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All of a domestic horses' basic needs are determined by our management practices. These practices may range from horses being kept in a fully managed environment to horses being kept in an environment that is as natural as possible. Whilst basic needs are common to all species, the nature and provision of them is species specific – different for each species. This means that we have to meet the needs that have developed through the evolution of that particular species. Providing management solutions in the right context ensures that basic needs and the ability to express natural behaviour are properly addressed.

So our understanding of what constitutes a basic need is essential. 

How we interpret basic needs and what we provide to meet them is extremely important and directly influences a horses' entire life; from how he perceives the world, his personality, emotional state, interactions, and responses to what is asked of him.

The choices we make as to how horses are managed determines whether the basic needs of the horse, as an equine species, are being met. Each situation and each horse is individual, and there are aspects of management that will benefit from being tailored to address this individuality.

Equine basic needs fall into these categories.

  • Grazing
  • Shelter
  • Fun
  • Friends
  • Freedom
  • Comfort
  • Safety

We use the words ethical and high standards to show a level of care above the basic level, but we must remember that ethics and standards are part of meeting the basic needs of equines, not an added extra. For example we may say that we are being ethical by ensuring the horses in our care have turn out time. However, this is a basic need of the equine species, not an ethical decision. Assessing each aspect of equine management and changing or adjusting to provide basic needs is the future for the welfare of our equine friends.

For detailed information on each aspect of equine management, please click on the links in the menu. These will take you to website pages where you will be able to download a PDF to use in your business and your educational goals. The menu will be updated as the pages are added. 

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