My horses have a special track they move around and, from this track or race, they go in and out of paddocks (when the paddocks are being grazed). It’s a square track around seven paddocks and I scatter their hay along the track. We’ve also added another gate into the arena so the horses can enter from the race. I like to let them in so they can scuff up their hooves or go wild and gallop.
Recently, we decided to extend the race by including the small stream that runs through our property. It’s been a warm and dry Summer so far and this means hooves, especially Rosie’s, are very hard to trim and file. This stream area is also protected by shady gum and willow trees. The horses were always able to enjoy this shady area but not go down the small incline to the stream.
Now that they have access to the water, I’ve seen Rosie literally standing in the cool stream, soaking her hooves. We’ve also just collapsed four paddocks into one. The previous owners of the property had single paddocks because they were breeding. There were stallion paddocks, broodmare paddocks, foal paddocks.
Initially, I kept each of my horses in these separate paddocks until I thought that it was ridiculous and they should be together as a herd. We’ve taken down the wire and posts in four separate paddocks so that there is now one large paddock that can be strip grazed. When the grass is chewed right down by the horses and cows, the horses love to gallop the full length of the paddock and hoon around.
With a bit of thought and creativity, there are many ways to provide horses with a varied and interesting environment. They don’t have to just stand forlornly in paddocks waiting for their owner to come along and take them out for a ride. I engage with my horses every single day and the track system allows me to do this. A relationship with a horse isn’t all about just riding; it’s about spending time with them and being part of the herd.