Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Paddock Paradise" by Jaime Jackson: Part 2

One important observation from wild horse bands all over the world is that they do not usually wander aimlessly around their territory. It may look like it to humans, but when you study them closely, horses have distinct paths, looping and meandering trails, which they tend to travel on. These paths will take them to water, grazing areas, salt and other minerals, dustbathing areas, sleeping areas, and more. It may take them several days to cover all the ground, and some areas may not be visited at all in some seasons.

The description of herd life and the pictures of wild horse social dynamics in this book are fascinating. The author spends quite a lot of the book describing the wild horse's life, which is good - We need to know what wild living really is like before we can copy, modify, and tweak it to our own horses' needs!

He does not say exactly how he came up with the idea for "Paddock Paradise," but however it ocurred to him, the basic idea is a long, meandering track that is basically a large fenced loop about 10'-20' in width. The width is important, because having it narrow enough encourages the horses to keep moving. The twists and turns keep them always "looking around the next corner." Along the track you will put their feeders, their salt and mineral blocks, and their water, at different locations, so that they keep moving often to get to the next thing. There will also be a few areas where you can widen out the track to create loafing areas.

I love this idea, especially because it ties in perfectly with a rotational grazing system, to really maximize your pasture health as well as your horses' health! AND, save money on feed by having productive pastures because the horses are not constantly on them!!!

Overall, some of the key reasons why I am building a "Paddock Paradise" for Mira this summer are:
  • Constant movement keeps a horse's joints supple, strong, and young.
  • Moving all day keeps your horse much more fit, even when you can't ride.
  • Less need for warmup and cool down when you do ride.
  • Horses are not bored - their minds are stimulated and they get to "fulfill their innate horsieness." ;-D
  • More natural herd dynamics.
  • Apparently needs as little as one acre to work.
  • I believe "Paddock Paradise" would dramatically lower risk and incidence of colic, for a lot of reasons!
  • Lessens or eliminates need for frequent hoof trims, and naturally creates a tough, resilient, well-shaped hoof.
  • Horses that are moving and exploring are HAPPY HORSES! :-)

I hope you enjoy this review, and I recommend this book to anyone who wants to find out more about simple, non-labor-intensive ways to increase their horse's health, mental wellbeing, and longevity!



photogchic said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for outlining it for us and giving us the information. Keep us posted on what you do in your pasture and how it works for Mira.

L said...

Glad you liked it!

sheil said...

How's it going with your paddock paradise? I have just read the book and am dying to get started, just wanted some input from someone who's being doing it a while :-)

L said...

For an update, please click here:



Dave said...

Check out the Paddock Paradise wiki site to compare notes with others experimenting with Paddock Paradise tracks and slow feeders: Anyone interested is invited to join.