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Since our first horse purchases while living in the mountains in Colorado in 1985 we have always attempted to keep and care for our horses in the best conditions we can. Always learning and developing better methods for their care. After years of having, riding, caring for and boarding horses for others we have settled on a very simple principal. 

Mimic their natural environment as much as possible! 

So what does that mean??? We simply provide them the most basic elements of what they like to have in their world. This makes for a healthier horse both physically, mentally and emotionally.

Here is a list of those "Basic Elements".

1. The Herd

They are kept in a herd environment. Most horses are really not ridden or used that much. So, what are they to do with the majority of their time??? Frolic, play, nuzzle, groom and anything and everything else a horse does all day long. Keeping them in a herd gives them that most basic of all needs  that any herd animal desires the most: Companionship, Family, Structure, Friends and Safety. 

This keeps their mind alert and their emotions positive.

2. The Space

They are provided a minimum of 1.5 acres per head. Horses need room to roam, play and graze. Instinctively horses graze 16 - 18 hours a day. They are browsers. A nibble here and there, take few steps and get another bite, look around and see who's doing what, then a few more steps and take another bite, etc... They will do this all day long if left alone. 

So let's be honest with ourselves. They spend a lot of time alone and we do not ride them as much as we should. It is so evident in their behavior. Cribbing can be caused from pure boredom... We see so many owners plop that hay in a nice feeder right in front of their horse with a little shot of grain everyday and they will stand right there and eat until it is gone. Then their water is close by because that is the convenient place for us to fill it and you have basically immobilized your animal to the point that they grow fat, out of shape, founder and any other host of health problems caused from a sedentary lifestyle...


3. Plenty of food.
We already touched on grazing but what about in the winter when the grass has quit growing and is covered with snow? We feed round bales in round bale feeders in various places. Usually there is at least 1/4 mile between where we feed and where the water source is located. Each time the feeder is emptied it is moved approximately 50 feet. This helps prevent manure build up and also helps to limit parasites. 

Giving plenty of space between feeders also helps to limit the control freaks in the herd trying to hog it all for themselves... These feeders are also placed far away from their water source... They will spend all day eating, but they will only spend minutes getting a drink. 

Also, an average horse produces 40-50 pounds of manure per day. Manure management has to be considered and I would rather do anything with a horse besides shovel and wheelbarrow manure all day long. So, by feeding them out back and moving the feeders each time there is no concentration of manure that needs to be handled...

4. Water
Various watering locations also allows them variety. When the water is not frozen our horses have access to numerous ponds to drink all they want. We have seen many go wading, splashing, playing and we have even had a few that will roll and submerge themselves... How many times have you been on a trail ride and experienced a horse that would not cross a small creek or wouldn't step in a small puddle? Daily exposure to ponds and water as a drinking source makes them much more comfortable when you are on the trail and need to cross water...

5. Water in the winter.
In the winter it is much harder to have various locations for them to drink so we do not even try. There are so many limiting factors like where is the well located? Electricity source to plug in the heater. Non of us likes to string out 200' of garden hose when it is below zero to fill a tank only to have to drain it and roll it back up again and store it someplace where the hose won't freeze... That is why we feed them as far away as possible. Remember, they will eat all day but only drink for a few minutes and then they will head right back out.

So, having the winter water source up close and convenient for us humans is the prudent thing to do... 

We are frequently asked what is our biggest challenge in the winter? Without hesitation we always answer "WATER". We can feed enough hay in an hour to last them all week. They have access to shelters for inclement weather if they want it. They can group together for safety if they feel threatened by coyotes, wolves or bears. 

But 2 dozen horses can empty a 150 gallon tank in an afternoon.

The benefits:

1. Creating a healthier, happier animal. Much easier to catch and calmer on the trail or when being ridden. They usually d not have that anxious feeling of being let out of prison when they go for a ride after not having been utilized for an extended period of time.

2. Fitness through activity and interaction with others. If an outside horse comes to us and is overweight and big bellied that horse will look dramatically better in a few short months. Tighter stomach, standing taller and straighter, with muscle definition throughout. We have actually had horses come to us that the previous owners were on the verge of euthanizing them because they thought they had dsld.

 In the simplest sense, DSLD is a failure of tendons and ligaments to maintain, remodel and repair themselves in a normal fashion. Degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis (DSLD) is a progressive and devastating lameness,  recent research has discovered this is actually a body-wide problem. Although the horse used in this example was never clinically diagnosed with DSLD, he did show the signs of having it. This same horse 6 months later showed no sign at all of breaking down or health issues of any kind.

3. Less hoof maintenance. We find that the hooves are much stronger and tougher with thicker soles and cleaner/healthy frogs. They stand taller and straighter and they naturally wear their hooves requiring fewer trimmings. We usually see them needing hooves trimmed once every 4-6 months instead of weeks.

4. Less vet care. We find that we need to have a vet visit the farm very rarely. Maybe once a year on average and we have gone years without a vet visit. The most common thing a vet will do at our farm is a coggins.

Natural horse boarding may not be for you if:
1. Your horse is older and is used to a paddock every night.
2. Your horse is not used to a herd environment.
3. Your horse has special needs or health issues.

Not every facility is good for every horse and we are no different. 
So, please look over our web site, come and visit us and make an informed decision before bringing your horse to us.

Call us at 715-569-4693 or e-mail us at poetrypaints@yahoo.com

We charge $5 a day ($150 per month) for pasture/hay and water and kept with the herd.... Includes a barn and round pen for training or working with your horse... Owner is responsible for all veterinary needs, worming, etc... We do hoof trimmings for $20 and normally they need this every 6-8 weeks... We also have a shoeing stock which is used for shoeing but also used for floating teeth, veterinary work and breeding...
Barn stalls are available for $8 a day.. We also have a smaller barn stall for use in case they need to be temporarily confined to heal an injury... We rarely use this but it is handy when needed...
There are lockers available to store your equipment... One locker per horse... Each locker is big enough for a saddle, tack and some horse care products...

We are currently building a 108' x 72' indoor riding arena scheduled to be finished by the spring of 2014....
We have limited riding trails on our place but we do have a couple large state owned land areas within a mile... Otherwise the roads are very low volume and can be enjoyable just clip-clopping around the area...


An indoor arena is currently being built as well as an addition on the barn!!!
 When finished it will be 52' x 108' for all season riding...