We keep our horses outside year round. Mares foal in the pastures without human intervention and do not leave the foal’s side for the first two weeks, even just a few meters. Gradually they start participating in games with their peers. Watching foals frolic and play is better than a nature documentary. Some of the dams seem to engage in “modern parenting” and allow their foals to play with the others or explore the world around on their own after the first two weeks. Other dams, though, do not allow even a two-month-old foal to wander a few steps away.
Foals first come into contact with humans for tagging at about 6-7 months old. We sedate them with Domosedan before tagging in order to avoid stressing the foals unnecessarily. We wean the foals as late as possible and do the whole group at once. We put the fillies in a herd of older mares and put the colts in with the geldings. We do not stroke or touch the foals or put halters on them… The herd provides them with the best possible upbringing. That’s why you will have a hard time finding kickers or biters among our horses.
We start training at three years old, when we tame them (they are truly wild horses that really won’t let you touch them), teach them to accept a halter, walk on a lead, lift their legs, etc. Do not expect any cruel taming of panicked horses like in the Wild West, though. It all takes place calmly and quietly. We really enjoy our first moments spent together. The goal is to get calm horses and not terrified neurotics. A horse can handle a full workload after its fifth year, when all the parts of its body are finished developing.
We do not touch or wash the horses unnecessarily. In winter we feed them on high-quality “horse” hay, which we scatter around the pastures in measured doses twice a day. You will not find bundles of hay where horses can stand around and overeat all day on our farm. In the wild, horses have to travel long distances to find food, and by scattering the feed around the pastures, we make them do the same thing. It is more work than bringing in a bundle of hay every couple of days, of course, but the horses look great. We add concentrated fodder based on the rations for individual age groups.
After every feeding we clean up the excrement and leftover feed with special machinery and then smooth everything out with a field drag. We carry out a regular parasitological analysis as a matter of course. You could almost say that the veterinarian only comes to see us for the coffee and cookies.