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Finding the Soul of a Horse

For all the news on Joe & Kathleen's move to grassy hillside pastures
in middle Tennessee follow the New Blog

Two of the new eBook Nuggets from The Soul of a Horse

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New Video:
The Soul of a Horse Paddock Paradise - What We Did, How We Did It & Why?

View the Video of Our Herd: Dancing Barefoot
Two-and-a-half minutes that will hopefully bring a smile
and might very well inspire happier and healthier horses in your life. Beware, it's probably
a shock for those who believe pastures should be flat.

See the rest of Our Former Place

Read the cover story interview with Joe in The Horse's Hoof Magazine

Small patches of hay, scattered around the pasture (instead of one big wad all in one place) keeps the horses moving, which naturally wears their hooves and keeps their hooves flexing, creating better blood circulation, thus healthier, happier horses.

Feeding hay at ground level, which is the natural way for horses to eat (instead of a feeder at table height), keeps the respiratory system working properly. Particles, germs and viruses can easily travel all the way to the horse's filtration system which puts them in their proper place. When the head is up while eating, those same particles, germs and viruses cannot not travel a clear and open path, so they ram against the throat and embed themselves into the mucous membranes where they can stick, breed, enter the tissues, and make their way into the bloodstream.


Natural Boarding

See the Large Pasture

When we were in southern California our one-and-a-half acre natural pasture was based loosely upon Jamie Jackson's model in his book Paddock Paradise. For updates on our herd and their response to their new digs in middle Tennessee see the The Soul of a Horse Blog.

In her book, A Lifetime of Soundness, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Hiltrud Strasser says that "most of the common health problems and lamenesses afflicting domestic horses are a direct result of man-made violations of their natural lifestyle, and can be prevented or cured through a removal of the cause and a return to natural lifestyle." In nature, horses are in virtual constant motion, foraging for food, moving to water, staying ahead of predators. Because we humans are cave dwellers, we have have tried to force upon our equine partners the things we prefer. We put them alone in box stalls when they much prefer to be with the herd in wide open spaces where they can see predators coming. We make them stand on soft bedding when their natural lifestyle is a preference for hard ground and near constant movement. We restrict their movement when Mother Nature has designed them to move ten to fifteen miles a day in the wild. We make them stand in one place and eat, when in the wild they are constantly on the move. We do all sorts of things that confound their natural ability to control their own internal body temperature. We put metal shoes on them which eliminates the natural flexing of the hoof that not only cushions impact but actually pumps blood through the hoof and back up the legs, taking load off the heart, providing a better circulatory system and better overeall health (see Going Barefoot). For more on all this, read the books linked above. It's amazing stuff and so very logical. All of our horses are now barefoot and living in "Paddock Paradise."

I understand that not everyone has access to an acre or an acre-and-a-half. But everyone who really cares for their horses can figure out a better way than standing around in a box stall day in and day out. Natural boarding facilities are popping up all over the country. The more we bear down upon traditional boarding, the more natural boarding there will be. And our first two natural pastures were barely larger than the footprint of a big barn. But they worked and kept the horses moving.

"But, Joe," I've been told, "if my horse is with a herd 24/7, he will no longer love me or want to be with me."

"Then, he doesn't love you or want to be with you in the first place," I say, "because when you have properly "joined up" with your horse, as Monty Roberts teaches, you have given him the choice of being with you right from the get-go, and when your horse has made that choice on his own, he will not change his mind unless you do something that causes him to do so."

When you are with your horse, you are a herd of two, and if you have proven to her that you are a good leader and partner, she will trust you, feel safe with you, and will want to be with you.

Ours are out, with each other, virtually all of the time when they are not with us, and they are always happy to see us coming.

To take your horse barefoot in Valley Center, we recommend Dani Lloyd, Equine Foot Specialist in Temecula.To find a natural hoof practitioner in your area, go to or Or the bottom of our "barefoot" page. For natural boarding in the Ramona area, contact Rebecca Bailey at or 619-719-7903.

To build a natural pasture yourself is way easier than you think (if I can do it anyone can do it!). Often, depending upon how many horses you have, you need little more room that required for a barn (see our small pastures on the left). See Jaime's book linked above, and check out Premier 1 Fencing for Horses

Being out with the herd 24/7 is more than just being with buddies. Fifty million years of genetics have embedded within the horse psyche that being with the herd means safety. Being away from the herd creates fear and emotional stress. Being locked in a box stall does not replace the herd or give your horse a feeling of safety. Nor does it allow the opportuinity for movement that makes for a much healthier horse. In the wild a horse will often cover ten to fifteen miles a day.

Our larger natural pasture (about an acre and a half), was created inside a perimeter chain link fence, utilizing an inexpensive
Premiere 1 electric fence system that creates a big circle around a smaller circle in which hay is distributed morning and evening.
The three horses in the foreground above are on the lower side of the circle, the two in the background
are on the upper side of the circle. They pretty much move around this large circle all day long.

The part that's not green and is virtually straight up and down is the natural pasture seen from afar.


Click any of these three photos to see a larger image


Find the horses. Five are in the photo.

The yellow dots follow the outside electric fence. The teal dots follow the inner electric fence. The horses have no access to areas inside the teal circle, nor outside the yellow circle.

See the rest of Our Place

View the New Video of Our Herd: Dancing Barefoot

For all the info on our horses' transition to 31 acres of hillside pasture in middle Tennessee see:
The Soul of a Horse Blog


Camp Horse Camp, LLC -

The Soul of a Horse Trailer

Here We Go Again

2 Mustangs from the Wild - 1st Trip into a New Paddock

First Romp in the Pasture for Saffron
& Stormy

Relationship First!

Our California
Paddock Paradise

Our Rescue Miss Mouse Two Years Later

Why Our Horses Eat from the Ground

Why Our Horses Are Barefoot

Benji Gets a New Baby... Horse

Dancing Barefoot

Interview with Cash

Movie Memories

More Videos

Day 1 Video
with Noelle

Day 18 Video
with Noelle

Day 46 Video
with Noelle

Day 70 Video
with Noelle

Behind the Scenes
Benji Off the Leash

Parents Speak Out

The Original Benji
Movie Trailer

Benji Off the Leash

BOTL Movie Clip
Food for the Worms

BOTL Movie Clip
Not Now!

BOTL Movie Clip
Benji Finally Gets It

The Blog