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Preventing Barn and Stall Boredom


stall boredomIt is important that horse owners remember that horses were not meant to be stabled for long periods of time. In the wild they run free; keeping them stabled can lead to a number of bad habits such as weaving, cribbing, and an all around bad attitude. Help keep your horse physically and mentally healthy by providing distractions when they're in the stable for the long haul.

1. Keep your horse in a stall that has a view or a window. Being able to look outside and watch things will occupy their attention. If they can't see to the outside world, then try to give them a spot where they can watch activity in the barn. Keep them near other horses as well. Remember! Horses are herd animals, they are used to be around others of their species and become agitated if they can't. They may not be able to see their fellow horses, but being able to hear and smell them will keep them calmer.

2. Avoid grain. Grain gives high energy and can cause a number of health issue if a sedentary horse is given too much. Give your horse as little, and if possible NO grain, to help avoid them becoming too energetic and bored in their stall.

3. Do give hay. Lots of hay. Make a hay net, tie up a bunch of hay in it, then wrap that in two more hay nets so your horse has to work at getting small bunches of hay out. They love to chew hay, it is a natural and healthy way to keep them busy munching all day long. Horses in the wild graze constantly and by doing this you can simulate the wild grazing attitude in a stalled horse.

4. Provide lots of toys for your horse. There are a number of stable toys that can be purchased, but also a number of inexpensive home-made toys that you can provide your horse. Consider filling a milk jug with treats, drilling a few holes in it and throwing it in. Your horse will love rolling it around and receiving the treats. Or, hang some ropes from the roof of the stall and tie a few knots in them. Your horse will have lots of fun tugging the ropes and untying the knots.

5. Remember being sick in bed when you were a little kid? How boring it was and how much you wished someone would come play with you? That is how your horse feels when they're left in their stall for long periods of time. Be sure that, even if you cannot ride, you spend time with your horse reminding them that you love them, teaching tricks, and grooming.


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