Natural Horse Keeping in Bulgaria

Happy, healthy horses are those which live a life closely resembling that of the wild…

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According to recent scientific research, the healthiest and happiest horses live in an environment which closely resembles that of their wild ancestors. At Konna Baza Sakar, we have put a lot of thought into how we can do this and in the process increase their movement, create better feeding practices, allow friendships and hierarchy systems to form and reducing as many harmful interventions as possible, and in the process, allowing our little herd to to live as close to nature as possible.

But what does this really mean?

 

Our Herd is out 24 Hours per Day TOGETHER

In the wild, horses are obviously not stabled. They move around searching for food and water, seeking company and companionship, and it has been shown that they form strong friendship bonds- all of which helps to improve their health and wellbeing.

Movement is not only good for maintaining a healthy weight and encouraging muscle development, but the friendships formed- mean mentally happier horses too.

We’re lucky enough to have various shade options around our land and these include; open field shelters, small pine forests and various areas covered with deciduous trees. Our horses can escape the elements when ever they need, yet remain ‘un-caged.’

Konna Baza Sakar is located on a hill, so our horses are constantly walking up and down slopes, building muscle tone and keeping tummies trim.

We operate a unique grazing system which merges principles of both the ‘Track-System’ and the ‘Equicentral Grazing System.’ This means the herd is constantly encouraged to move, yet still  permitted to graze daily. Grazing however, is done in a highly controlled manner which protects both our horses (from too many sugars) and our land from over-grazing.

Our grazing areas are not any single grass type and vary considerably from lush valley floor to sparce dry hillsides. What it does have in common is it all includes hundreds of different types of grass, wild flowers, shrubs, trees and bushes. This means that each day, our herd eats a varied diet packed with all sorts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

All our horses have full access to water and naturally occurring rock-salt, allowing them to replace exactly what they need and when.

To find out more about our KBS herd, visit here.

 

Locally Sourced and Pesticide Free Forage

Our hay and lucerne mixes are sourced from our local Srem farmers, which means not only do we know exactly what we’re getting- but there’s only a few miles of transport- so its great for the environment too!

The fields we use are not sprayed with any form of pesticide/herbicide or other chemical- and we are involved in every step of the process- from deciding when to cut, to baling, loading and packing.

 

Feeding from the Ground

Recent research has shown just how bad it is for horses to eat from suspended or high placed feeders. Not only does it affect their back and neck muscles, but also has proven detrimental effects on their teeth and the digestion process.

For this reason, our feeders are all placed either low down or directly on the ground.

 

Little and Often

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To avoid negative behaviour problems such as aggression, wind-sucking and boredom, plus encourage great gut health and avoiding equine ulcers, it has been shown that forage fed little and often is the key.

We are currently trialing various slow feeding forage systems to encourage our herd to slow down their intake and enjoy eating for longer.

In addition to forage, we do feed small amounts of ‘hard-food’ for those who require additional rations. Again, this is based on locally sourced and grown feeds and includes; oats, barley and sugar-beet.

 

Barefoot

To allow our horses to live as naturally as possible, all our horses are barefoot, meaning they have no metal shoes.

We do, when required use customised plastic ‘hoof-boots’ if a horse requires some additional support without hammering nails into their hooves.

We work with a highly respected Bulgarian trimmer who competes up to national level with all her horses entirely barefoot.

To find out more about our barefoot journey see here.

 

Rugging and Clipping

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During the winter months, we work our horses less, meaning no need for clipping their long and healthy winter coats, and only rug those who on occasion require additional support to continue living out with the herd.

This means they can grow long, snuggly coats which can keep them warm and dry in temperatures down to an incredible minus 20 degrees.

We ensure they always have the option of shelter when they need it, allowing them to decide whether they want to be in or out.

We do have several outdoor rugs on stand-by throughout the winter, this means that if any horse does get cold, even with a full-winter coat- they can still live out, still enjoying the companionship of the herd.

2 thoughts on “Natural Horse Keeping in Bulgaria

  1. Pingback: Barefoot in Bulgaria | Konna Baza Sakar

  2. Pingback: Am I Too Heavy to Ride? | Konna Baza Sakar

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