An Introduction to Different Grazing Systems
Here are ideas and solutions to help you maintain barefoot hooves and keep your barefoot horse(s) sound.
Ideas which you can do:-
- irrespective of where you live.
- irrespective of the size of your fields or paddocks.
Ideas which will help you:-
- With their daily living
- And will maintain their hooves in optimun health
Ideas which once set up will help your horses independent of you the owner.
Jaime Jackson (Director of the American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners) says:-
wild horse as his model and wild horses live outside in the
company of other horses all year long, in all climates, with no
rugs and are continuously on the move.”
This is by far the healthiest way for our horses to live and the
model, for us to attempt to copy, if we wish to try and keep horses
in optimum health.
A goal which must be worthy of working towards.
The question is then:-
“How do we best adapt this barefoot grazing model to our
domestic situations and so enabling us to keep our horses as close to this model as possible?”
This was the question we struggled with and tried to
find practical solutions towards helping us keep and:-
- improve our barefoot horses hooves
- and then maintain their improved hoof structure
Even if you remove their shoes, transition them, keep them
turned out, work out how you are going to manage your paddocks, as
well as work, train and ride them, so they are safe and fit to ride/
compete/hunt/show jump etc. you are still left with the challenge of how to:-
- “strengthen and maintain their barefoot hooves.”
as they need to be continually on the move, grazing and walking over different surfaces, in order for their hooves and physical bodies to
function to the best of their abilities.
By this I mean for their hooves to stay strong and hard, for
want of a better word, “roadworthy,” so that they can be ridden over
different surfaces, rocky/stoney paths and they remain sound.
With horses that are just turned out to graze in a field, there
is no reason for them to move. They are surrounded by ‘food’
(grass), so continuous movement which is so important for their
health and hooves does not occur. Although you may say, “my horses
move,” the mileage they cover in a field compared to their wild
horse cousins, has no comparison.
So how to provide suitable barefoot grazing is a challenge. Movement is the key. But how does one provide this amount of movement on a daily basis practically?
The Horses Condition/Weight
Apart from their hooves there is also the monitoring of their
weight. In the summer months it is important that they don’t get too fat whilst grazing on lush
green pastures as this can create havoc with the structure of the hooves as
well as their weight.
When they move, like humans they maintain their blood sugar and insulin levels and their hunger is less.
So how do we keep them outside without them standing all day
grazing on rich
Their are four types of solutions listed below:-
- Stripe Grazing
- Rotational Grazing
- Paddock Paradise
- A Combination of the Above