Basically, good horse care practices are those that improve the quality of life of horses in the domestic setting.
By understanding what large social non-ruminant grazing herbivores do all day we are in better position for providing a more stimulating domestic environment in an attempt to satisfy their natural programmes. In reality this is a requisite in many countries for farm and domestic animals, and welfare agencies around the globe have agreed on the basic or minimum guidelines known as the five freedoms;
Unfortunately for most horses, their maintenance and training regimes are a far cry from satisfying these basic guidelines. Welfare issues are constantly being discussed and debated by international bodies, but a general consensus seems far fetched as different interests and approaches clash heatedly. What these 5 freedoms really mean will be a matter of criteria.
It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us in trouble.
It’s the things we know that ain’t so.
We know that by maintaining horses with stereotipies isolated in boxes, and with a rich concentrate and low fibre diet is totally unacceptable, as it deprives horses of all five freedoms. A common cure for wind-sucking etc, is that of a restrictive collar many times following professionals advice, this is also unacceptable and vulnerates many freedoms by causing distress, pain, discomfort and injury.
It is not a matter of levels of horsemanship, better posture (although these help!) or faster horses, but more to do with levels of consideration.
After all, if you buy fish, you would put them in water would you not!