Natural Boarding

Horse Boarding System That Works

Paddock Paradise is a natural horse boarding concept that imitates the lifestyle of wild, free-roaming horses living naturally in the U.S. Great Basin. The concept has revolutionised horse management practices worldwide and offers solutions to the three main causes of death in domestic horses. Natural boarding provides humane living conditions to horses in domestication; allowing horses the freedom of movement, socialisation, and safe forage. Instead of pasture, horses travel on a grass-less track that provides freedom of movement, and a mud-free environment all year round. The concept incorporates a system of tracks that resembles a “home range” observed in wild horse populations. Free to move naturally, horses form small bands that separate and mingle across the track system in search of forage. Feeding stations are set up along the tracks with various grass hays available on an ad-lib basis. Rugged ground helps to stimulate natural hoof growth, and conditions the hooves.

Life on a track stimulates horses’ natural instincts of curiosity, where horses move from one activity to another. Enrichment on the track can incorporate a hill, a woodland track, treat stations, different types of surfaces, or a sand pit for dust bath. Where possible, the Paddock Paradise boarding system incorporates a water hole, strategically positioned farther away from the feeding stations to modulate the amount of movement. In the wild a water hole is an important point of gathering, apart from quenching thirst, family bands meet by the water for socialisation or mating. Domesticated horses can gather by the water to muddy their coats, cool down, condition their feet, or engage in play. The natural boarding system is designed to encourage natural behaviours and offer the best possible lifestyle in domestication. It eliminates the need for stabling, the use of horse walkers, and sole confinement. Herd dynamic drives the movement, which significantly reduces the risk of injuries. Frustration and aggressive behaviours diminish when horses are given an opportunity to socialise and pair bond. Play fighting, and relative dominance observed in Paddock Paradise are all part of the social order. When provided with companionship and herd life, horses fulfil their instinctual and social need as an animal of prey. Then the horsemanship can be pursued in harmony when horses’ basic needs are met.

What are the benefits of Natural Horse Boarding?

  • specie appropriate lifestyle

  • 24/7 turnout and socialisation

  • safe forage

  • healthy herd dynamic,

  • mentally stable horses are safer to be around

  • promotes natural behaviours

  • improves physical condition

  • no need for shoes, remedial or otherwise

  • horse is able to grow healthy and strong hooves

  • less frequent trimming

  • ideal for horses suffering from lameness and metabolic disorders

  • weight management for horses struggling with weight loss or weight gain

  • more effective parasite management

  • gentler on the land management

  • uses a relatively small percentage of land per horse

  • grass paddocks can be used for hay

  • mud free environment

  • minimises costs associated with medical intervention and treatment

  • ideal for rewilding schemes

  • encourages biodiversity

  • growing demand for natural boarding, and rehabilitation facilities

How Do We KnowThat Paddock Paradise Works?

The principles of the Four Pillars of Natural Horse Care have been applied and tested by Jaime Jackson and Jill Willis at AANHCP Headquarters in Lompoc between 2010 – 2018. The research conducted in Lompoc Paddock Paradise provided data consistent with the data gathered by Jackson during his research at BLM Corrals in Litchfield (The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild, 1992). A photo library can be accessed on their social media page and their website. Paddock Paradise is a groundbreaking model for horse boarding and management from the perspective of equine welfare.

AANHCP Headquarters, Lompoc, CA Paddock Paradise, 2010 - 2018, Photograph: Jaime Jackson

Paddock Paradise Revolution

The world is changing fast. We change the way we live, we change the way we work, and with new understanding, countless people are improving the lives of horses in their care by providing humane living conditions. The Paddock Paradise boarding concept took off right after the publication of the book Paddock Paradise: Guide to Natural Horse Boarding in 2005 and its application is visible in various forms. The concept has gained momentum and the growing demand for more natural boarding conditions is larger than what is currently available in the market.  Application of the ideas presented in the book proves to be more troublesome due to the difference in surfaces commonly available in temperate climates, where the ground is softer and grass culture is prevalent. Mud poses the greatest challenge and danger besides dangers associated with an unnatural diet. Surfacing of tracks seems to be the best and most viable option, however high upfront costs and uncertainty around obtaining planning permission pose a “barrier of entry”. Despite the limitations, landowners are leading the way in creating natural boarding for horses. Paddock Paradise boarding facilities are living proof that horse needs can be met, and human wants can be satisfied. 

Simple Paddock Paradise track system set up in the UK, with access to 24/7 movement, forage, and companionship. 


Natural Boarding Consultation

Do you want to learn how to design, and set up a successful Paddock Paradise livery? 

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We can arrange a time to focus on designing your Paddock Paradise boarding facility or look more closely at the corrections in the equine diet.

Resources on Natural Boarding

  • Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding (2005) J. Jackson, J. Jackson Publishing
  • articles