A natural lifestyle and why it’s important to me

So, a little more about this whole natural lifestyle I’m always raving about. Why is it so important to me and so important to the horses? Maybe I’ve just been lucky over the years, but having native ponies, that is, ponies bred in the UK for their hardiness and versatility, it’s just happened naturally. As such, any subsequent horses (even though they will likely have a large proportion, if not all Welsh blood) will surely gravitate towards that lifestyle. Horses, being nomadic creatures, wish to roam vast distances in search of food and water. They require the company and security of their own kind.

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Modern horses often live a life far removed from their not-too distant, wild cousins. Small paddocks for turnout (if any) often pristine and free from ‘weeds’ with just one or two types of grass on the menu. It does frustrate me when I see such pristine lawns. For an animal which is designed to graze for 17 or so hours per day, how dull it must be to have only one or two grasses on which to browse. Nettles? Thistles? Docks? Why they are weeds, unsightly, and must be exterminated! Humans have a perfect, flat, green field which pleases us, but can’t be stimulating for the horses.

We are lucky at our livery yard. In summer there are all manner of ‘weeds’ growing. Nettles around the edges, dandelions dotted about, chamomile by the gate, comfrey down by the river and a few milk thistles every now an then. It is a joy to watch the horses browsing and clearly enjoying the variety.

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Saffron enjoying the nettle & thistle hill (aka the muck heap!)

24/7 turnout is also something I feel quite strongly about. I know a lot of people who do stable their horses at night, and I appreciate they have various reasons for doing do, however personally I would aim for none of mine to be. I realise I have an advantage as such, given that the herd are all natives and better equipped to deal with whatever the British weather throws at them. I just feel that we humans anthropomophise horses too much. Horses are happy to spend their time grazing, wandering about the field, playing etc. and sleep for about 4 hours in 24, not consecutively, but in small ‘cat naps’.

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The girls having a post-breakfast snooze

Do any of you keep your horses naturally? Leave a message in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “A natural lifestyle and why it’s important to me

  1. furrylegs

    Great post 🙂 I also feel strongly that horses should have as much turnout as possible. Unfortunately, we are having to stable our gypsy cob over night as our yard owner is one of these who eliminates every weed, leaving lush, rich grass that is just too much for a greedy little coblet! We are moving her soon and hoping to get her back out full time, we shall see 🙂

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    1. Dragon Dressage Post author

      Thank you! 🙂 It’s so difficult but you have to do what’s best for them with the land you have. We’ve had all sorts of problems in the past with 2 laminitics and having to work with the fields we’ve been given, all sown with 95% ryegrass, evil stuff. All very well for cows but a disaster for horses! My dream is to have my own land with a track system, the bit in the middle turned over to old varieties of grass, absolutely no rye. One day eh? 😀 All the best with your coblet!

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  2. Pingback: Ground level feeding, my lightbulb moment | Dragon Dressage

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