The Dangers of Confinement and the Importance of Trickle Feeding
“Horses are naturally ‘trickle feeders’ designed to forage for their food, and providing access to pasture can provide for this physiological need,” said Claire Scantlebury, BSc BVSc PhD MRCVS, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health in the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool. “There are a variety of other benefits in addition to promoting digestive health, such as allowing expression of natural behavior, opportunities for social interactions with other horses, and exercise.” – in an article published by TheHorse.com, “Recurrent Colic Risk Factors Identified” by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA.
This researcher goes on to list the dangers of lush grass pasture in contributing to laminitis. Unfortunately she is only aware of these two options- confinement or grass pasture. But with the continued application and research in the natural horse world, specifically the application of a system of boarding called Paddock Paradise, horses can live according to their species needs while not succumbing to the dangers of lush grass pasture.
Yes that’s right! There is a way to provide “trickle feeding” while not leaving them in a founder trap such as a lush pasture of fresh green grass. In the Paddock Paradise system, a track is created within the pasture that is essentially removed of its grass, and the remaining pasture is separated from the horses by a fence of choice. As the horse has evolved to cover great distances every day and move in single file for the majority of the time, this set up facilitates some of the core biological movement and behavior patterns exhibited in the wild equines of the Great Basin which is the population alive today that is the closest representation of how the horse evolved- in a high desert type biome.
Slow feeder hay bags provided at various locations on the track encourage the horses to travel from station to station while interacting with each other.
Horses all over the world in growing numbers are experiencing the profound benefits of this system of boarding. Horses in the UK that are at risk of laminitis from lush rye grass can now live free of this threat, while getting even more daily movement, thus lowering the risk of not only laminitis, but also colic.
Laminitis is the second most prolific killer of domestic equines today. But it is almost entirely preventable by eliminating the known triggers such as carbohydrate overload. Paddock Paradise represents a return to nature, and is proving to be a sure shot in not only laminitis prevention, but also whole horse soundness. Horse owners can even save significant amounts of money by letting their horses “self trim” their hooves through natural movement.
The book Paddock Paradise by Jaime Jackson is available in multiple languages (and can be found here in English) and could very well represent the most significant breakthrough in laminitis prevention to date.