The environment the horse spends its greatest deal of time in, is the environment that most shapes and forms the hooves.
Correct boarding, is then an essential part of NHC.
Most of the common health problems and lamenesses afflicting domestic horses are a direct result of man-made violations of their natural lifestyle, and can be prevented or cured through the removal of the cause and a return to a natural lifestyle.
Dr Hiltrud Strasser
How can Natural Boarding help my horse?
Hoof disease, pathology, lameness. Three curses domesticated horses face, yet all too often these concerns have been created by the environment the horse lives in.
The basic principle of keeping a horse in an environment that it is suited to live in is a leading principle of NHC. Yet the material published in much of the equestrian world does not reflect this fact.
The simple truth is you can improve your horse's life, and prevent disease through correct management. When done properly, natural boarding offers your horse a lifestyle that mimics the natural movements of their wild counterparts as best as we are able to replicate.
But why would you want to do this? The truth is its a principle founded on science, and not the whims of overly concerned horse owners. Animals thrive in their natural environment, and we have some obligation to provide this to them.
A natural boarding environment provides the horse with an interesting life. This does not include solitary confinement in a stall, or a lonely life in an empty paddock.
As a horse owner, the responsibility falls to you to make this happen.
The cruelest thing you can do to a horse is keep it alone. There simply is no way to justify it, they need the company of their own kind - so only a second horse or pony (even mini) will do.
What does it look like?
Like hoof care, this can be a topic open to strong opinions. There are a number of approaches one can take, but in truth it boils down to what you can afford, and what you are able to do with what you have.
From the elaborate track systems promoted by Jaime Jackson, to confinement in a stall. Individuals can argue the values of them all. But what works best for the horse?
The horse itself is a creature design for continuous movement, and we need to realise that every horse kept in captivity is in a less than ideal environment. So one can immediately rule out stalls. From what we know to date, track systems are the best alternative that stimulate both movement and exercise. However, few people can set up this system of horse keeping. If this is the case then one needs to examine their paddock life and do what they can to make it more natural.
Horses are intelligent animals and are curious by nature. Do what you can to provide an interesting environment to encourage movement, and keep your horses mind active. Simple things like creating areas of different surface type, places to explore and things to do can transform boring life in a paddock to something that has a bit more purpose.
Few people are blessed with the perfect property. But what matters is that you do what you can to foster a horse that is both healthy in hoof, body and mind.
What makes an interesting life?
Benefits of Natural Boarding