Physical Care Philosopy

When you come to Herds of Hooves, there a few things you will NOT see....

Grass! But horses "need" grass, right? Not necessarily! Lush pastures are like sitting at a huge buffet of high-calorie desserts-- no movement required to overeat! Our entire facility is set up as a "grass free" zone with pastures that have had grass removed and been cut into a chute-type system where horses are pushed round and round the perimeter of the fence through herd dynamics from pile of hay to pile of hay. With this set up, we can provide strict dietary management to horses who are insulin-resistant, such as some Cushings horses and laminitic horses, or just those who are "easy keepers." Further, all of our horses are fed twice a day, so vitamin and medicinal supplements are easy to provide.

Sugary feed or treats! Again, in our attempt to manage our horses in the most natural way possible, we seek to minimize processed sugar in our concentrates. Instead, things like low starch concentrate, alfalfa, and vegetable oil are preferred feeding choices. No "hot," hyper horses found here! Further, we are a treat-free facility. We have found that the best reward in training is rest and a gentle rub-- and we don't have to worry about these leading to unsafe or rude behaviors. True, some horses are naturally more polite than others, but this is just one more way to mimic natural horse behavior... respect, rest, and accepted membership into the herd are the natural rewards of the horse and the rewards found here.

Metal shoes! The need for shoes is a hot debate in many circles, but we have found that trimming which mimics the way a natural hoof in the wild wears is the most balanced, comfortable choice for our horses and leads to long-term hoof health... you will find minimal cases of thrush, wide and useful frogs, and rock hard soles and hoof walls out here in the red dirt. When horses in transition to a barefoot lifestyle need some extra "support," we turn to hoof boots. There are numerous options available out there for countless applications and we've never been unable to find the right boot for a particular hoof. Feel free to visit our links page if you'd like to locate a Natural Hoofcare Practitioner or to search for hoof boots of your own.

Horses standing in stalls!
Horses need interaction. They need to touch each other and interact in ways only horses do. They need to stretch, run, and move. They need to laze in the sun, roll in the mud, and doze in the summer rain. Stereotypies and many negative or repetitive horse behaviors come from too much pent up energy and no outlet, such that occurs in horses kept inside too often. We do have stalls, each assigned to a particular horse, but they are only used for feeding, in the case of illness, or for a brief overnight stay during icy wet weather. Otherwise, you will see wooly, muddy, HAPPY horses roaming about outside.