At IFEEL we dare to ask questions that rock the traditional ways of keeping and working with horses. Rather than assume what can the horse do for us, we might better ask what we can do that is in service to the spirit of the horse?
Authentic, congruent, collaborative relationships with domesticated horses can only occur if we acknowledge them as sentient beings and respect their right to live according to their innate needs. All IFEEL horses live as a herd on tracked paddocks which allows them to roam freely as a natural herd, 24/7, based on the concepts of ‘the blueprint’ of the wild horse, developed by Jamie Jackson.
Herds have complex social structures and, like us, horses need their community in order to learn from each other and to feel safe. In the wild the horse is born into this structure and his place within it is confirmed with every movement of the herd. When observing our horses on the tracked pastures or woodland walkways they move as a herd, often in single file as they would in the wild. The leaders in front choose where to go (often the mares, but sometimes the curious and bold younger geldings), when to go and which way to go according to the needs of the individual and of the herd in the moment. The last horse at the back is often a mature gelding acting as the stallion of the herd, moving the stragglers on whilst keeping a calm, mindful awareness ready for potential danger signals. All the horses have a role and purpose within our well established herd (with many together here for over a decade). We observe and enjoy their nuanced characteristics and notice individual and herd habits and tendencies, be it the usual suspects being the first to seek water, food or shelter or maybe a strong drive for initiating play for learning. Horses are very curious and benefit from a stimulating and enriched environment, both socially and in terms of the land they inhabit.
The ‘blueprint’ of the wild horse model promotes health and this subject is the focal point for much discussion and debate in the horse world today. Veterinary studies show that a horse’s digestion and cardiac systems only function properly when they are moving constantly. In the wild they will roam for many miles per day.
The model also promotes behaviours that allow horses to develop their confidence by naturally activating emotional agility and thus nurturing mentally balanced horses. The relationships and social, affiliative interactions between herd members, encourage the horses to move around the land, keeping them physically active. The herd’s movements establish and maintain social bonds that evolve in fluid rhythms, dramatically reducing squabbles and injury. Horses can always move onwards, away from each other on a looped track, instead of being caught in a corner of a field, again, reducing potential conflict.
The horse in its natural state has survived for close to 55 million years without human support. By studying the lifestyle and environment of the few remaining free roaming horses and applying it in the domestic setting we stand to influence profoundly the future of the horse/human relationship.
We invite you to look into the eyes of these horses and see what a free, spiritually connected, emotionally fit horse looks like. We may then have the rare opportunity to glimpse the true essence of these majestic beings.
IFEEL upholds high standards of horse welfare and well-being as defined by SAFE Professionals ethics and codes of conduct.
Biodynamic Land Management, Feed, Natural Hoof & Vibrational Therapies
Biodynamic land management is a self-sustaining organic practice using homeopathic potency and herbal preparations relevant to the needs of the land and the animals living on it.
Horses need natural grasses and herbs. Biodynamic land ideally produces all the resources needed to feed the animals and land ecologically and effectively.
Biodynamic land management complements the Paddock Paradise model pioneered by Jamie Jackson. The land in the centre of the track can either be saved for winter grazing or baled into hay.
Natural Hoof Care
The horse is an ancient creature. Since their domestication around six thousand years ago the horse has had to adapt to many man made conveniences, including stables and as a direct result: horse shoes.
The wild horse travels on average about 20 miles a day. This movement naturally trims the hooves and stimulates more growth. The hooves absorb the concussion and weight of the horse through a subtle flexing motion which aides circulation to the lower limbs. This gentle flexing conditions the hooves and binds the cells. This is a perfect self-maintaining design that has been successful for 55 million years!
Horse shoes came about with the practice of stabling horses. Unable to cover the desired amount of ground for natural wear the hooves grow long and loose their tough outer calloused layer. Combine this with unnatural foods and the hooves can literally fall apart.
By returning domesticated horses to a more natural lifestyle where they can move freely over varied terrain and eat natural foods the hooves simultaneously improve.
Complementary Medicine Working Alongside Veterinary Science
Unnecessary toxicity in feeds, synthetic medicines, horse care products and accessories are deemed to be harmful to horses, the earth and ultimately to us. We use vibrational medicines such as homeopathy and subtle energy body release treatments to work alongside allopathic veterinary practices. We recommend that horses are free to self select a range of safe herbs which is an efficient, effective and non invasive form of treatment.