HOLISTIC HORSECARE & MANAGEMENT
What do we mean by Holistic Horsecare and Management?
We follow the following basic guidelines when keeping and training our horses, and we wish to share them with you.
Barefoot; Day to Day Management; Diet; Boundaries for Security; Move the Feet; Ask a Little and Reward the Try; Become your Horses' Herd Leader to take away their Stress; 'Drip Training'; establish Trust and Respect
So... why barefoot?
There are many reasons why people choose to ride barefoot and we will try to outline the thinking behind this:
The horse is allowed to FEEL the ground through his feet - he chooses the path; he becomes a specialist in surfaces; he can move freely and naturally.
The hoof can grow naturally - what is the correct shape for your horses' hoof? Only he knows.
We currently have 12 horses in our yard, all of which are barefoot. Their soles are hard and thick, they seldom get thrush as there is no soft tissue on the sole, the frogs are firm, the heels are firm and well developed, the digital cushion is well protected by the frog and sole, and the hoof is allowed to grow at the angle that is best for the horse. The collateral grooves are deep and well formed, and the horses all move well on all surfaces.
When out on their rides our horses choose the path they would like to take (as we would when climbing the hills), they love their canters and gallops, and their feet are good rock-crunching hooves!
We strongly believe in the concept of natural medicine, used successfully over thousands of years around the world, and try very hard to give our horses the opportunity to hear themselves through this approach. We wish to share some of our experiences with you.
On this page we are sharing our experiences, this is our journey into a more connected and natural approach ..... Enjoy your journey..... it may carry you further than you ever expected!
Always consult your vet if your horse is sick or in urgent need of medical attention.
What is Zoopharmacognosy? And What is Socio-cognitive Learning?
Zoopharmacognosy is a behaviour in which non-human animals apparently self-medicate by selecting and ingesting or topically applying plants, soils, insects, and psychoactive drugs to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of pathogens and toxins. An example of zoopharmacognosy occurs when dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. However, the behaviour is more diverse than this. Animals ingest or apply non-foods such as clay, charcoal and even toxic plants and invertebrates, apparently to prevent parasitic infestation or poisoning. (Wikipedia)
In our yard we are learning about the benefits of herbs (plants and 'weeds'), dried herbs, trees and shrubs and essential oils to help resolve any minor problems that our horses (or birds) may be feeling or suffering from. We aim to give them the choice of essential oils or herbs that they feel that they require and sometimes the effects are quite profound. However this is not intended as a replacement for allopathic medicine.
And Socio-cognitive Learning?
In this topic whenever we are with our horses both in-hand or ridden, we wish to allow and to share the exploration process, the questioning process, and the discovery process. If our horse is nervous next to a hedge or a new gate, we allow him to wait, to smell, to listen and to discover where the safety is.... and we can help him here by sharing that discovery process, and by helping him feel safe and secure. We do not shout, or hit, or pull or push, but simply wait, and allow - eventually, between the two of us, things will settle down and the world will be safe again. So when our horse wishes to eat a certain herb or plant, or 'weed', or smell a log, or drink from a muddy puddle, even though we may think it looks old, or stale, or dirty, they probably have their own reasons for being interested or cautious - remember their hearing, sense of smell, eyesight, and their 'hidden sixth sense' are very different to ours, but their emotions are very similar!
When we go on our foraging walks with the horses we are combining the two principles in our training methods! It's fine! Give it a go! Sometimes our little goat tags along too ;-)
THIS PAGE IS STILL 'WORK IN PROGRESS'. Please return in a few days!!
Poisonous water hemlock - Conium maculatum
Cow Parsley - Anthriscus sylvestris