Boarding a Horse: Pasture vs. Stable Essay

1666 Words 7 Pages
Boarding a Horse: Pasture vs. Stable

For centuries horse and man have existed in a partnership which has provided mutual benefits. The horse has aided man's advancement toward civilization as a diligent worker, reliable transportation method, brave soldier, and trusted friend. In return, man has protected the horse from predators and disease, and provided food and shelter to ensure the continued health and well being of his equine companion. As well meaning as man's intentions may be, not all of the trappings of modern equine husbandry are beneficial to this proud animal. Originally a wild and free denizen of the plains, the horse can suffer psychological and medical disorders if its life is spent locked away in the confinement of a
…show more content…
Most causes of laminitis can be either directly linked to or worsened by stabling practices, which generally interfere with a horse's biological balance. In their natural environment, equine species are nomadic grazing animals (Rooney 134). Herds travel several miles a day in search of food, water and shelter, resting sporadically during the day. This constant movement and slow assimilation of varied forage aids the horse's poor digestive system while a stop at a watering hole is typically a leisurely opportunity to satisfy the animal's five-gallon thirst. Similarly, pastured horses can roam and graze freely within their fence boundaries, and their non-working hours are more relaxed and natural.

In contrast, a stabled horse is confined to a small stall where mobility is arrested and exercise is often limited to one to two hours of turnout time each day (included in respectable stables' practices). Feed is administered in large rations one to three times per day with supplemental grain given before workouts. Equestrians wanting to do the best for their animals, and stable management wanting to appear conscientious, will often make the mistake of feeding high quality alfalfa hay. Not only is alfalfa more expensive, but the equine digestive tract cannot tolerate the high protein content (Rooney 134), especially in early-season alfalfa hay. Thus the equine gut is glutted with overly rich feed that ferments and produces toxins
Open Document