Different terrain for horses and donkeys, such as sloping or hilly areas, and the introduction of obstacles such as felled logs and uneven surfaces could make use of different muscle groups.
Access to woodland and rough grazing, a sand-filled area or pond could also provide enrichment within the field or track setting, whilst also encouraging movement. Scratching posts can be made from broom brushes and are well received by horses, especially if access to suitable substitutes like trees is limited.
When available to them horses and donkeys will naturally browse on (hedgerow) plants such as cow parsley, nettles, etc, as well as overhanging tree branches and shrubs, and access to these could be beneficial to your horse, as well as natural enrichment. If available this would typically make up around 10% of their diet, but can be as high as 50% in some cases. The greater diversity of plants available will allow your horse access to, and the ability to select from, the many constituents these plants offer, and the amount your horse requires to maintain their health and well-being.
The article below outlines the benefits in more detail:
Some plants that horses could browse on and benefit their health and well-being:
as well as provide natural shelter, and hedging:
Herbal supplements are sometimes added to an animal's feed however given the choice they may not choose all the constituents of these, but they could be broken down at a Herbal Choices session and offered individually; allowing your animal to choose. However, supplements prescribed by your vet should be continued and reviewed by them.
For organically grown plants and seeds which are ideal have a look in our Shop on Etsy.
Adding herb seeds to a grazing field is also referred to as a herbal ley and the link below gives useful information about this traditional method:
When looking to add herb seeds it is always best to assess the land and tailor the herbs to the areas you wish to plant them in, for example do they prefer moist or damp soil, etc. A strip of land to the edge of a field could be sown as an alternative, which would be more manageable and less costly, and can be increased as required. When you have decided on your site, the best time to add herb seeds to fields are autumn and early/mid spring to reduce competition with grass growth, thus giving the herb seedlings the best chance to survive. It is also suggested the area be left for 6 - 8 weeks if sown autumn, to protect the seedlings, and then light graze late autumn. Harrowing or scarifying the land prior to adding the seeds will also be beneficial, in particular opening up soil and creating space for the herb seeds.
If wanting to add plants to a track system, established plants or plant plugs could be used. The best way to introduce them is to cut the grass short in the area you wish to plant in, and plant them in clumps. Alternatively areas of turf could be removed and the seeds added to the bare soil.
Hedgerows are extremely beneficial in reducing erosion and supporting the ecosystem particularly birds and mammals, and even bats who will fly along hedge lines and feed on insects. Sadly since WWII 160,000 km of hedgerows have been lost, due mainly to intensive farming. Adding hedging and small trees can be done up until the end of March if adding whips, or through the summer if adding potted plants. The plants should be protected for about 2 - 3 years, particularly from rabbits who can damage young tree and shrubs, and a plastic guard, or an environmentally friendly option - burlap, can be wrapped around the bottom of the plant. To protect from horses they should be either fenced off or a wire mesh staked around the plant to allow them to become established.