Natural Oriented Boarding Centers for Horses: brief introduction and list of some Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Centers spread around the world (except Germany).
Premise: this section was previously referred as "Paddock Paradise section". Since in the last few years different types of natural oriented horse boarding solutions have been developed, I have found more appropriate to adjust the title.
Note: You can see the "Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Centers Section Rest of the World" and the "Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Centers Section Germany". The only difference between both pages is related to the different listed centers.
What is a Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Center?
It is a center where (domestic) horses are kept in an environment and conditions which is as closest as possible to the one where wild horses live. Even if the definition sounds pretty easy, in the reality it is not because hundreds and hundreds of factors are involved and we need to consider and take care of.
Many (or maybe all) Natural Oriented Horse Boarding centers have started by following Jaime Jackson Paddock Paradise guide. For this reason I will very often refer to the Paddock Paradise. In addition, the "Paddock Paradise" system/track is the one which is better documented.
A good definition of "Paddock Paradise" can be found at AANHCP: Paddock Paradise® is a “management or boarding concept” based upon the lifestyles of the naturally healthy U.S. Great Basin wild horses.
Paddock Paradise Guide by Jaime Jackson
The Paddock Paradise Guide is currently available in the following languages:
Ideas for building a Natural Oriented Horse Boarding center.
An option in case we want to provide entire big bales of hay (with a haynet on top), preventing the rain to fall onto the hay.
Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Centers around the world (except Germany).
Below you can find a list of Paddock Paradise, Koppel Paradies, Paddock Trail, etc.
The number of Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Centers has tremendously grown (at least in Europe) in the last two years! That´s good and hopefully one not far away day everybody of us will have the chance to find one or more Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Centers within our neighbourhood!
In the list of below it is usually reported the web link (either website, facebook page or both) and the address of the barn. These facilities are often referred as "Paddock Paradise", "Koppel Paradies", "Paddock Trail". In many cases it is just a matter of label. They all have in common the idea to provide our domestic horses an environment which is as closest as possible to their natural environment (like the wild horses have)."
I believe it is not the "label" what we have to look for! It is rather the environment offered to the horses what really makes the difference. The fact that a barn is labeled as Paddock Paradise, Koppel Paradies, Paddock Trail does not mean too much. Up to now as far as I know there is no association/organization/entity which defines standards or requirements a barn has to fulfil. ... and in cases standards would be defined I would still give a look to see how things are set up prior bringing my horse to any place. For example sometimes I see that barns have in their programs/offer a Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Center and they also offer stalls (boxes)! How can it be possible? Is it just a matter of business? In other words, since there is demand there must be an offer? How many of these people who run such barns and how much do they really believe in the Natural Oriented Horse Boarding concept? I would think twice prior moving my horse to such places! On the other end it is also true that it is not easy to find what is really good. Many times we cannot even search for an optimal solution but the only chance we have so far is to opt for the less painful one.
There are several ways how we can realize whether a barn offers our horses an environemnt which allows them to be sound.
We can start by reading the "Paddock Paradise" book written by Jaime Jackson. This is an excellent book about the concept of keeping horses in a natural environment. It is a real manual which describes in details how a Paddock Paradise can be built. A very interesting article to read is also the following: click on this link. The author, Dr. Juliet Getty lists 5 important points wild horses can teach us concerning horse management.
Beside the reading, we can ourselves evaluate the environment our horses live in and check whether the primarily and important aspects are met or not. Maybe we can even introduce some improvements. For example, for what concerns the Paddock Paradise suggestions, I would try to find a better solution rather than using electric fences. I think electric fences are good but they can be very dangerous in some situations, in particular if horses should remain entangled in the electric wire (up to now I have not seen anywhere better solutions). By the way, for the solution it is required experience and knowledge and it is higly recommended to carefully evaluate prior taking actions. On the other hand, for doing a check there are several elements we can simply and easily consider and evaluate:
Do horses move at least 15 km/day? If not, there might be something wrong! ... wrong means we did not create a proper environment! To check it is very easy! Use a GPS data logger - i.e.: Wintec website. You can be able to see how much your horses move, where, when and how fast!
Do horses have free hay access (24 hours/day)? Is the hay always available, 24 hours/day and not even 10 minutes/day unavailable? If not, this can lead to several big problems.
Is the hay provided in big amount, for example entire open bales? This can lead to several issues too! Good compromises in order to emulate the horse natural environment are the hay nets or spreading the hay in small amounts all around the track.
Does each horse have in every "feeding station" at least one spot where he can eats hay? If not, this can be a source of very unnatural stress, unhealthy and not helpful for the horse. Having more spots than needed it is a very good way to emulate their natural environment. This is particularly true when there are heards with more than 15 - 20 horses.
Is the hay of good quality? The feeding plays a key role in the horses´s health. A poor quality food can lead to a disaster! It is not so difficult to realize how good the hay is! Beside the very common checks like smell check, touch check, eye check, all good checks althouh could be unreliable, we can collect some hay and send it to be analyzed. If this is done in a systematic way, we can be able to realize pretty well how good is the hay we are offering our horses. Food (for horses) with high content of sugar, fructan and starch is the first indicator of a poor quality food! Additional and very detailed info about how to collect the hay can be found under: foragetesting.org, youtube link How to Sample Hay for Analysis, youtube link How To Take A Hay Sample For Analysis, youtube link How To Take a Representative Forage Sample. Even if the concept of analyzing the hay is not very common in Europe, it should still be possible to find labs. As example, one lab in USA:
Is the ground where horses move mixture? This means hard ground, soft ground, sand, ground with stones, rocks, pebbles? If not, that´s not an ideal solution. A ground too soft or even worse too muddy might not help to keep the horses´ hooves sound.
Do horses have enough free space to eat while still mantaining the distance required by the pecking order?
Are there in the barn, especially where horses have to eat or drink unnatural sources of stress? A very good example of very bad situation and solution is where horses in order to get food or water must go into narrow, confined or even "caged" areas surrounded by metal tubes and bars and eat under the rythmus of "automated" systems. This is one of the most unnatural and poorest (poor even if very expensive!) solution we can provide to horses. Metal, tubes, bars, cages and automation do not belong to the horse natural environment.
Do horses live in areas full of concrete and rubber mats? Again, none of these material belongs to the horse world!
Do horses suffer from stress of being too often surrounded by chemical products? Drugs, medication, detergent, etc.? Either because they ingest, get injected, touch, smell chemicals. If so, consider that such a stuff very often won´t help horses either!
Do you see the barn owner is really determined and oriented to run a Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Center? If this is not the case, better looking for another barn! Once the Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Center has been built, it´s not all done! Horses are live creatures, with the time things change, this means that there must be a strong desire to improve, to gain knowledge, to be good observant and if/when needed take appropriate actions. If this is not the case, it will be very hard to offer horses a decent environment. You will be fighting all the time to get solutions implemented while on the other side there is no room for such discussions. In the worst case actions might even be taken in the wrong direction with the result and disadvantage to have produced more damage than benefit!
In the list of below I have removed most of those barns which in Germany are often referred as "Aktivstall", "Offenstall", "Laufstall", "Bewegunsstall". In the past I was supporting this idea, at least I thought it was better than a stall (box). Pretty soon, after I have seen some of them running, I have realized how unnatural is the environment offered to horses in (many of) these places. Eventually, by considering pro and contra I do not really know whether it is healthier for horses to live in such constructions or in the stalls (boxes).
In many barns there is just a small area where horses spend the majority of the time. It is not rare to see horses with no free access to hay, on the contrary, in order to get food they are forced to go through very narrow corridors built with iron tubes and metal bars and possibly spending their feeding time "caged" in metal constructions with metal parts in movement and driven by automated systems. I find this program very poor and very unnatural for horses. Nothing of what you find in such places can be considered natural or an "emulation" of the horse natural environment. Metal, automation, doors, sharp parts, concrete, rubber: none of these elements is natural for horses!!!
Personally I find those farms nice only as lego® toys for kids!
When searching for a barn try to understand by considering how your horse will be living 24 hours/day in the barn and not just the few hours per week you are going to visit your horse. I would also not pay too much attention on searching for facilities like restaurant, Café or nice chairs!!!
Go around and see if at the barn people take really care about horses! Look if there around are nails, iron wires, old iron heaps, too many sharp spots around, if the barn owners have bad habits like and in primis, leaving horses with halters on (which by the way is one of the major cause of bad accident in horses).
This is an example of a very dangerous construction where humans are responsible when accidents happen!
A detail of the spot where a few horses got injured.
I would like to emphasize one more time that the Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Centers listed below are very likely non "certified" centers! It is up to you to find out how a facility is compliant with the Natural Oriented Horse Boarding Center concept or how the structure can help your horse to be healthy.
You can find a long list of documents, results of studies and researches at the following link: SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES and HORSE MANAGEMENT TOPICS.That reading can be very useful in order to realize how important are all horse management aspects.
Ecurie Du Rié on
Soutar´s Highland Farm, North Bay, Ontario, Canada on
Paddock Paradise Czech website and on
Address: Lojovice, Stredoceský Kraj, Czech Republic (CZ)
HORSES' HEAVEN Paddock Paradise
Address: HORSES' HEAVEN, 66 CHEMIN DES BRUYERES GOSSES, 27560 EPREVILLE EN LIEUVIN, France (FR)
Chantemerle Paddock Paradise
Address: Chantemerle, Chemin de Chantemerle, 16570 Marsac, France (FR)
Dame Marie Paddock Paradise website and on
Address: Dame Marie, 85660 St Philbert de Bouaine, France (FR)
Centro equestre Bosco Della Serraglia A.S.D. website and on
Address: Centro equestre Bosco Della Serraglia A.S.D., Via Bosco della Serraglia n.26, 31030 Dosson di Casier, Treviso, Italy (IT)
Address: Cascina Soleverde - Strada della fonte - 15021 Alfiano Natta, Alessandria, Italy (IT)
Paddock Trail Lehhaldehof website and on
Address: Natural Horsemanship Coin, Camino de Casarobonella, La Jara, Coin, 29100 Málaga, Spain (ES)
PaDDoCK TRaiL STuBeR
Address: PaDDoCK TRaiL STuBeR, Hohenrainstr. 10, 8564 Gunterswilen, Switzerland (CH)
Paddock Trail Gunterswilen
Address: Paddock Trail Gunterswilen, Isabelle Stuber, Hohenrainstr. 10, 8564 Gunterswilen, Schweiz/Switzerland (CH)
Paddock Paradise Arnhem, NL website and on
Address: De Paardenmaat, Rijkerswoerdestraat 21, Arnhem, The Netherlands
Paddock Paradise at Slichtenhorst, The Netherlands
Paddock Paradise in Haarle, The Netherlands on
United Kingdom (UK)/England
Fountain Cottage Paddock Paradise, UK
CloverRose Equine Ltd website and on
Rockley Farm, UK
Progressive Horse Paddock Paradise, UK
Equine Market Watch Paddock Paradise, UK
Happy Horse Healthy Planet, UK website and on
Natural Horse Centre, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, UK
Worthy Soles Horse Retirement, Tehachapi, California, USA website and on
Lauren Cartwrights Missouri Paddock Paradise Missouri, USA
Dutch Hollow Acres website and on
Address: Dutch Hollow Acres Lindsay LaBella, Avon, NY 14414, USA
Barefoot Hills Ranch, Franktown CO, USA on
Swiss National Stud Farm
Red Sofa - Backyard Paddock Paradise
Manege Slichtenhorst, NL
Paddock Paradise Nederland. Manege Slichtenhorst.
pensionstalling Manege Slichtenhorst.
Manege Slichtenhorst; Paddock Paradise
Paddock Paradise Fountain Cottage, UK
Paddock Paradise Ecurie du Rié, Belgium
Islænderhusets paddock paradise, Denmark
Dutch Hollow Acres Paddock Paradise, NY, USA
The Soul of a Horse Paddock Paradise - What We Did, How We Did It & Why?