5 budget-friendly and easy enrichment hacks for your Paddock Paradise Track System
One of the wonderful things about having a Paddock Paradise track system is you can really make it your own, whilst of course sticking to the original values and concept.
Track systems can be made over all different types of acreage and land - built in woods, on hills and dips or just in your bog-standard paddock. As long as your Paddock Paradise is functioning properly, fulfilling all of your horse's needs and optimising their health, you can change it, alter it and add whatever you'd like to it.
Whilst a track system and herd living provides a level of enrichment for your horses already from grooming, forage and movement, we like to add a few bits here and there to keep things interesting for them. Enrichment is used to mentally stimulate or engage our horses, improving their mental and physical wellbeing. Here are 5 budget-friendly and easy enrichment ideas to incorporate on your track system:
The 'Carrot Dangler'
The 'Carrot Dangler' is a really easy way to give your horse's a healthy treat without directly feeding it to them. We spent no money at all making 5-10 of these for our different tracks and for the most part, you can create this with items found at home and any old or fallen branches in your garden or field.
The point of this is for the log to gently swing and move when a horse tries to grab one of the sticking out carrots.
2. The 'Scratching Tree'
As you can tell from the photo, this track addition has been well used over the years. Although we did have to buy the brushes, we purchased them at a agricultural auction for little to no money. Facebook Marketplace is the perfect place to find second-hand items for at affordable prices. We have some more scratching brushes on a gate post that has worked just as well if you don't have any trees at your disposal.
3. The 'Treat Tray'
This is a really easy way to get your horses brains working. We've been using this for a while now and the ponies have found multiple ways to get these treats out of the grooves in the wood. The majority of these treats can be reached and eaten with some patience but for the ones that get stuck, they stomp on the board or flick the treats out with their noses. This is another enrichment make that we didn't spend any money on to make.
4. Salt Water and Water Buffets
Salt plays an incredibly important role in your horse's health and their daily salt requirements cannot be properly fulfilled through a salt lick alone. In addition to the health benefits of salt water, it is also a fun option to provide your horses along side their usual fresh water. You can also offer water options such as Apple Cider Vinegar and Nettle/Peppermint Tea, making sure to check beforehand that any herbs, teas or powders don't clash with or contradict any medications or treatments your horse may be on or undergoing. Graveney Equine: Horse Track System have some brilliant information on the health benefits of providing different water options on their Facebook page.
5. Trees, Logs and Branches
Incorporating old logs, branches or fallen trees into your track system is not only a great way to reuse dead wood but can also be multi-functional. You can use them to act as natural obstacles for your horses to walk over, wind around and jump over or use them for your horses to scratch on. Additionally, you can hide carrots or other treats in or around them and further use it as a way to offer hay and haynets at different heights and places on track.