Horse Grazing Characteristics – (HOW DO HORSES LIVE IN A NATURAL SITUATION?)


In this video, the third in the series,
we’re going to look at how horses live the wild, or at least in a free living
situation. It’s important to look at what horses do naturally so you can aim to
provide at least some of those important ‘lifestyle’ features for your horses. It’s
actually easier than you think to do this, stick with this video series and
you’ll learn how. Please be sure to give this video the thumbs up and if you’d like to become a more knowledgeable horse owner make sure you subscribe to
this channel and hit the bell to be notified when a new video becomes
available every week. As you learned in the previous video they eat a very high fiber, low energy diet, this means that they have to graze for long periods each
day in order to get enough calories. An important fact is that they tend to
spend their grazing time filling up on fiber rather than seeking higher
nutrient but lower fiber plants, remember about the acid in the stomach, they’re
constantly aiming to buffer that acid by eating lots of fiber. Free-living horses
live in a herd and are on the alert much of the time, but alert behavior is shared
between adult herd members so that individuals are not exhausted, a big
advantage to living in a herd is that individuals can take it in turns to
relax because there are many eyes and ears to look out for danger. Remember horses live in what’s called a ‘home range’, their home range contains all of the resources that they need such as feed, water, shade and shelter. Remember,
living in a home range means that they stay in one area, even though that area
may cover hundreds of square miles and it also means eating the plants
throughout the year from very fresh and green in the spring to more fibrous in
the winter. In an area with plentiful resources the
home range is relatively small, perhaps only a few square kilometers or miles,
but when the resources are more scarce the home range will be much larger,
perhaps hundreds of square kilometers or miles. Wild or free-living horses can
cope with a variety of climates ranging from very cold through to hot, but they
struggle with very hot, humid climates. Horses do very well in dry, cold weather,
they can graze and dig in the snow for food, their high-fiber diet keeps them
warm, because as fiber is digested it gives off lots of heat, in winter their food source is even higher in fiber than it is in
summer, because the plants become more fibrous as they age, and this helps to
keep them warmer still. By the way there are three reasons why horses don’t do well in hot humid weather, 1. The larger the body size of an animal the longer it takes to warm up but also the longer it takes to cool down. 2. A horse relies on sweating to cool down and this doesn’t work very well in high humidity. 3. As already mentioned, a horse’s diet is very high in fiber and this gives off
heat as it digests. Please comment below with what you’ve found interesting about this video so far. In the rain the natural coat pattern of the horse wicks the water off the body. Coping with temperature extremes uses up a lot of that stored energy or body fat, so it’s necessary for them to gain weight
through the summer so they can survive through the winter, by the end of winter
they’ll have lost quite a bit of weight, this is a natural cycle for free-living
horses, to gain weight through the summer and lose it through the winter. Mares
produce a foal most years, in fact they usually produce a foal 2 out of
every 3 years on average, this uses up huge amounts of energy, as they can be feeding a foal at foot and pregnant at the same time. Stallions work hard to
keep their band of mares together and to service mares during the breeding
season. Colts use up lots of energy learning how
to be stallions. All of the members of the herd actively take part in daily
herd life. A free living horse doesn’t tend to live as long as a domestic horse
so this is a downside of being a free-living horse if you like. How long they
live is dependent on how fibrous the plants are that they eat, as these wear teeth down, once the teeth are worn out completely the horse can no longer
survive. So, free-living horses have a low energy diet for much of the year while
at the same time they’re constantly moving, they’re on the alert, they’re
coping with a range of temperatures and they’re reproducing, and they’re never
wormed, have their hooves trimmed, have their teeth attended to, or ar rugged.
Horses have had 10 million years to get it right, we need to be careful when we
think we know better than nature. In this video, the third in the series, you’ve
learned about how horses live in the wild or free-living situation. This is
important information so that you can aim to provide at least some of those
important lifestyle features for your horse or horses. As I said at the
beginning of this video it’s easier than you think. Make sure you watch the rest of this video series and you’ll learn how you
can use this knowledge to create a better LIFESTYLE for your horses. If
you’ve enjoyed this video please let us know by liking it, subscribe and share
with your fellow horsy friends and please leave a comment with what you
found interesting. Make sure you look out for the next video in this series
there’s a link below, you can get the whole mini course about horse grazing
characteristics for free, see the link. If you’re interested in learning more about
better horse management by learning about what is really important to your
horse we have a private Facebook group, but do the course first and see if it
interests you…


2 Responses

  1. Equiculture and Horse Riders Mechanic

    September 3, 2019 6:21 pm

    I hope you like this video! This is the THIRD in the series – Horse Grazing Characteristics – Part 3 – HOW DO HORSES LIVE IN A NATURAL SITUATION? – ‘Lifestyle’ factors for wild/free living-horses.

    You can skip ahead and get the whole mini-course if you like – and start learning about the very important things your horse really wants you to know!

    Please let us know what you think by commenting below 🙂

  2. Stuart Myers

    October 16, 2019 11:39 am

    Horses have evolved to survive in many different landscapes and conditions and are very efficient at what they do. We should all learn more about what horses actually need to ensure we manage them well.


Leave a Reply