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Horses in training or prepping for a show spend much of the day locked in a stall with very little stimulus. Seeing a stalled horse one day made me wonder if they get bored, and how does it affect them mentally.
Horses confinement can lead to boredom, cribbing, anxiety, and stress. Mental stimulation is critical for a horse to maintain a healthy mind. Horse toys, turn-out time, and companion animals can all help to relieve isolation related stress.
Animals need stress-buster, heck we all need stress-buster. But especially horses that are stall kept or kept in small paddocks, they need something to occupy their minds. Horse toys can keep horses from cribbing, pacing, and other habits associated with boredom.
Horse toys are stress relievers.
Sometimes a horse deserves treats or needs a toy, especially after a hard day of training or riding. There is a wide variety of horse toys, gifts, and treats to choose from. Some have a purpose, and others are just because you want to spoil your horse.
Balls are a fun horse toys. We used to blow up beach balls and throw them over the fence for our horses. However, today, there are many balls designed for horses that are safe and free of toxins.
Balls encourage movement and play in pastures; horses can push, pull, and even kick these durable balls. In the video above, you can see all the ways; a horse can occupy his time with a simple ball.
Horseman’s Pride- Tug N Toss Jolly Ball
These balls are durable and designed for the abuse a horse can dish out. The handle allows them to grab the ball with their mouth and throw it in the air. The tug n toss balls make great horse toys for the bored horse.
Jolly Mega Ball Beach Ball Cover
This large ball is fun in the pasture. Horses can kick it or sit on it. Horse toys should be colorful and safe, the Jolly Mega Ball fits the bill.
Carrot Ball Feeder Toy
These ball feeders are neat horse toys that provide a fun way for your horse to eat a carrot. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s a great idea, offers a healthy treat, and gives your horse something to play with at the same time.
Horsemen’s Pride Amazing Graze Treat Toy
The Graze Treat Toy is a good and effective way to keep your horses happy and occupied. It prevents stall boredom and encourages a happy, well-mannered animal. Horse toys are supposed to keep your horse’s mind occupied and this product does just that.
Uncle Jimmy’s Hangin’ Balls
Uncle Jimmy’s Hangin’ Balls helps to eliminate stall boredom by providing a treat on a rope. The ball is 5 1/2 inches in diameter and weighs about 3 1/2 pounds. It’s recommended to hang the ball above your horse’s eye level and in a spot that it can’t be pinned against a wall.
Horse treats can be used for training.
Your horse deserves a treat. Always keep some healthy treats in the barn to give your horse that extra attention it deserves. Remember, wash produce before you feed it to your horse. Pesticides are commonly used on fruits and vegetables. And limit treats, never overfeed your horse.
Purina Apple and Oat Flavored Horse Treats, 15 Pound Bag
This is a 15 lb bag, so it should last for a while. If you have any concerns about the product, check their website here.
A to Z Horse Cookies Horse Cookie Treat
These treats sound unhealthy for your horse, but it is low sugar, low carb, and made with organic and natural ingredients. Perfect for horses on the keto diet. They are also soft treats, and you eat them as well.
Omega Nibblers Low Sugar & Starch
Omega nibblers are another healthy low sugar sweet. The manufacturer also claims some medicinal benefits: restore cracked, brittle hooves, promote a healthy coat, and helps with stiff joints, etc.
Omega nibblers include natural Omega EFA’s and is low in sugar.
Manna Pro NutriGood Low Sugar Snax
Nutrigood is a healthy and popular treat at a reasonable price. It is low in sugar and made with all-natural ingredients.
Gifts that keep your horse looking and feeling good.
Your horse deserves a gift during special occasions or maybe just because. Here are some gift ideas.
Tough-1 1200D Snuggit Turnout 300g
Top-quality heavy-duty exterior for horses that are rough on blankets. It protects from the elements and is waterproof and breathable.
Weaver Leather Original Adjustable Nylon Horse Halter
It’s your basic halter made with sturdy material for a reasonable price.
Toklat T3 Matrix Shim Western Saddle Pad, 31×30, Felt/Flexform
Great saddle pad for a horse with high withers or a sway. It comes with shims. The shims can be placed in the front, middle, rear, or not used at all.
Impact Gel Contour Felt Saddle Pad
It’s an expensive saddle pad but worth the money. The design allows for a better distribution of the saddle’s weight. Impact gels are an excellent choice.
Henri de Rivel Mono Crown Bridle with Padded Wide Noseband
Replace your old bridle with this nice one. Henri de Rivel bridles are of high quality and made of a material that lasts.
Tough-1 Rubber Jelly Massage Mitt
Pamper your horse with these massage mitts while you groom her. These mitts are grooming gloves on one side and small roller balls on the other, to provide a relaxing rub down.
Horse toys stimulate your horse.
Horses need to be mentally stimulated. Horse toys provide an outlet to keep them from getting bored and stimulate their minds. Horses are social animals. In the wild, they congregate with other horses and spend their days wandering.
We restrict their freedom and access to other horses. So, the interaction needs to be replaced as best we can. Horse toys are a mechanism that provides stimulation to prevent the horse from getting depressed.
Depression leads to bad behavior. Some depressed horses crib, eat dirt or train poorly. Sad horses will eventually begin to stand in one spot and stare. Other signs of depression are,
- Standing still without moving his ears and not blinking his eyes;
- Doesn’t respond to stimulation;
- Doesn’t show interest in treats;
- Doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on around him;
- Gets frightened easily.
Horses need playtime each day. The stimulation during these activities release hormones; the horse needs to be mentally well. To keep your horse engaged, provide him with horse toys.
Don’t feed unhealthy treats to your horse.
Natures treats are best for your horse. See our article on horse eating watermelon rinds. In it, we discuss the importance of limiting the number of treats.
Everyone loves feeding their horse treats, so we need to know what is best to feed as a treat and what to avoid. Horses are natural grazers, and they eat continuously throughout the day. But treats have to be limited.
Don’t feed your horse big chunks of food. When feeding watermelon rinds, cantaloupe rinds or pumpkin rinds cut them into small cubes. But first, wash the skins to get rid of pesticides.
If you feed commercial treats read the label containing the list of ingredients. If you are unsure about an element, do some research or don’t buy the product. Don’t feed sweets or chocolate to a horse.
Give your horse a small treat. The treat is not intended to be a meal. A horse has a sensitive digestive system; sudden changes to his diet can cause colic and other disorders.
Gift giving to your horse isn’t silly.
Gift giving to your horse is a good practice. Giving a gift for birthdays and Christmas may sound silly to some people, but it is a way to acknowledge your equine partner and replenish some tack and other items you may not otherwise do.
Next, you need to start looking for a gift for yourself. Treat yourself to a new pair of riding pants, or boots. That always seems to lift the spirits.
- 5 Horse Trailer Essentials You Need When Hauling Horses
- Why Are Race Horses Legs Wrapped? Training Secrets Revealed
- The 6 Best Ice Boots for Horses Legs, and Why You Need Them
- Do Horse Fly Masks and Fly Boots Work? What Ones Are Best?
- Why some horses wear blankets
- Why horses wear blinders
- For some gift ideas for the horse lovers in your life click here.
I love animals! Especially horses, I’ve been around them most of my life but I am always learning more and enjoy sharing with others. I have bought, sold, and broke racehorse yearlings. I have raised some winning horses and had some that didn’t make it as racehorses, so we trained them in other disciplines.