Horse development methods used at Eureka start from the beginning of a mares pregnancy. We believe there are three major factors that are paramount to the successful development of a horse.
Feed and Nutrition
It is not enough to simply drop your feed in the paddock tins and hope every mare and/or weanling will receive enough nutrients to sustain growth to full development. By reducing the maximum numbers to approximately six to 10 per paddock we can, with a watchful eye, individually note which animals are spending more time at the tins and less time grazing and vice-versa.
Horses need to receive all the nutrients they require to grow out to their full potential. Eureka is fortunate to be located in one of the most fertile areas of Australia with deep rich black soils and excellent undergroud water. With irrigated creek flat paddocks dedicated to producing permanent lucerne hay, the farm is self sufficient of the highest quality fodder. With the grazing paddocks made up of sown cereal crop pastures and natural grasses along with recieving specially a formulated pellet created by our nutritional consultant, we ensure that the horse is receiving everything they need.
Eureka's paddocks are large and foals are exposed to these early enough so that they can grow out naturally as nature intended. Ensuring that there is plenty of space for growing horses to stretch their legs is important for them to get the excercise needed to physically develop the best they can.
We also exercise all yearlings off a pony and lead them for approximately three kilometers per day while they are in yearling preperation. In addition to this they are hand walked every day, and by putting this grounding into their routine we are helping develop each individual to their athletic potential.
Psychology of Horses
Thirdly, what we believe is another important element, is the psychology of horses. We have found after careful analysis and study that horses and, especially, weanlings have a similar nature to that of humans.
Take, for example, a primary school classroom. You have some bullies who would get to the front of the line before others and some less forward classmates who would, for one reason or another, never compete, whether it was in the classroom, playground or just anything. What we have found is that, by separating these personalities, say bullies in one paddock, the less precocious ones in another, we are able to give a more equal opportunity to each animal to nurture its unique personality.
This is not a technique that has been developed overnight, but through four generations; certain methods and skills have been learned and passed on. Another unique concept we have employed is that all paddocks are double fenced without any electric wires. Again this is proving to assist the maturity and development of trust between the horse and ourselves.