Natural Horse Keeping

Because your horse is a horse

There was a time when I knew  everything about horses. I knew all about how to brush a horse until it gleamed, I knew how to put on a tail bandage, I knew how to sit correctly during a canter and I knew a lot (and I mean a lot) about how to correctly stack a manure heap, but somehow even though I knew all these things and more, I felt there was something missing.

It was all because I was born with a passion to understand animal behavior - and that includes human animals. I always wanted to know why animals did the things they did. For example, I wanted to understand why the horses I shut away for the night in their stables did not appear really happy, - I assumed they would feel just as safe and protected as any human would. Yet I couldn’t help notice,  on a daily basis, highly disturbed behavior, such as drooling, weaving, aggression and even self-harming. Of course I knew all about the 'stable vices', the weaving and the cribbing and the wind-sucking but I was told these were things all horses did. So for a while I took no notice. But the questions just got more numerous and louder, questions like:  

• What is the basic nature of the horse?

• What is the basis of horse psychology?

• What emotions are important to a horse?

• How do horses work? For example, how does their digestive system work?

• Do horses have to wear horseshoes?

• Can their feet can be allowed to function as in nature or do humans know better?

• Is there a way to ensure they live longer, healthier and happier lives?

• Can we create an environment that allows horses to maintain their own hooves?

• How and why do horses interact with humans and what are the implications for both species?

• Are there better ways of caring for them, better management systems?

• Why do many horses need a lifetime of veterinary attention?

• Are there better diets we can provide?

• Is it possible to construct environments that allow and encourage them to be horses and maintain their own levels of fitness?

• Is it possible to develop better ways of training them on the ground, in the saddle and within their environment.

• Are there better tools and equipment to achieve this

• Can we achieve a better and safer way of communicating with horses?

That was many years ago. These questions and many more set my feet upon a  journey of study and lead me to make many wonderful discoveries that answered all my questions and in turn changed me as a person and gave me a different personal philosophy about horses. It also gave me a desire to change things in the light of new and better understanding. I realized that when I used to know 'everything' I actually  knew almost nothing and that the little I did know, was frequently based on information that was

hundreds and sometimes thousands of years old!

This was quite a shock to me because I believed that we humans are intelligent enough to develop new ideas and new understandings about the welfare and health of animals, after all we had done it with almost all other species and I assumed it would be the same for horses. But I discovered that was wrong.

For some strange reason our thinking about horses was regarded as exempt from the need to change or develop.

Apparently I wasn't the only person believed they knew 'everything' about horses.

However, I came to understand how for more than a millennium mankind had defined a horse purely by it's function and the service it could give to us. I learned that in these days of leisure and pleasure when machines do the former work of horses, we have constructed an oppressive and  threatening   world based not on the needs of the horse but on satisfying our own emotions always -at the expense of the horse. I realized that this thinking was outdated and utterly irrelevant to our modern world and that if we were to move comfortably into the future with our faithful companion the horse, we needed a new philosophy new ways of thinking, managing, training, I call this 21st century horse keeping.

So far, my journey has brought me to the concept I call hidden horses and that has now become a book. In the book I describe how in  most cases the true horse is concealed inside a human mental 'image' of the animal based on a combination of outdated ideas like culture, historical tradition and the superstitions of the  human owner. It is my hope that my book will help its readers on their journey with their horses and so will remove these false belief systems of the human in such a way that gradually the wonderful animal we call a horse can reveal itself us all.

I believe the information inside this book will help horse owners around the world to set the standard for the future as we move further into the new century. Above all, my book will show you how to simplify your relationship with your horse while at the same time, giving back to the horse control over it's natural thoughts feelings, instincts and emotions, it will show you how by doing this we do not lose, - we gain so much. We gain healthier, happier and safer horses which also makes us healthier happier and safer humans.

Finally, here is a quote from the first pages of the book, it sums things up rather well:

Whether your horse is "good" or "bad"; whether he lives a long, fulfilled, happy life or a life of misery and pain, sickness, disease and suffering; whether he is your best equine friend or your worst equine nightmare; all will depend on only two things: what you believe about him and the environment you create for him.

This is because in the 21st century we must base our our understanding on the idea that your horse is a horse.