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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
interesting show today on how some zoos try to enhance the lives of their captive animals go me tho thinking about how we could enhance the lives of our horses. Even if on 40 acres, we still hold them captive. I'd be interested in hearing your ideas. I'll start with one of mine - since I have clay soil I'll soak a bare area larger than a horse as they love to roll in it. The clay when dried provides protection from flies. The soupier the dirt the better.
 

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I ride & work my horses regularly, almost everyday weather permitting. Their down time is enjoyed by lounging around in a paddock or the pasture, their choice. My horses don't consider it captivity, they consider it home, lol.
 

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If you show them that they are safe and loved then most likely they will have a way better life. For my curious young horse I know that the best thing for her is feeling safe and yet feeling the spirit of adventure. Be more than their "mom" that holds them back from doing fun things, but be their "sister" and do fun things with them. Keep them stimulated!
 

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Environment Enrichment is something that turns my crank.

I'd love to have more than 12 acres, but am happy with what I do have. 2 acres of flat open pasture/recreational grazing, 8 acres of rolling bushland, and 2 more acres of rocky scrub brush. The other 2 acres is yard site.

I much prefer this to a bald, flat paddock. Everywhere you look, there's evidence of the herd interacting with their environment. The forest provides endless hours of shady spots, shelter from the elements and the undulations in topography build muscle, strength and dexterity.

We feed hay year-round for our herd of 10 and I feel it's an investment in their overall health. I've watched 3 horses grown up from weaning, here and they are 3 of the most laid-back, well adjusted personalities I've seen.

When horses come here from a pen with a bale plunked inside to keep everyone happy, they're soft and jiggly. Within 2 weeks of arrival, every single one has delighted me by tightening up, leaning down, waking up and mellowing out.

Great topic!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It Last summer I was dragging a heavy timber with the quad when the rope broke. The horses had seen it many times but now it was now in a new location. It was interesting to watch the reaction and how they dealt with it. Lots of mental stimulation, I'm sure of it.
 

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Paddock Paradise is an interesting way of keeping horses more 'naturally' as opposed to a square paddock. I have my horses on a track system and it definitely keeps them moving and thinking, you can go pretty hard out with it but so far mine is pretty basic as my pasture is limited. But they can now go over my whole property with limited access to grass and there's all sorts of ways you can add things to the track to make it new and interesting for them. Wont work for me through winter though as it will get too boggy and slippery but I find its a great way to keep them fit over summer when the grounds hard.
 

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I tried Paddock paradise. It didn't work for me. My horses used it as a racetrack and galloped at full speed on it. It made me nervous as my old mare is not supposed to be galloping at full speed with her lameness issues. I think my old mare "thinks" she should have been a race horse. I do wonder if she was trained for the track but never raced- she has no papers but definitely has the speed.

She doesn't view the pasture as a racetrack though. She is fine in the pasture, but put her in a paddock paradise and she is a different horse. :?
 

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I live on a dairy farm, so there's always new and interesting things going on around the place... It also means my thoroughbreds are pretty well accustomed to dealing with "scary" things in a pretty productive manner.... However cats jumping out of bushes still prove to be a problem haha :lol:

Mitch plays with things, he will jump bushes in his paddock and unlatch the gate if given the opportunity.... Walked down the road to visit the neighbors rose garden once o_O

He has what he considers play things in his paddock... That is, all of my jump stands and poles, road cones, 44 gallon drums etc. He will play with them all, throw them around the paddock, kick them around the place.... Everything except the jolly ball, which I specifically bought for him to play with... Go figure.
He threw his feed bucket at my brother a few weeks back :lol:
I don't think I need to go any further to enhance his life, he does a good job of keeping himself entertained and the others terrorized all by himself :lol:
 
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For me the biggest item is herd living, preferably with grazing or at least free choice hay. After that, teaching and training them to do new things, as much for the mental stimulation as any physical work. Everything else is a bonus. I would love to try the paddock paradise idea one day when I am in the lucky position of having property to keep them at home.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I tho't about PP but too costly for me, but the way mine is laid out it works quite well as far as movement goes. Horses love a pile of sand. A friend raised mini's and I told her about giving them a sand pile. The sand was dumped in a pile. We were going to spread it a little but as soon as the ponies spotted it they were pawing and rolling in it.
 
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