Animal well being
The physical and emotional state of a horse
Animal well being is a very important item for us. Our horse work very hard on the long distances and in a warm climate. Also considering that a horse was never build to carry the extra weight of a rider.
We believe we must do everything we can within our reach of working with horses to make them feel as good as possible.
A happy horse makes a happy ridder!
But what is it that make a horse feel well? It be surprising to some of you that a luxury ‘golden’ stable is not the ideal for a horse.
We need to look into the being of the horse and understand what is important for him to feel good.
Horses evolved as group animals grazing on wide open plains. Eating grass all day, making them move constantly to reach water and new grass lands. They are group animals which gave them safety in numbers against the predator’s. They are living in a hierarchy and are highly social animals. They are also pray animal always aware of their surrounding and ready to flee.
Closing these animals up in a box of 3 by 3, with no physical contact with other horses and feeding them a few times a day, is a reality for many horses today. But it could be no further away from the natural world of the horse.
At Odysseia Stables we try to create a place were we fulfill the needs of the horses and as a result we have a very happy stable group of horses that are cool in their minds. As fulfilling their natural needs reduces their stress levels.
Our horses spent a lot of their time turned out in the field.
The natural stables
For us riders a stable is very handy in working with horses as we can feed each horse individually and we do not have to catch them in a field first and ride after clean them from the mud. At Odysseia we created stables that comes as close as possible to the physical and emotional needs of the horses and gives us the benefits of stabling horses. A compromise in the middle.
Every stable has 2 doors. One in the front and one in the back giving access to the turnout paddocks. Horses can walk around, making themselves the choice, if they stand outside or inside the stables and that all year round. Giving them some extra freedom in moving.
In between the paddocks we have open fencing, allowing the horse to be social and make contact with other horses. By checking we stable horses next to each other that are each others friends and would in the field also search for each other company.
Also inside the stables the in-between walls are open allowing horses to groom each other. Werther they are in or outside horses always have a visual contact with the whole group. We see it in the sleeping behavior of the horses a few are sleep and others are on the watch out. A normal group behavior.
Healthy stable climate
To create a healthy stable climate we designed a stable with a floating roof. All around the stables the roof is open. Creating a constant flow of fresh healthy air. Also the top of the roof is open, creating an upward flow out of the stables, carrying away warm, damp and ammoniac filled air.
Further our horses have a rubber insulating floor of stable tiles, which are permeable for water/urine. With round naps under the mat for drainage of the urine. Giving the horse a soft comfortable surface for lying down. Its also a green solution as it reduces our waste of bedding.
As a horse in nature eats grass 85% of it is water, so he needs to eat all day long to get enough nutrition or dry fibers into his body. His whole digesting system is build to eat all day long small quantities rich in raw fibers. So feeding your horse 3 times a day is not healthy.
We created slow feeders for our horses. All our horses have unlimited access to fresh hay all day long. By placing the hay in a slow feeder on the paddock floor they only can eat small quantities at a time. It means they are eating all day long creating a natural grazing behavior, preventing colic’s or stomach sores and creating a healthy darm flora.
Straightening of the horse
A horse was never meant to carry a rider, and as horses are not straight in their bodies. Like humans being left or right handed. When we ride the horses we are adding our extra weight and we ride the horse its strong side stronger.
We train the weak side and muscles of our horse to make them equal in their body again. For this we use the classical dressage training and working by hand.
Further our horses get a winter period of relax and recovery.