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Horse Wellbeing

Animals have been forced by breeders to abandon their natural habitat, to adapt to new conditions. These changes have not always yielded good results, as they’ve often been excessive in terms of both the resulting modifications to ethological characteristics and the natural living conditions of the animals themselves.
However, continuous scientific progress has also extended our knowledge of ethology and allowed for an improved understanding of animals’ natural living conditions. Indeed, that same man who subjected animals to forced adaptation and domestication has come to realise that these sometimes unnatural surroundings can create new problems.
Today the trend is towards recreating living conditions that mirror those experienced by animals in the wild, without, of course, overlooking the point that the animals have a purpose and utilisation. Now, more than ever, there is a genuine interest in pursuing a true state of animal wellbeing by striving to achieve physical-psychological harmony between organism and environment, a goal that can be identified by good health and normal behavioural patterns (Well-being, according to Fraser in "Horse Behaviour" Edagricole 1998).
Nature has had 55 million years to create the horse according to the laws of evolution.
Horses have proved successful at surviving in many places on the Earth’s surface, largely thanks to two natural characteristics:
1) movement, that is, a physiological capacity to cover long distances (muscles, hooves, etc.) coupled with an exploratory aptitude;
2) sociality, that is, the ability to form stable herds that are regulated by communication and coordination, all to ensure cohesion of the herd.
Natural management of tamed horses takes these two factors into account. Implementing it properly means focussing on feeding, on the quality and quantity of movement the horse is provided with, on the use of barefoot (i.e. no horse shoes) techniques, on thermo-regulation, on suitable posture (especially during riding activities) and on socialising. All this helps restore and/or maintain the horse’s P.N.E.I. equilibrium.



"Make the life of the tamed horse as similar as possible to that led by the animal in nature" Sabioni 2008

Stefano Sabioni