As discussed under 'Benefits of Natural Feeding', feeding horses more in line with their natural situation can help to prevent physical, digestive and behavioural problems. This table illustrates how the natural environment is different from conventional feeding practice and what health problems are associated with it.
|Natural Environment||Common Yard Practice||Associated Problems|
|Unlimited Feed||Regular bucket feeds||Compulsive/stereotypic behaviour; stomach ulcers|
|Available food is low in energy, sugar and starch, but high in fibre.||Many feeds are high-energy, low in fibre, and high in sugar and starch.||Obesity, compulsive/stereotypic behaviour; stomach ulcers; colic; laminitis.|
|Wild horses eat from the ground.||Feed is placed in mangers and hung in hay nets.||Neck and back pain; development of hooks and sharp edges on teeth; respiratory problems.|
|Horses are free to enjoy gentle movement, with the occasional trot or canter||Many horses are stabled for long hours, then have short bursts of high intensity exercise.||Joint problems; tendon problems; muscular stiffness; tightness and weakness which can result in pain and reduced function.|
|The air in the great outdoors is fresh and clean||Stables can be dusty||Respiratory problems such as recurrent airway obstruction|
|Horses live in a herd||Horses may be stabled in solitude away from other horses||Stress, which can lead to compulsive or stereotypic behaviour; aggression; stomach ulcers|