The tension looks different. At the Rost family’s exercise stable in Schornbach, the horses line up in a leisurely – yes, you could almost say civilized – line to get their food. If the feeding station is free, the gate opens via a light barrier. The reader identifies each horse by its RFID strip on the ankle and the IT system identifies the individual feeding amount.
Feeding box closes slowly. The bayhorse appears to be aware of the automatic shutdown, and quietly continues to feast on the hay in the barred box, tilting its head and lunging—the horse’s normal eating position, as when grazing, until the slide of the lock stops letting go. Space is completely led down. “In the IT system, it is stored for each horse that this or that horse may eat several minutes a day. We determine this in consultation with the owners,” explains Magnus Rost.
When the Gulf Persians entered Rauf Feed Station, the wing gate was opened first with a light barrier and then closed again behind it so that no other animal could enter. “At foot height, an antenna reading device recognized an RFID transmitter in the strap on one of the horse’s ankles and individually determined when to eat, as stored in that horse’s IT system.” If the horse does not have “permission to eat” (more), the feed box remains closed.
The mandatory RFID chip injected into the neck muscles (for identification in relation to a horse’s passport) cannot be used. Because with the 2008 ‘only’ EU regulation all horses born after 1st July 2009 must carry such a chip. “We also have older horses here who don’t have any horses.” Also, these mandatory NFC microchips cannot be easily read from a distance of a few centimeters for automatic feeding.
The exit gate opens to the left and the bay mare thrusts out into the lower area of the exercise pen. “For this animal, for example, it can now also be determined that when it exits the feeding station between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., another gate opens to another area where the animals can still find haystacks or an open hay house.” On average, animals eat hay for six to eight hours a day, but don’t stay in a hay house or in hay racks forever because it follows their desire to move as well as maintain social contacts, says Rust.
On an area of 3600 square metres, 3000 of which can be used effectively, there are two other ore feeding stations and a concentrated feeding station that works in a very similar way to a hay station, only with the feed bowl rotating outward. On the ground. “In order to get there, the animals have to run all the way outside.” There are also drinking basins, three lounging areas, and bins for acclimatization. Opposite: Riding lounge with saddle area, changing rooms, lockers, and dish racks.
“We have 30 horses on board. The average area of each horse is about 100 square metres. This is a lot of extra space, which also provides a lot of peace and quiet, because the animals have room to run,” says Magnus Rost. Here the animals can live as suitable species as possible and show herd behavior with subgroups, playing with each other or avoiding each other if the individual animals are not green with each other.
In the technical room next to the riding yard, Magnus Rost explains the IT system on a computer. Browser-based menus can be clicked “where I can search and check which horse ate, when and how much. But I can also call up the feeding stats for individual horses and see daily totals. I can also check if entries to the hay house and hay rack have been found.” Of course also set feeding times on this computer.
In addition to horses, the Rost family also raises cows, cows and chickens. Hay is harvested in 22 hectares of meadows. Last but not least, the family cultivates 20 hectares of arable land (oats, barley, corn and wheat).
The idea of stabilizing the movement came to Magnus Rost when he was at university. The trained carpenter studied agriculture at the Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Economics and Environment to continue his father’s farm and then earned a master’s degree in “Agribusiness” from the University of Hohenheim.
Active stables are still rare, but very popular with horse owners
“Movement stables is a trend that is becoming more and more popular because it is more suitable for animal husbandry,” says Magnus Rost. They are popular among horse owners. “Very quickly after opening in June 2016, we were fully occupied. We already had a waiting list.” Of course, the space required for stabilization of the movement is relatively large. In the “First Horse Report in Baden-Württemberg” from 2014 (the second planned for 2017) by the State Institute for Agricultural and Rural Development (LEL) in Schwäbisch Gmund and the University of Economics and Environment in Nürtingen, 24 percent of 38 farms examined with a focus on horse breeding To ride in open stables and aerobics stables. When stalls are open and active and exercise does not mean that automatic feeding is used there, but only that the horses are not in stalls, but can or should move more in order to get water and feed or more just run without having to first be taken to the paddock or “It has been disposed of.”
“We’re the sweet little rustic alternative,” says Melanie Schmid, for example. In the horse-moving stable of the Biolandhof in Berglen-Birkenweißbuch, which is mainly engaged in dairy products (dairy shop and cheese farm), only seven horses are retired. “Without automatic feeding and technology, but according to the principle of open stability. Horses must run outside their comfort zone to access the feed,” says Melanie Schmid.
In the Rems-Murr region, only the active Illg stable in Kleinheppach, which also uses an RFID-controlled auto-feeder, is comparable to the Rost stable in Schornbach. As in Schornbach, Kleinheppach is also full and does not like to read much about himself in the newspaper, “because otherwise a lot of horse owners would call and ask.”
In addition to booths, the Equirena stable in Fellbach also provides an active stable for at least eleven horses “which are fed throughout the day with the help of automatic feeders,” according to information on www.stall-frei.de.