“Made our of plastic, looks like a spastic”
Scenario 2; The horse has been stabled it´s entire life. It is fed pop tarts and cardboard** twice a day and comes out of it´s stall for 2/3 hours, 4 times a week, to go for a trek. It is overweight because not only does it stand in it´s stall 21/22 hours a day doing nothing, it is laid back because it has no energy.
Scenario 1 and scenario 2 horses are now put in a paddock. A space where you can swing more than one cat! They are feed only on grass hay, available 24 hours a day, and minerals.
“My little pony, My little pony, Isn't the world a lovely place”
S1 is going to loose weight because it has no idea how to behave or what to do. It has been removed from it´s safety bubble and can move freely for the first time in it´s life. It really doesn´t know where to begin! It will take this horse anywhere between 3 and 6 months to settle, to be accustomed to it´s surroundings and having food available ad-lib. It will reach a point within 2 to 3 months where it doesn´t loose any more weight, but may take a further 2 to 3 months before it relaxes enough to stop stressing in order to start gaining weight again.
“My Little Pony, My Little Pony, Everywhere you go a smiling face”
S2 is going to loose weight because it will use up all the fat deposits from it´s pop tart and cardboard diet, revealing the little muscle it truly had. But having been fed a ´lazy´ diet and been permitted the pleasure of the great outdoors on it´s treks previously, it will adapt much quicker to it´s new lifestyle. It will probably gorge itself silly for the first 2 to 4 weeks before settling down, realising the food is always there and self-regulating it´s requirements (just as S1 will). It will continue to loose weight for 2 or 3 months though, due to the fat loss and the new 24 hour a day movement, before it starts to put on new weight - muscular weight.
“Running and skipping; merrily tripping, Watching the morning unfold”
*Pop rocks and Peas - High NSC processed feed and alfalfa
**Pop tarts and Cardboard - High NSC whole grain feed and straw
“My Little Pony, My Little Pony, What does the future hold?”
ALL TIMES ARE APPROX. EACH HORSE IS AN INDIVIDUAL AND WILL RESPOND DISTINCTLY. THESE SCENARIOS ARE NOT NECESSARILY REAL OR SPECIFIC TO ANY PARTICULAR HORSE. BUT HOPEFULLY MAKE IT CLEAR WHY MANY HORSES LOOSE WEIGHT, WHEN FIRST ALLOWED TO LIVE LIKE A HORSE, DESPITE FEED BEING AVAILABLE AD-LIB 24/7
There are always other factors to consider - Time of year (climate), dental condition, parasite control, age of horse, mineral balance etc..
A horse living out in a paddock with a herd (even if a herd of 2) will enjoy a higher base fitness level than a stabled horse. When we talk of paddocks we refer to a minimum of 1500m2 for two horses. Not corrals or open-topped stables!
This is a blog entry from over 3 years ago, on our old web site. A fellow yard owner ask I republish it to help explain to her liveries the difference, and enormous benefits, horses enjoy at her yard with it´s tracks, equi-centrals and herd families.