by American Stalls May 01, 2023
When we imagine taking care of our horses, it is easy to think of the things that would make us feel comfortable and safe. While there are certain things that are universal, like quality food, clean water, and adequate shelter, there are also some things that are best designed from the perspective of the horse rather than from what we feel might be best.
Here are four things to think about when creating a low-stress, happy home for your horse:
This is truly the key to a horse’s happiness and well-being. Horses are herd animals and when we bring them into situations where they are on their own, they can feel stressed. Large pasture group turnouts are ideal for most horses, but there are many reasons why this may not always be available.
Turnout lots that allow horses to be adjacent to each other and stalling horses within sight of each other can provide socialization opportunities. Horse stalls with Grilled Stall Partitions, European Stall Fronts or Stall Gates, and Dutch Doors or Barn Windows to the outside will increase opportunities for socialization when a horse is indoors.
Horses are curious animals by nature and living in a herd in the wild provides a naturally enriched environment. Most horses today don’t have to worry about predators in the bushes or finding their next food source, but their brains are still hard wired for these activities.
A horse that is bored in his stall can have stress responses. Externalized behaviors like stall walking or weaving or internalized issues, like ulcers or colic may occur. Providing horses with ample turnout, exercise, toys, and horse safe obstacles are great ways to keep them occupied and relieve stress.
Horses are built to graze, but that is not always an option. Utilizing slow feeders for hay is a great way to slow down a horse’s consumption and simulate grazing. To create the best stalling experience for horses, mimic the natural environment when possible.
A barn that is well-ventilated with plenty of natural lighting will create a comfortable space. Horse stalls should be large enough so that the horses have room to comfortably lay down and move around. Flooring should be soft and supportive, such as Stall Mattress Systems with low dust, kiln dried bedding.
Horses’ routines are often dictated by the owner, but this can unknowingly cause stress for our animals. Horses are comfortable at lower temperatures than we are, so even though you might be chilly and need a coat or want to be inside doesn’t necessarily mean that your horse will. Similarly, a nice warm and sunny day might be the time when your horse seeks shelter to get away from hot rays and flying insects. In the summer, think about using nighttime turnout and stalling horses during the heat of the day. One of the healthiest options is allowing the horse access to being outside or inside based on what they prefer.
Taking the time to observe your horse in their environment is a great way to determine what they want when it comes to routines and schedules. Creating an environment with your horse’s health and comfort in mind has the capability of improving the overall relationship with your horse. If you are interested in finding out more about ways that you can create an environment for happy horses, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (855) 957-8255.