There's something about keeping horses in stables that I don't quite approve of.
I mean, it's not that I have anything against it - and once I have my own horse I'd fancy having a loose box or two to keep it in on cold nights or during thunderstorms, but there's something about accomodating horses in stables permanently that I don't quite like.
Horses are wild animals, they belong in the fields. They need space to run, to graze, to interact with fellow herd members - to be horses! Some people - like the equestrian center in KL, Malaysia - use the excuse that they don't have that much open space to keep over 200 horses out in pasture. Well, fair enough but there's nothing wrong with some well scheduled turn-out for each horse every day. And then there's the competitive athletes with their twenty-thousand dollar horses, saying that if they keep their horses out in paddocks they might get injured. Oh, what if another horse kicks him?! Oh, what if he runs into the fence?! Oh, what if he slips and falls?! Oh, what if he gets dirty
?! God forbid!!!
There's something not quite right about the sight of a horse confined to a box day in, day out, all its life. It only comes out to be exercised, or if lucky, a light hand grazing for 20 minutes or so. With the halter on, nevertheless! I love the sight of horses happily roaming free over grasslands, grazing in content, frolicking around, lying down, kicking their heels to the wind.
It seems that horses who live outdoors are a whole lot happier than their stablekept counterparts. They don't develop bad habits like windsucking or pacing, which usually manifest in horses who live in stables, due to extreme boredom. They seem good natured, alert, content and willing. It made me extremely sad when I rode in KL to see all the horses confined to stalls, looking bored and 'empty', and occasionally pinning their ears and dangerously snapping out at anyone who happens to walk past the stall. It's just not healthy.
I'm thankful that Blinkbonnie keeps all it's horses out in pasture, 24/7. We do have three wooden indoor stalls which serves as stables when the weather is too rough. It's filled with the warm scent of hay and copra - and there's no doors to the individual stores, which lessens claustrophobia in the horses, and the large entrances are left open so it's light and airy and the horses can see all that's going on. The two stables that have doors are turned into the feed room and blanket storage room. And there's 7 loose sheltered open stalls too, constructed with sturdy wooden poles - cleverly designed to avoid kicking. But the horses are only brought in when necessary and most of their time is spent outdoors, running through the grass.
I love our happy, healthy horses. It's the same at Rednifhtap Park in Queensland - 40 acres of freedom for the horses and they come running from 40 acres away when we stand at the gate, waving their halters and yelling their names. It's incredible! There's no snappiness, no lunging forward to bite with ears pinned, no tantrums. I'm a strong believer of keeping horses at grass and I would never ride again at a barn which didn't.
Once I get my horse - which hopefully won't be too long now - I'll probably keep it at Blinkbonnie until I get my own place. And when I do, it will be at least 2 or 3 acres for the horse and a paddockmate (maybe I can convince McCool to ride too, then he can have a pony? :D) and a couple of light, airy looseboxes - preferably made out of wood. It will be lovely!
Sometimes people forget that horses are horses and they are not some pet to be ridden when felt like it, and left in stables when not. Horses should be allowed to be horses, and rightly so.
I don't know where that long essay came from... there was a post in equestrian about this and I just felt like rambling... especially since I haven't updated in forever! Heh. I've watched McCool play MGS4 so many times now that if I hear Otacon yell "SNAAAKKKEE!!"
one more time, I'm gonna have to choke a bitch.
Labels: horses, mgs4, ramblings