The premise of a natural boarding model is to provide safe, humane, living conditions which use the horse’s natural instincts to stimulate and facilitate movement and other behaviors that are essential to a biodynamically sound horse.
Based upon numerous studies of the wild horse, research shows that horses will thrive physically, mentally and emotionally if kept in an environment that takes into consideration the most basic elements of their natural world by situating and propelling them into forward movement. According to Jaime Jackson, who wrote the book "Paddock Paradise, A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding" and who founded the American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners (AANHCP) in 2002, the hoof is adaptively cross-linked to the nexus of natural behavior and movement and can be restored to its native integrity and soundness by putting horses in such a simulated natural environment.
Natural horse boarding is unlike a traditional situation with stalls, small paddocks and/or lush green pastures (founder traps!), and is designed to encourage movement through the creation of a series of paths with a quantity of various stimuli such as strategically placed feeding spots and watering holes that are incorporated within or alongside the track in order to activate curiosity or movement.
Natural horse care practices include elements of natural hoof care, encouraging a herd mentality, providing small amounts of food strategically placed and available throughout the day in order to encourage foraging behavior, providing and maintaining a watering hole near or at the source of drinking water, behaviors related to horses as prey animals, relative dominance (pecking order), grooming within the herd, resting and sleeping behaviors. - Paddock Paradise
The aerial photo above shows the Horses of Course facility, a 2.14-acre ranch in California with pasture in front, the house in the center, barn with runs, round pen, smaller turnout and arena in back adjacent to trails. Opening the runs creates a maze and there are Freedom Feeder small mesh hay bags in each of the stalls and runs encouraging the horses to meander all through the property to eat, play or just hang out in the shade together. This more than doubles the space if they were kept in individual stalls. All the gates can still be closed if individual areas are needed.