I know I've ranted about this previously here but it seems like a long time ago. This morning I was reading an email digest for a horsekeeping forum I've been on for years. Someone is asking about caring for a horse who foundered at some point and the boarding barn is being resistant to requests to customize the routine for this horse, who can't take the rich feed they use, needs soaked hay, and needs more feeds per day due to the forage only nature of the prescribed diet.
First, boo hiss to the boarding barn. You're taking money for horse care. Provide it. Horses aren't stamped out of some one size fits all mold.
Second, in the back and forth that followed after the owner posted asking for help, and kudos to that owner for seeking some state of the art advice on the issue of insulin resistance in horses, it was revealed that the horse lives in a 12x12 stall and GETS NO TURNOUT.
The owner wrote that the horse "has never been very nice" and thus gets no turnout. The horse is ridden but that is it for time outside the stall. Can we just call the stall what it is in this instance? Cell. The horse is in a cell 24/7 other than the few hours a few days a week when ridden.
No one is addressing this thus far on the forum. I don't want to shame the owner, who is at least trying to find out how to manage the IR.
But when I read the posts just now I wanted to throw something.
What kind of life is it to be kept in a 12x12 space for your entire life? I think most of us would end up being "not very nice," especially if our feet hurt at the same time.
What do horses need to be happy?
I think they need shelter, access to forage 24 hours a day, limited if need be by using hay nets, clean water, the company of other horses, or perhaps donkeys, or even goats, and space to move. By move I mean walk, trot, canter, gallop, lie down, roll, stretch, and "graze" - whether something growing or something provided.
It boggles my mind that anyone thinks a horse, whose entire physiological system is based on movement, can be kept healthy and sound living in a stall 24 hours a day.