Laura Sweeney testimonial (2002)

I bought Qumran, a 16.2h.h. Gelding in the autumn of 1998. During the first winter, he was kept at a nearby livery yard. But as the weather began to deteriorate, turnout became a rare occurrence. Sometimes the horses were not allowed out to graze for weeks on end. Most of their days were spent in solitary confinement, where they were deprived of social contact with other horses. I did not want him to develop stable vices, and became concerned for his welfare. I hated the way he was being kept, but was unable to do anything about it.

You can imagine my delight when I met Lucinda. She had a totally different view on the way that horses should be kept. A more natural, sympathetic approach. She told me to listen to my horse, and he will tell you what is right. I knew straight away what she meant, because I had been struggling all winter trying to do just that. But I had been unable to help him because of the conventional way most livery yards are run.

Moving to Lucindas at Brackenhill Stud, I have now exchanged a stable for a field. Qumran is kept at grass 24hrs a day, and enjoys being a herd member. He has never been so fit and happy, and is a picture of health. His mental attitude has improved beyond all recognition.

No longer do I have to worry about boredom. Rugs are a thing of the past. Feeding has become a pleasure, instead of a nightmare. Lucinda is also keen for the horses to be unshod. At first I was not too sure about that one. But having tried it, I am a convert. The farrier still visits occasionally to make sure everything is o.k. But that’s more for my benefit than his. I suppose old habits die hard.

Lucinda has made me stop and think about the way we care for our horses and to question some of the established ideas. Its really a case of getting back to basics.

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