The 5 Freedoms of the Horse
Article – General Interest for students
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What is it really like to be a horse in our world?
You may have heard it said that there are 5 freedoms which we must be sure any horse in our care is always provided with. Here at Lingfield we have a special place in our heart for these 5 freedoms
Only when you genuinely stop and think about these things – but without the passion of our over zealous pet ownership – can you be sure you are providing your horse with these 5 freedoms:
1. Freedom to drink when it wishes and to eat to enable it to sustain good health.
2. Freedom to move around with ease, in a comfortable environment, with shelter and with a place to rest quietly.
3. Freedom to be a horse and to have sufficient space to act naturally with others of it’s kind – like normal horses.
4. Freedom from injury, disease and pain within the bounds and capacities of the humans who care for them.
5. Freedom from fear, stress, or any sort of mental suffering.
It doesn’t take most people very long to realise that the average horse owner in UK is falling down at the second hurdle:
i.e. 2. Freedom to move around with ease in a comfortable environment.
Imagine yourself in a room a tiny bit larger than the length of your own body.
- The room is room suffiently large enough to allow space for a narrow bed & comfortable chair
- Not big enough however to walk more than 1 step or maybe 2 in a straight line (less than the average UK prison cell in fact)
- Not big enough to provide space to stretch or exercise your body.
- Now spend just a few days enclosed in such a room.
- You will be able to look out of the door/window but you will be eating, drinking, sleeping, peeing and poohing all in that one room – there is no toilet – not even a toilet area.
- How would it be ? – no REALLY think about it – how would it be?
- Perhaps you would be allowed out – but only to do a short spell of work or maybe if lucky in freedom but in an enclosed paddock – with friends and or enemies. You will not have a choice no matter who or what they are. No matter whether they are bullies or ignore you – it is not your choice.
Now the really really, strange thing here is, that the majority of people, who consider it OK to keep a horse enclosed in a stable for many hours out of 24, would not do the same thing to their dog.
Few would be happy to see their pet dog kept in a kennel with just a window allowing it to look out, but with limited, restricted and very specified freedom time outside. The time outside might be mixing with a pack of other dogs – but there may be questions about that pack to consider when we relate it to dogs (or to horses).
Would they all get on? – would it be a safe and secure ‘pack’ or would there be infighting and injuries? Would the dog feel comfortable about all of the others in the group?.
Would it be able to build friendships and ‘act like a normal dog’ if others were aggressive towards it all the time?
On the other hand, how would it act like a normal dog or make friendships if it were never allowed with the others.
Think about all this and next time you see a horse in a stable – or perhaps in a field.
Imagine you are that horse you see in that stable or field.
Consider what it might really feeling? What would it prefer?
What is that horse’s real need and how could you improve it?