Skin and bones when we rescued her at 7 months from
an awful confinement in Iowa. Now Miss Mouse is
a beautiful, healthy , happy young lady.
The Kentucky Equine Research Staff reports in a recent EquiNews that confinement weakens bones in horses.
“Bone is a dynamic, living tissue strengthened through use. Impact stress from moderate exercise—whether it’s a structured regime such as daily training or simply roughhousing in a pasture—encourages osteoblasts to lay down osteoid tissue, which is converted into healthy, resilient bone.
“When a horse does not exercise regularly, osteoids grow lazy, refusing to deposit substrate for skeletal renewal, and eventually mature bones will demineralize. Over time, demineralization weakens individual bones, which in turn reduces the strength of the entire skeleton. For maximal skeletal resiliency, horses should exercise daily, be it in a tailored training setting or just cruising in a pasture with friends.”
A horse in the wild will move anywhere from 8 to 20 miles per day. A horse in a stall, by study, will average only 800 steps per day. The equine body and brain are programed to not be confined.
Not only does confinement weaken bones, it causes intense physical and emotional stress that, in turn, produces most health, hoof, and behavior problems. We have 8 horses: a rescued American Saddlebred (Mouse, photo above), three mustangs straight out of the wild, two Arabians, a paint and a quarter horse. And at our farm there are no weakened bones, no colic, no laminitis, no strangles, no insulin resistance, no ulcers, no founder, no navicular issues, no cribbing, pawing, kicking, weaving, pacing, or biting.
How did we accomplish all this? By eliminating confinement. We banished it. Sent it packing. And you can too.
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