You'll notice that there's only one or two photos of horses in stables on our page, and that's because ours don't live in any.
We believe horses should be horses and live in as much space with as much autonomy and companionship as we can give them.
It pains me this is far from their native New Forest habitat where they would thrive the most, but I do my best with what we have, including my knowledge levels which are ever expanding.
Freedom and autonomy are important for any horse and doubly essential for horses that work with humans. Anything that lowers their stress levels and supports their wellbeing has a direct impact on their performance; and we feel our clients (and horses) deserve the best.
Perhaps you can relate to the environment affecting performance part? After ignoring it for the first half of my life and suffering as a result, it's become a top priority in our organisation.
Speaking their truth
Semi-self sufficient horses have another difference to the more conventional way of keeping horses we used to do. They are more opinionated. They know their own mind more and are less dependent on humans for survival. This, in our view, makes them more refined at their work. Instead of people pleasing because their quality of life depends on it, they speak their truth.
Sometimes their truth is easy to accommodate, and other times it can push our buttons and be uncomfortable.
The big difference I find receiving feedback from a self-sufficient horse is their feedback has no agenda. They are saying what you need to hear, not telling you what you want to hear. They have no agenda other than their safety and survival.
This is why I value them so greatly. They show me where I have room to grow in a way I respect and can trust.
This kind of feedback isn't for everyone, but for those that are willing to embrace it, it will be the most powerful learning you ever do.
P.S. if you do find a picture of our horses in stables it's because from time to time we practice making sure they're ok in one if it was ever needed for a veterinary visit. 🙂