Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Toys for the Equine

I've always felt sorry for horses that have to stand in a stall all day. Equines are much happier, I think, when they can get outside and "be a horse." To graze and roll and run, and do all those things horses naturally do, makes for a much happier and well-adjusted animal, in my opinion.

But not all of us have access to large pastures for our animals. Even if you keep one in a small paddock, though, there are things you might provide them with to alleviate boredom.

Here are a few: (You might notice that these models are actually *cough* donkeys. I used what was readily available, but hey - they're in the same family.)

Numero Uno requirement for equine happiness - the favorite rolling spot:

Because what equine doesn't feel better when they're covered in dirt?

Mr. Chocolate
And if you have any means at all of providing your horses with a hill in their corral, it will provide hours of entertainment and exercise as they go up the hill:

And down the hill:

We also have a large stump in the paddock, and it works well as a scratching post.

Of course there's always the ubiquitous horse ball:

Chester and Beau
And the orange cone:

What toys do your equines have?


Dreaming said...

Pippin and Doc's horse ball is flat - that's actually good news as it doesn't roll down the hill into the neighbor's pasture quite as easily! (But as I type, it is in their pasture and I'll need to get it back to where it belongs!)
In the past I'd throw a few horse treats in an empty Arizona Tea plastic bottle. In the beginning that kept both horses occupied for a long time as they would push the bottle around, pick it up, etc trying to get the treat. Then, Pippin, AKA Mr. Smarty Pants, figured out how to handle it. Within seconds of putting the bottle in his run he'd stomp on it. He learned that if he stomped quick and hard the plastic bottle would shatter and he had access to the treats. Sadly, I stopped giving him the bottles - I was worried that he might get cut on the sharp edges of the plastic.

Kelly (ridegroomfeed) said...

Great photos! And great models ;) I've never tried giving my horse a toy (he lives in large paddocks with a herd 24/7) but I bet he would love it - he's very playful. Thanks for the ideas :)

Linda Benson said...

Dreaming - Good call, or he might even have eaten a piece of plastic! But that story made me laugh. Pippin is one smart horse!

Linda Benson said...

Kelly - Let me know what happens! Mine get bored with the ball or cone after awhile, until I move it around to a different location. Then it's like they've discovered it all over again ;)

Alison said...

Linda, love your models! I think they need a cat. :)
I haven't thought about toys b/c my horses are in large pastures that we rotate, so they get new experiences, but I like to throw 'stuff' in the pasture that blows (like an empty feed bag) so when they come upon that horrible plastic bag that never biodegrades and is always by the roadside they won't freak out, or I put a stump or box in the pasture where it 'gasp' shouldn't be so the two can blow and snort while I am not on their back.

Gayle Carline said...

My gelding used to like to get into the paddock with the goats so he could pick them up by the tail and throw them. They didn't not appreciate it.

He doesn't want to play with anything in his stall, but he will reach out of his stall to grab anything within reach and throw it. Brooms, blankets, brushes... once he tried to toss a bicycle.

Leslie said...

Linda, your post made me smile and laugh on this very rainy, gray day where I live!

Linda Benson said...

Alison - I love your idea about boxes and feed bags in the pasture where the horses can get used to them! We have several cats, including one that lives in the barn, and I think she and the donkeys are company for each other at night.

Gayle - Your gelding sounds like quite the personality. Maybe he'd like a ball on a rope outside of his stall, that he could try and swing!

Leslie - glad I made you smile. Donkeys tend to do that ;-)

Laura Crum said...

Linda--I have one pen with a ball on a rope hung in it, and every single horse has ignored it, other than to push past it to get to the feeder. Very disappointing, as my son and I had hoped that at least one would play with it. But they prefer to play with each other over the fences.