The APECS Page
All Purpose Equine Care Station

Universal Horse Care & Training Stockade
Information on the APECS is for Educational,
 Animal Husbandry, Animal Behavior, & Hoof-Care Studies Only
Working around large animals is dangerous, whether in the open or in close quarters.
There is experience and knowledge one must possess of the animal and the stock they are using.

Safety is our number one priority.

The APECS is a fantastic addition to our equine management and training. 

It allows us to tackle any situation and it is designed to harmoniously work

with the horse's mind and body.


The APECS is not a substitute for standard foundation training and care, but is a powerfully effective addition to our care and training regime.  We have saved so much time, money, and energy since we have used these types of open universal horse stocks.  I simply love the wood construction and wooden side-arm poles.  This beats cold, hard, steel stocks.  The smaller common steel stocks are good for close confinement and containment, but I find that the same procedures performed in a containment chute or stock, can also be performed with the APECS configuration.

This page is dedicated to information on:

Training & Handling Hoof Care
  • Close Contact Gentling
  • Pressure Gentling
  • Proximity Advance & Retreat (PAR)
  • Soft Tie-Post Training Methods
  • Sensitizing vs. Desensitizing
  • Sensitizing Simulation Tool
  • Body Softening / Flexion
  • Safety / Security
  • Building Confidents/Trust
  • Natural Hoof / Barefoot Trim
  • Combating White Line Disease
  • Water Therapy
  • Benefits of Hoof Spa Therapy
  • Hoof Hygiene Practices
  • Pressure Washing Hooves before, during and after a trim.
  • Relieving Pain in hoof ailments.
  • Mimicking Natural Horse Environment for Better Health

Designed and Built to a specific roominess for both animal and human. 

The APECS allows me a full range of care and training advantages like never before.

To be most effective I generally build these stations at 12 feet by 4 feet...inside dimensions!



The moveable or "convertible" arms fashioned from debarked maple tree trunks, etc. 

They are stronger, more user-friendly and practical than a cut pole or board from lumber.

The high ceiling allows me to maneuver all over and around the horse.

This allows thorough sensitizing and familiarization between animal and human.  *

 In these photos I will demonstrate  body softening and  body comfort pressure movements.

Body Softening the horse and gently queuing him to each corner or segments of stock.  Notice the horse in photo is confident with side-arms and is learning to trust and respect objects.

As an experienced horse gentler and hoof care provider, I find that being able to maneuver around the horse is gentling, but at the same time it is dangerous.  No one should do these maneuvers or be inside a stock unless they have strong horse mind and body knowledge, be somewhat athletic, and they should have a strong familiarity with the stock they are using.


The front tie-post is a good 3-1/2 feet from the front arms. 
With this tie-post I do not use any knots of any kind.
I simply wrap the lead line 2 or 3 times to allow slippage if the horse struggles unnecessarily.

There is a bit of an art in using the APECS and obtaining its full effectiveness and potential, but done with a lot of common sense and utmost safety at the forefront.

Tie-training is a cinch with the APECS and it is easy on the horse.  Horses I have trained in the APECS have soft manners and do not paw or crib.  They are at peace. 


Here I am demonstrating brushing or massaging the horse's body with my back, all while reconfirming a strong presence.  I can use the stout side-arms as leverage and strong support.  These pressure bonding procedures instill in the horse a much deeper respect and trust in me.  Horse's that have been through even small sessions in the APECS will trailer-load with much more peace-of-mind and confidence.

I find that these side-arms give me leverage during maneuvers that instill in the horse's mind that I am a little tougher than he originally suspected.  These comforting body pressures build a stronger respect in the horse's mind for me.  This rapidly becomes evident in even horses that are shy, green, and especially for horses experiences hoof pain.  I do a lot of leg sensitizing and bathing horse's feet before I go to actually perform a trim.

Myself, along with many others out there, are quickly finding out that light pressure washing the legs and hooves before, during, and after a trim, has a cleansing and pain relieving effect.  Obviously, horses that have been tamed to water and bathing, would allow a hoof trimmer or farrier to gently and periodically rinse or wash the hooves to soothe pain or discomfort during the hoof care session.

Another benefit I like is that to be able to rinse, cleanse and disinfect the hoof, gives me a clear view of what is really going on. Pressure washing the hoof reveals and cleanses minute areas that you normally do not see so well with common hoof care practices.  Oftentimes I cannot remove infected material from white line areas with the hoof knife due to the horse's pain and discomfort.  Cool pressure-washing with mild solutions of salts or Pine-Sol cleanses those nooks and crannies and relieves pain.  Most of all, this calms the horse.  I use water where I will not go with a knife, probe or dremel.  Please note I do par off hoof wall where white line disease has done its damage.  Water bathing during this type of hoof work is absolutely essential to soothe the horse during the trim and also during the healing process.  And what's really nice... is being able to wash any debris and odor away from your work area.  More photos of this subject matter coming soon.


This 2yr Appaloosa is in the APECS for the first time.

He is receiving a hoof trim, a bath, grooming and some close contact pressure bonding.

At times, I may decide to have 1, 2, or 3 front or rear arms in their slots, according to the tameness and experience of that particular equine and also depending on what I am doing.

This is an APECS near completion. Needs framed in at top, stall mats, a roof and more solid ground around outside footing.

 Thorough sensitizing and familiarization maneuvers.  This is play for me, but a play for me with reason and rhyme, particularly with new horses.  The APECS brings me to a whole new level of learning about the horse, as he is learning about me, the human.

On this tie-post post, I have used porcelain door knobs as the rope catch.

Again, notice that I can wrap the rope around this post and gauge the slip or clutch of the line.  Depending on what I am doing at the time, I may user a shorter or longer lead line.  Often I have the horse not tied at all, it helps them be soft at the neck and pole, and I help them find a comfortable corner of the stock to use as support / security.  All of this helps horses to be more relaxed and cooperative with hoof-work, and again, particularly horses that are suffering with any form of discomfort.

Softening the horse.

Stay tuned for more photos and explanations of the APECS stockade coming in a few days.

As an experienced hoof care provider and dealing with severe cases of white line disease and other hoof ailments, I strongly advocate hydrotherapy, bathing and disinfecting the hooves on a regular basis, or at least during recovery treatments.



Little girl with her new pony, who is having hoof trim and hoof bath.

We use various sized gentling poles as an extension of our arms; scratching, massaging and petting our animals helps them become relaxed and confident.  Poles, wands, and canes are used also for guiding the horse in standing, stepping or moving.


Pony enjoying his visit and attention in his stockade.

For safety, we do not leave horses unattended in the APECS stockade.  If a horse were to lay down for a nap, he could wake up finding himself shimmying under the pole or side arm.  If I find a fidgety horse in the APECS, fidgeting and nudging on the front or rear pole arms, I will temporarily pin the pole arms into position so that the animal could not nudge or bump the arm-end out of its holding sling, which is not easily done, but I have seen it happen a time or two with larger, green, or fidgety yearlings.

A fastened canvas on each side of the APECS may potentially provide a safe standing stall situation if need arises.



Dave Montana is creator of the EquiSling Front Support Sling & APECS Stockade.

We are practitioners of natural and universal horsemanship methodologies and are also advocates of the natural hoof trim or, as some call it, the barefoot trim.

We practice and promote safe and humane treatment and care of all living creatures. 

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Suggested Links

Frank Bell

Equine Behavior

Dr. Temple Grandin

Linda Tellington Jones


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