If you watch wild horses or horses that stay 24 hours on the pasture – oh, boy, how much I love to do that! – you see them grazing all the time. They actually graze about 15 hours daily. This is their natural behavior: consuming many forage-based meals throughout the day.
How can you mimic that normal feeding pattern for your horse that is housed in boxstalls, being fed twice a day and having only limited opportunity to forage?
For a horse frightening situations can occur when you even wouldn’t think of it being so scary. You might need to lead your horse through a noisy place. Also guiding your horse into a horse box trailer and out of it can be intimidating. Working in a horse clinic I encountered numerous situations like that. Sometimes just parading in front of the veterinarian was enough for some horses to be frightened and to try to flee.
First of all you need to be aware that horses have specific instincts. They are prey animals. That means they most likely try to flee as first reaction in dangerous or unfamiliar situations. There are of course situations where a horse will fight, most often when flight is not tenable or when they want to protect their offspring. But these situations are probably more rare when handling your horse. Well, how do you handle your horse to keep him calm and trustful?
I still commemorate one horse that I met in a horse clinic back in Switzerland. This horse stayed in the clinic for recovery after a surgery. He was a very gentle gelding, very patient and easy to care for. The only moment of self-consciousness and a kind of pride came over that horse when we let him out in the paddock covering him with a horse blanket that was made of a lightweight golden shimmering rain-proof material which we received from a horse racing stable. Wow! You couldn’t recognize that horse. Wearing that shiny golden blanket transformed him into a fiery proud stallion. It was fun to watch him swaggering about in the paddock.
Well, horse blankets can have this fun effect, but they are really made for pure functional reasons: keeping your horse warm on cold rainy or snowy days while your horse is turned out to pasture. Horse blankets protect your horse also against mud and insects. Here are some fact you might want to know about horse blankets.