving,
there's of course the mental health aspect. A coworker
is amazed that I can just 'get on and ride' my horses
without lunging them to get the bucks out. She can't
seem to wrap her mind around the idea that because
they're always moving and unconfined 24/7, they feel
no NEED to buck and run like her horse does when he's
set free from his confining box. 

I do envy those of you with acres and acres of land.
I'm very thankful for my 5 acres, but wish it was 50
(of that rough hilly rocky land I mentioned in a
previous post). To relate it to endurance - think how
much natural conditioning that would allow!! Anyway,
that's why I'm so excited about the Paddock Paradise -
it's helping use my 5 acres for maximum movement. The
snow in the fenced track around the perimeter of my
front one acre pasture was completely covered in hoof
prints within three days after getting the snow.
There's not a single spot that's smooth snow - how
many laps did it take three horses to do that? I look
at that trampled snow and am thrilled about all the
movement it must have taken to do it. Think if I had a
track around 10 acres, or 100....ooh...slobbering on
the keyboard now... 


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