RBEI MASTER COURSES: EQUINE MANAGEMENT:
PADDOCKING & STABLE MANAGEMENT 2
The immediate and surrounding environment you place your horse into defines very much how they will behave with you and in general.
There are so many factors that affect horses and their ability to relax and be settled in their home environment.
Horses naturally and ideally like to be on high ground, in a group of horses, able to see well into the distance and what they see needs to be relaxing and not stress inducing.
What they hear and see in their wider areas very much affects their ability to relax. All these things must be taken into consideration when paddocking and stabling horses.
A horse who is yarded on the outskirts of a group of horses will almost always be nervous and unsettled. A horse who is on their own yet can see other horses coming and going within it's visual range will normally feel they need to join the other group, fretting and running the fence.
Yet if those same horses were confined to a small space next to the 1 horse, it would be a little better, however the 1 horse could still want to be in with the group and could still pace the fence restlessly.
At night time and during the day horses that are in a group look out for each other and while the group naps one always keeps watch for danger. They normally take turns keeping watch. At night time foxes, dogs, rabbits, kangaroos etc, need to be minimized so horses can relax. You can do this with mesh and adequate fencing, lighting etc. so horses can relax more in the darker hours.
Effective horse paddocking and stabling normally requires a little juggling and mixing things around before you find a spot and routine your horse is comfortable with. Their personalities, hierarchy, friendships, past experiences etc, all come into play also and you really should juggle things around until every one is happy and relaxed.
If you don't and leave your horse in a state of stress you will never be able to make this horse concentrate, relax or listen to you properly until you have.
Some horses will not like to be in certain paddocks where others are happy, some horses will decide they want to be somewhere else or with another group or horse and won't rest or relax until this happens. It is our job to create a relaxed and comfortable environment always. Which normally takes a little imagination and a lot of juggling before we get it right and then flow and adjust as that changes ;)
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