The open stable has found its way into the equestrian community for a long time. Here the animals can let off steam and move around as they please. However, such an open paddock can quickly become boring – this is where the active stable comes into play. We explain what distinguishes it and how it works!
Attitude Close to Nature
As is customary in the open stable, the active stable is kept as close as possible to the natural living conditions of the horses. Automatic feeders offer a balanced diet, the constant proximity to conspecifics promotes friendships and the large exercise area encourages exercise.
Pure Adventure in the Active Stable
Unfortunately, our horses have often become a bit comfortable and don’t go too far in the pasture either. That is why the Aktivstall has made it its business to encourage our four-legged friends to exercise. This basically means that there are many different stations (e.g. lying area, watering, and feeding stations) that are positioned as far away from each other as possible. So the horses have to travel quite a distance to reach them – just like in the wild.
What Does the Concept Bring?
The result? Visibly more balanced and healthier horses. Computer-controlled feeding in particular significantly reduces the risk of gastric ulcers. Lameness and the breakdown of muscles are also prevented by the diverse range of exercise.
Rules of the Active Stall
- Keeping as a herd (especially make sure that the horses are compatible with each other).
- Use of computer technology for feeding and the associated regular control (keyword: do all eat?).
- Generous lying areas with enough space for all animals.
- Several drinking troughs with fresh water in different places in the active stable.
- Long distances between the areas and sufficient freedom of movement.
- Well-kept facilities with meadows and not too much mud (at best, several paddocks can be switched between).
Possible Problems of the Active Stall
The active stall differs from the free and active stall primarily through the use of automatic feeders. These can be a practical addition, as a transponder system gives each horse exactly the portion of concentrated and roughage that is allocated to it. Unfortunately, however, there are often problems with these machines – especially when they are getting used to them. Here it is important to introduce the horses to the stand yourself at the beginning and to familiarize them with the principle of feeding. Usually, the animals understand it after a few days and help themselves. Nevertheless, it is important to check on a daily basis that all horses are eating!
In addition, problems can arise if too many horses are kept in too small a space or if there are too few eating and drinking places. An unbalanced herd can also be problematic – it is good here if there is enough space to avoid rivalries and pull the herd apart.
Muddy Floors and Protection From Rain
Another question many horse owners ask themselves is that of the mud. A paddock that is in constant use will inevitably be muddy after heavy rain – a source of thrush and other diseases. In order to avoid this, only one of several areas should be freely accessible at a time, so that the others can be used. In the case of continuous rain or snowfall, an additional stable system with protected boxes is also recommended.
Active Stable in Winter
The active stable can also be a good keeping method in winter. During the cold season, however, make sure that the nights do not get too frosty. Here it is important to still have indoor boxes available that you can use if the temperatures drop too low. Alternatively, a combination with a playpen in a hall is also suitable – where the animals can move freely at night and still stay warm in the closed, weather-protected area.
Get Newcomers Used to the Circumstances
Getting a horse used to and getting used to an active stable can take several months. During this time, the four-legged friends are particularly restless and excited. You have to get used to the new surroundings and the possibility of constant exercise. This can become a problem when the fluctuation is quite high and the change is frequent – this creates constant unrest in the herd.
So it makes sense for newcomers to slowly get used to their newfound freedom. Horseboxes directly at the paddock is best suited for this. Here the newcomers can get an idea of their surroundings in the first few days and get to know the new group from a distance (and near). Little by little they are then left together with (always different) horses. They can carefully sniff each other for a few hours each day before they all live together in the active stable.
Conclusion: Active Stable – a Good Alternative?
The active stable has a lot to offer (also compared to the conventional open stable). He attaches great importance to keeping horses as natural as possible – this includes constant feeding, exercising, and a strong relationship with fellow dogs in the herd. If it is properly cared for, the active stable is a true paradise for horses. However, it should never be the only form of stable – closed boxes or a weather-resistant indoor area are mandatory in order to be prepared for autumn and winter!