Meeting in Germany from 17. - 21. March 2014
The last meeting took place at the Berufliche Schule Münsingen and was dedicated exclusively to the topic of species-appropriate horse keeping systems.
The first dinner already showed that the ca. 30 apprentices from the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Germany were very communicative and tried to get into contact in all the different kind of languages. That created the best atmosphere for the following days to work in country-mixed teams.
Mr. Roland Dörr, director of the school, welcomed the audience at the beginning of the second day and he introduced Mrs. Prof. Dr. Konstanze Krüger from the University for Economy and Environment Nürtingen- Geislingen. She gave a lecture on „Behavior researches (Ethology) and the natural demands of horses – current aspects for sport-and event horse management“. Horses and their behavior are mainly influenced by their social cooperation among the herd. Which role the social organization, the age and sex within the herd plays was impressively shown by the results of studies on their learning aptitude, measurements of their hormone levels when integrating new horses to the herd, and their aggressiveness and cooperation behavior. The apprentices could reassure their experiences which they had already gained during their previous visits to the Czech Republic, France and the Netherlands where they observed horses living in the wild. The lecture also extended their knowledge about natural demands and behavior of horses kept in herds. Important theories on horse keeping were supported and used as basis for the exploration of different horse stables and to design ground plans for horse keeping systems.
The first stable to explore was the „Vital-Stall Hohenneuffen“, which was built up in the style of Feng Shui principles. The student - teams studied characteristics of herd keeping and stall keeping with paddocks with the help of worksheets.
The second stable to study was the Haupt-und Landgestüt Marbach where the apprentices worked on characteristics of herd keeping in free stalls and stall keeping.
The Berufliche Schule Münsingen invited the participants to dinner. Thanks to some teachers and the student Philipp Janoff –student in a business class - it was possible to show the variety of the school.
The student gave the guests an overview of the various courses and classes offered by the school and he explained the role the training firm plays for a special business class. The training firm works together with the firm pedalo which is located in Münsingen and creates and produces items for coordination of posture and movement. Pedalo provided equipment for this evening and the students could exercise, move and try out their coordination ability in many different ways. They enjoyed testing themselves, their physical fitness and their team-spirit.
The third day was dedicated to the horse keeping system „HIT Aktiv Stall“ which our project partner „HIT Hinrichs Innovation + Technik GmbH“ presented on Gut Kastensee in Kastenseeon /Glonn. Mrs. Daniela Scherzer, who is in charge for project planning and project consulting in Bavaria and Austria for HIT Aktiv Stall presented the firm´s philosophy on horse keeping and guided the partners round „Gut Kastensee“. She proved that the firm´s philosophy was realized smartly there and she opened the visitors ‘minds to various alternative methods of designing and developing different functional areas for the horses. There are two herds on Gut Kastensee (one herd with 56 horses and the other one with 30 horses).The guests were not only deeply impressed by the vast extent and the tidiness of the site but also by the friendly-curious, interested and very satisfied behavior of the two horse herds.
After a long bus travel the day was completed by having dinner.
On the fourth day the participants met at the Berufliche Schule Münsingen to put into action what they had learned about horse keeping during the previous days.
In country-mixed teams they designed plans and ground plans for their own future stables. The results were creative drawings with fantastic names The requirements were primarily to allow natural behavior of the horses, but also to consider and valuate their plans due to customer satisfaction and work economy. In the early afternoon the teams proudly presented and explained their ideas for their „Horse Farms“, which could be good as models for realization by an architect.
After the successful, busy program it was time for a visit to the Biosphere Centre in the Altes Lager in Münsingen to widen the minds and take home some impressions of landscape, culture and specialties of the Swabian Alb. The last dinner showed and confirmed the harmony among the participants and was also the time to say “Good-bye”, as the guests left Germany the next morning.
29. March 2014