A habitat as natural as possible for our horses
In 2019 we bought the parcel next to our horse farm. It was my intention to transform it into a Paddock Paradise for my horses. I bought the book and I was really sold to the idea.
What exactly is a paddock paradise?
A paddock paradise is a way of building your pasture to encourage your horses to move. The idea is to recreate the lifestyle of wild and free-roaming horses and to mimic an environment that more closely resembles the natural habitat of horses. It facilitates health and soundness for the horses, both physical and mental. It helps with many health issues in horses, such as: laminitis, colic, ... and it stimulates hoof growth and strength.
Wild and free-roaming horses follow certain tracks and travel long distances by doing so. If you look closely at your own pastures, you will probably see that your horses do this too, albeit in a smaller area. A track encourages this walking by putting feed and drinking stations along the way. It is also "endless" because it is a loop. A good track will also have different, unavoidable, footings along the way.
Read more about it here.
My alternative to the paddock paradise
Unfortunately, I didn't have the budget to accomplish this dream. So I did something a bit different.
We put in a fence on the parcel that made a pasture of about an acre. We left the terrain very natural. Meaning that I did only minimal clean up. Part of the pasture was grassy pasture, part of it was slightly wooded.
I left the dead trees down, unless they were a hazard. The ground in the pasture part was very uneven, which is perfect for horses to learn proprioception again. They have to be aware again of where they put their feet and how to stay balanced. In another part, there were all kinds of small dead branches and twigs, but they were more like mulch and not too hard to walk on. So again, different footing.
And not because I am biased, but my horses were the happiest in this pasture as I have ever seen them. The wandered through the brush, They used the trees as scratching poles, they grazed in the pasture, they dozed off under the big maple tree.
In my other, absolutely conventional, pastures, they stood in their shed all day, bored as hell.
In this new one, they moved all day! SO, even if it was not a Paradise Track, it still managed to get them moving 👍🏼
Here is Udo, enjoying a nice summer evening 😍