INTRODUCTION to the natural horse.
The word Natural is so often misused and over used in our society that some of the true meaning has been lost. The dictionary says:
'Natural: is in accordance to what is found in nature; produced or existing in nature; not artificial or manufactured; in a state provided by nature; wild; uncultivated; free from affectation or artificiality; not altered, treated, or disguised; present by virtue of nature; innate; having certain qualities, abilities; innately felt to be right; based on an instinctive moral feeling.'
So what is a NATURAL horse?
There are many connotations associated with the word ‘natural’.
Some people think ‘wild’ (I can’t have my horse wild … I want to ride him!)
Others think of leaving him to ‘fend for himself’ outside and in the weather (Oh no, that's cruel isn't it?)
And yet others think of simple 'pasture or paddock board' without attention given to the land.
This is not what I mean when I say the natural horse, so I now use the phrase enhanced natural horse.
To me the horse has and always will be a mystical creature. I liken them to ‘land dolphins’. Smarter than given credit for and able to communicate with it’s own kind (and others) through the energy field with noises, energy and intention.
Humans can learn to tap into that energy field and connect to their horses' very souls ... and it starts when you learn to really look into their eyes. What magical wonder and ancient wisdom is seen there.
The natural horse is a whole entity … the core and sum of many portions. In order to start to decipher what is a Natural Horse, we have to explore the various circumstances which credit the horses physiology and well-being.
What is a horse?
Consider the horse in zoological evolutionary terms for a moment.
The horse is a nomadic prey animal found in family herds. Highly adaptable and able to forage off a variety of plants, mosses and grasses, as well as adjust different climates all around the world. As a primal defense mechanism, they have an innate ability to instantly react (fight) with explosive vigor to a threat, but often choose instead to run away from it (flight). The horse is likely to outrun and out distance any predator. I remember seeing a TV special of men trying to round up wild mustangs and their mounts could not keep up with the pace or cover distances of the wild horses. They abandoned their horses for a helicopter!
Horses are grazers-foragers and wanderers. They have a very small stomach which is ‘on duty’ digesting all the time. Massive amounts of digestive juices (acids) are being constantly produced because horses are designed to be eating/grazing/foraging for up to 18 hours a day! That leaves only 6 hours of not eating and that is not all at once.
Can you guess why are ulcers so prevalent in today's horses? Because they are fed meals rather than free-choice forage.
The horse does not have the day-night rhythm we humans do. They need to sleep about 2 to 3 hours per day as opposed to our recommended 8 and the horse doesn't need that sleep in consecutive hours or at night.
The horse is a highly social animal that can form intense friendship bonds. This is something humans seek … a friendship bond with their horse.
Isolation and confinement stresses horses. That stress is shown in behavioral outbursts or on a physiological level manifesting in stress placed on the heart and internal organs. How much stress the horse can handle depends on different factors such as age, temperament and habituation, but ALL horses in confinement suffer some degree of elevated stress levels. Horses thrive at liberty and in the company of other horses.
Lets break this down. Living ‘naturally’ entails all of the following …
✔️ Living outside 24/7 in all seasons on supportive ground.
✔️ Living in a herd setting, maintaining an interest in their environment, and having a dynamic living space.
✔️ Grazing /Foraging or at the very least mimicking the grazing /foraging action.
✔️ Freedom from continual human mandate.
✔️ Iron FREE with a supportive barefoot trim.
To truly comprehend the Natural Horse we need to explore each ✔️ a little deeper. More coming in following Blog posts.
Part 2 we delve deeper into each ✔️
To learn ALL the secrets to a healthy functional natural based horse you need to go BEYOND BAREFOOT
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