What horses want
Therapy horses work best when their fundamental needs are met. So often the care horses receive is a reflection of our own needs - more ease, less mess, regular timings - rather than a response to what they really need to thrive.
At Track Clinic we promise our horses this:
1. You will always be in company.
We understand that as a prey animal you only feel truly safe when you are part of a herd. You need the freedom to play with each other, touch and smell one another and develop longstanding relationships. Lone horses can become fearful, bored, depressed or they simply shut-down.
2. We will never be put in a cage.
We understand that being in a stable goes against your need to move freely and decide where best to shelter. As you only sleep in very short bursts we won't subject you to hours of standing still in one place with nothing to do.
We know it's important for you to regulate your own temperature - growing woolly in the winter and shedding your coats in the summer - so we won't subject you to rugs or blankets nor our human temperature gauge.
3. You won't eat processed foods.
We understand that eating from hedges, trees and shrubs is much more interesting and nutrient rich that eating from pasture and hay alone. We won't bulk you up with heavily processed foods but will instead give you plenty of variety and vitamins from apples, pears, carrots, bananas (including the skins!), broccoli, kale, parsnips and sweet potatoes.
4. You won't wear metal shoes on your feet.
We know your feet and legs stay healthier without metal shoes as well as enabling you to play with each other without getting hurt. We will trim your feet periodically so they stay level and in good condition. We will provide you with varied terrain and make sure you have dry areas to stand when the ground is wet.
5. You will be treated with respect.
We understand you each have unique needs and preferences. We will do our best to understand what you are telling us - watching your facial expressions, your body language and your reactions. We understand that most forms of resistance come from confusion, fear or pain so we will never reprimand you of force you submit. There will be no intensive training programmes but instead a healthy balance of work, rest and play.