Enrichment for our animals is something we hold with great importance at Remus Horse Sanctuary. We like to ensure that our animals have mirrors in their stables or toys, balls and games in their paddocks so that they have those little luxuries added to their lives.
Behavioural enrichment is a principle which seeks to add to and enhance the quality of a captive animal’s life by providing the environmental stimulation which is necessary for the best psychological well-being. This increases their positive association with the environment in which they are living.
Many of our animals have negative connotations with being in a captive environment following the neglect that they have suffered. When they arrive with us here at the Sanctuary, this is certainly something that we are trying to change. We provide them with a number of different well-being techniques.
There are generally seven different types of enrichment, although not all of them apply to our animals;
- Sensory – visual, auditory, tactile and taste can all stimulate the animals senses.
- Feeding – using different methods of food presentation, feeding can be made more difficult or challenging and more reflective of a natural environment.
- Manipulation – providing items which can be played with using the animals hooves and paws encourages investigatory behaviour.
- Environmental – using different objects to enhance the environment can alter complexities and incorporate more a natural element into their surroundings.
- Social – the opportunity to interact with other animals.
- Training – using positive reinforcement.
- Puzzles – simple problem solving for the animal to reach food or other treats.
All of the above are built into the lives of our animals – although some are used more than others!
Using our knowledge along with the use of our imagination, there are thousands of enrichment options for us to implement into the daily lives of the animals in our care. Some forms of this improvement are simple, other are more expensive and complicated so it is all about choosing the right ones for us.
Environmental Enrichment can be crucial to an animal’s overall welfare. We have spent time researching what is appropriate to apply to our Sanctuary taking into account all that has happened to our animals before they came to us; these experiences will have really taken their toll on the psychological well-being of our rescued animals.
Without your support of our charity we would not be able to continue with this vital treatment to our animals. It really is something that is close to our hearts and makes the animals lives here that much more enjoyable.