Back to nature
At Sun Dance Ranch all the horses are kept as natural as possible. They are never apart in a small stable but are all living in a herd. They are matching really well together! It is wonderful to see how the natural order of precedence among the horses takes place and how they educate each other.
The horses live day and night in the herd and they are outside all year. Of course they have hiding stables and shelters. They have a large paddock, stable and there is always a shelter available with hay, water and minerals/salt blocks. They can choose if they want to be inside or outside, but they all prefer to be outdoor, summer and winter and in all different weather conditions!
They always have access to several big fields and forests with little rivers, lakes and hills, so they live as naturally as possible. This way they really can be a HORSE and they also learn to feel secure with the rough terrain! The ranch horses are very calm because they live their life very close to their natural way of life. They are feeling good and that’s something you will notice. They really like to work for you! You’ll be amazed by what they can, dare and how they deal with the terrain.
Because they are so nice and calm and feel happy here, all horses are ridden with a side-pull instead of with an iron bit. Of course this is only possible if they are well-behaved and listen to ” neck reining ” and respond and on the legs. We are so proud that all our horses can be ridden bitless, and our guests also like that!
For the horses it is of course much nicer!
Another admirable thing is that none of the horses has iron shoes. Even with the many stones and gravel roads. All the horses hooves’ work the natural way and that of course goes fine for all the ranch horses; within half a year to year were all the horses having very good hooves. Only for 2 to 3 horses it took a little longer because they have had ‘crumble hooves’ but they’re also fine now. It’s amazing how strong they actually are and how a horse hoof maintains itself! Some horses need rubber shoes in the high season during the rides. This is a kind of sneaker for horses. This is to protect them from wearing out to quickly.
If you are trying to understand the horse a little bit better and if you learn more about how to speak the horses’ ‘ language ‘, you will notice that everything is so much easier. Your horse will understand you better and will do much more for you because he understands what you want from him, he trusts you more and there is respect from both sides. You can learn the principles of Horsemanship here, and of course, immediately try it out yourself. It is very interesting to realize what you are saying with your body language (knowingly or unknowingly).
Sun Dance Ranch gets regularly horses that need a new home, often because it’s a ‘ problem ‘ horse or because owners just don’t have time for them anymore and they want to bring them to the slaughter. If there is a feeling that the horse would fit at the ranch or that we are able to find a new owner, we’re taking them as a’ project ‘. It is usually not the horse that is the problem, but often the (old) owner and their interaction and communication with the horse. The new horse is first slowly introduced to the herd and often a big problem is already solved because the horse can be HORSE again and live in the herd. They teach each other how things work! Horsemanship, straightness training, well fitting equipment and building up in a correct way is often the recipe for good functioning again (generally within a few months).
If the horse took all the steps with the instructors and internship girls, he will slowly be used for guests. And often it turns out that these horses really are SUPER horses and happy with their ‘ last chance ‘. Of course, we can’t keep all the horses. So sometimes, there is also a horse for sale, but only if we think he ends up at a good loving owner who has a real connection with the horse.