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Track Systems

What is a Track System?


If you visualize what a traditional horse racing track looks like with an inside fence and an outside fence and the grassy infield area, you have a pretty good picture of what a Track System resembles.  After removing the starting gate and finish line, the basic race track design is amended in ways that approximate a natural horse environment in the best way possible.  

The design of a track restricts grass intake and encourages movement.  Horses are allowed unrestricted movement within the confines of the track 24/7.  This more closely mimics a wild horse’s habitat and allows the horses to relate to each other within a herd environment.


You start with two fences. One on the outside perimeter of the designated property and one a distance inside the perimeter.  The width of the track can vary from a few feet to much larger widths.  There may be widened areas in a track to accommodate feeding and watering stations, as well as shelters and any other specialized activity areas that the owner desires.

The surface of a track is important -- it needs to be dry on most days, and kept clean daily.  

The design of a track isn’t critical as long as the layout necessitates movement by separating the food and water.   

How the horses are fed is up to the owner, however, netted hay discourages “camping” and encourages movement.

A watering station is set up at a location that is convenient for the owner and as far from the majority of the hay as possible.

Most tracks will incorporate an area that includes shelter for severe weather.


The above are the essentials of a basic track system.  Some tracks may only include the basics, others may be more elaborate.  These may include areas for other activities or attractions: sand boxes, hedgerows for browsing, windbreaks, dirt mounds, hills, ponds or streams, rock piles, and/or whatever creative ideas the track owner can dream up.


Here at Good for the Soul we build healthy horses from the ground up….

  • We start with an exceptional track surface – locally quarried black shale.  Black shale is abundant here in the panhandle area of West Virginia.  It is a remarkable natural material that performs exceptionally well as a surface for growing great hooves.   It drains and dries very quickly after a rain so it is dry on most days.  It also was formed in layers and the rock is quite brittle.  Because of this, it breaks down into small flat pieces, most of which are smaller than a dime.  Almost like “flat sand”.  It's a mild to moderately abrasive surface that we feel really helps maintain our horse’s hooves.

  • We maintain our exceptional surface with regular daily cleaning and grading with a harrow as needed.  We find that by only feeding netted hay, we have less “camping” which means easier daily cleanup!

  • Our fencing is top of the line electrified polyrope with 3 strands around the outside perimeter and two strands on the inside.  After a year on the track, we have had zero issues with our fencing.

  • Our feeding stations are scattered all the way around the track, but most of the hay is located on the opposite side of the track from the water source.

  • We feed almost exclusively with the help of nets.  We use both Freedom Feeder and Hayburners nets.  We find the horses move much more when nets are used.  They almost never sit in one spot and clean out a net…rather they typically eat a portion of the net and then move to another one at a different station.  They repeat this behavior over and over – eventually returning to previously partially eaten nets again and again until they finish them.  We are not sure why the horses eat this way – whether it is better for their digestion or simply just their natural way of eating – but it works well for achieving the goal of increased movement.  Sometimes we think they just can’t stand the thought that maybe the hay in the next bag is better!?!?

  • We love our water source at GFTS.  We are very fortunate to have a short but fairly steep hill with a flat area on top where we have the watering troughs.  This means the horses get a small workout each time they drink.  Over the past year, we have witnessed the ability of the horses to climb the hill change dramatically.  What used to be somewhat difficult has become quite easy and routine.  The horses actually seem to really enjoy the hill – frequently running both up and down it on their way to and from the water!

  • The GFTS track has a very well-constructed barn with run in shelter.  The barn safely houses our tack.  There is a grooming area outside the tack room and water is available close by.  The run-in shelter is very adequate and functional.  Interestingly, the run-in shelter doesn’t get used very much in our experience.  The horses typically prefer standing out on the track, even during bad weather.


The purpose of a track system is to restrict grass intake and encourage movement.  

This is accomplished through the use of netted hay for feeding and separating the feeding areas from the water source.  


At GFTS we also add the additional benefit of an exceptional track surface which helps to shape the horses’ hooves naturally.

We do all this while trying to mimic the horses’ natural environment and allowing the horses to practice their natural behavior as herd animals. 

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