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Enrichment and the Equine Food Spectrum

The art of keeping (healthy) horses + Wild Herbs or Horses Sheet

Keeping horses on a well designed and managed track system or other form of movement oriented housing is the first step to make their life happier and healthier. The form of housing in the basis. But we can’t stop here.

Enrichment has been a new upcoming trend in animal keeping, from zoos, to our pets, to cattle and farm animals and of course horses. It describes the way we can make the lives of wild and domesticated animals in our care richer and allow them to fulfil their natural needs like foraging, seeking and playing.

But enrichment is much more than just keeping an animal busy for a while. The greater goal is a more balanced and happy animal by giving them back their power to interact and alter their environment without being micromanaged or controlled by us. This ultimately leads to a more balanced nervous system, positive emotions, reduced stress and therefore a more healthy animal.

Enough reasons to integrate enrichment into horse keeping and management.

Let’s look at it from a holistic point of view and how we can set up a management that makes horses healthy and happy.

Topics that are included in horse keeping and management are foremost:

- Housing

Space and set up where and how the horses spend their day and night,

the ability to move,

interact with other horses

as well as rest and sleep.

- Food

What we feed and how we feed,

the time spent eating and foraging.

Appropriate feed and

timing of feeding also in a social setting.

A lot of the activities we can offer our horses outside of their training and time spent with us, does include food as the main motivator. And that makes perfectly sense, since horses have evolved as foraging animals 60 millions years ago (way before humans roamed the earth) and that hasn't changed much. Animals in general have their main driver in acquiring food. We can not compare our complex structures of living as humans in this artificial world, where we do not have to care about gathering and hunting anymore and can worry about taxes and bills most of the day, to the more simple life of an animal.

Acquiring food is the biggest driver for them and that we have to consider - no matter how you personally think about it.

Listen to the episode to find out more!

Get your Wild Herbs for Horses Sheet here!

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