In the barn
Horses can be kept two ways, in open and closed stables. Closed stables, where the horse is tied up or in the pen, has developed, in my opinion, because people think they are the measure of everything in this world.
So, if I am comfortable spending winters in the living room next to a fireplace, so should my horse be. Horses who die in the closed barns like flies probably die from too much affection. Altough it’s hard to imagine, horses aren’t some form of big rabbits who’d like to crawl in the holes. If a horse needed a house, a nest, or a den, it would know how to build it itself, as all the other animals do. Horses are comfortable at –15 degrees Celsius in the meadow while the wind is blowing or it’s snowing. It’s not an abuse to keep a horse outside in the rain and snow, but it is abusive to keep her in the barn with not more than an hour of riding daily or, even worse, weekly.
Closed stables, alongside the obvious advantage of keeping more horses in less space (for the owner) are bad for horses in all cases except where the horse is working more than few hours daily, which is rare even for riding centers with many riders. In the west, that way of horse keeping isn’t recommended or even approved.
Closed stables-keeping horses in the pen.
Considering a horse’s needs, it’s a little less abusive for a horse than being tied up. A significant improvement of living conditions is a window through which a horse can stick his head into fresh air and satisfy its need for socialisation, assuming it’s not an only horse in the barn. An addition of even the smallest outlet helps raise the standard. But event these pens are far from satisfying the horses needs for exercise and socialization), not to mention horse friendships. One of horse’s main pass-times is walking across the pasture and grazing the grass. Horses spend 16 hours eating daily.
All closed stables are unnatural and bad for their health. Every day, so many horses die of respiratory system diseases. To keep a horse in a barn is like you were kept in an orchard, tied to an apple, while wearing nothing more than your panties. People are very selfish creatures, they think that what suites them automatically suites every other being in the world. I’m surprised that people don’t keep their pet goldfish on their shoulders while watching TV (without water and a glass aquarium).
Open stables-group keeping of horses
Open stables where all horses are together. Used for all recreation and sports horses, and thought of by smart people who realised that one worker can effectively take care of only ten horses, during his full time on the job. Any more horses than that would result in different psychological disorders in horses. In turn, those horses show their bad mental condition by swallowing the air, swaying to the side, walking in the circle, being aggressive and so on. The idea is this. If I can’t afford the time to deal with my horse on a daily basis, let’s just let horses take care of themselves.
At Geronimo, 14 horses are kept at 120.000,00 m2. That is the best way of life for a horse. The owner doesn’t have to ride or take the horse outside for long periods of time (even months if necessary), and the horse will be just fine. The negative side is that the horse is a little harder to catch then in a 3x3 pen (but there are solutions for that problem), that the horses are usually (happily) covered in mud from head to toe, so it takes longer to clean them and that in the winter time, they must be walked until they dry off. A true and the biggest advantage can be seen in healthy, happy and much slicker horses if they are kept outside every hour of every day. Our horses are like that and we ride them over the impossible terrains, slippery slopes during the whole year for years and for over 6 years there hasn’t been a single horse or rider injury. What’s interesting to notice is that Anan, who is outside for 5 years now, clearly lags in agility behind the mares who are born in the meadow and have never been kept in the pen.
I’d never dare to skim the muddy slope on Anan, but I would with Tama. For horses who are kept in the closed barns and their riders that kind of adventure can be very risky, or even impossible. The comments and opinions of hippodrome riders are that we are all crazy. Thing is, they don’t know that horses can grow wings. Or, if your prefer it that way, that they cut their horses wings by keeping them in the pens. And horses without wings can’t fly. J As far as I know, aour riding school is the only one in Croatia that keeps all horses outside.