The Horses and their care

As many of you may know, horses, and their care, in Europe differs from how we breed them and care for them in the States.  So, some of you have expressed some curiosity as to the horses here at Pferdezentrum Franken, and how they are cared for.

The horses here are decidedly better-bred that what most people have access to in the United States.  Most of the horses in the school here have brands and are some type of warmblood.  Not only that but they are commonly better trained (as compared to what is available in the United States in the same discipline and price).  There are two reasons for this in my opinion. First, people here have been riding (mostly dressage) for much longer than we have in the states, Germany practically developed the sport into what it is today, so it makes sense that they'd have more quality in breeding and training here, as they've had the time to figure out what works and what doesn't.  Second, riders here absolutely HAVE to learn about correct horse care and training. If you want to ride and compete, you have to know how to support your horse with proper care, nutrition, exercise and training.  This creates a very educated basis from which to build the horse industry. 

The horses here are also cared for differently.  There is approximately 6 (I haven't actually counted, that's just rough recollection from fetching a horse that was turned out) grass paddocks associated with Pferdezentrum Franken, and 4 dry paddocks.  Horses here spend most of their time in their stalls, they are otherwise being ridden or spending an hour or two in a paddock.  It seems to me that the people caring for the horses here do not specifically like it that way, its just a necessity of not having as much room to have big pastures for horses.  It should also be noted that there have been adaptations made to better suit these horses to living in a stall.  The barns here are very well ventilated, and are frequently the same temperature as the air, maybe cooler in the summer. The horses are also fed copious amounts of hay, see I told you they knew their horse nutrition over here!  At Pferdezentrum Franken, the horses are fed 3 small grain meals a day, and get at least two hours in a paddock once a week. 
Interestingly, the horses here seem to be calmer, for any number of reasons.  One is likely that these horses are ridden for 2-3 hours a day, and fed exactly what they need to maintain a BCS score of 5 (body condition score, one of 5 indicates that ribs are not seen but easily felt, a level topline, no excess fat behind the elbows or tailhead, etc). This could also be due to their training, one of the horses I've ridden here, Lupo, has only been under saddle for about a year.  He is however, calm considering his training level, this I believe is due to lots of work on the ground and lounging, he has learned to be mature and what his job is, without unnecessarily taxing his developing skeleton and mind with a rider. 

Please note that this is a very opinionated post about German horses and their care, it should not be taken as gospel on how every German riding school operates or cares for their horses, nor what should or should not be done in reference to horse care and training.  This is merely my observations and opinions on such.