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Toys for a bored horse

This topic contains 16 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Joan Fry 2 years, 11 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • Joan Fry Original Poster
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    What a great couple of days–the afternoons are cool enough that I was able to ride Scout, my new gelding! The problem is that when we’re not riding, he gets bored. I was warned when he was given to me that he “latched on” to any horse in the area and was a real pain when she rode him away from his friend. I don’t need two horses (tried that–too much work). I’ve tried goats–cute but they all got extremely fat and I’m afraid I’d have the same “latching” problem. There are a lot of toys out there for bored horses, and I’m wondering if anybody has experience with them, and what they would recommend.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Sounds more like insecurity from being isolated than boredom. Pretty common mind set, for a gelding to lean on company. Solitude works for some, others not so much. He might be an “other”? In fifty years of concentrated and dedicated horsemanship I have learned enough to say with conviction that I don’t know…. much. at all. Nothing solid to offer you, sorry!

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joan Fry Original Poster
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Thanks for weighing in, pheets–you’ve posted some thoughtful replies to other posters, and I appreciate that you took the time to answer my question. I brought it up because I always turn him out in the arena after riding him so he can roll and then hang out under the trees and be a horse. He has a Home Depot traffic cone in his pipe corral, which he apparently does not consider a toy. I use a kitchen step-stool as a mounting block and left it in the arena today after doing warm-up laps and then taking a short trail ride. When I turned him out in the arena, he was very curious about the step-stool, sniffing it and grabbing at it with his teeth. It’s not built for horses, though–he could easily stick a leg through it–so I took it away from him. Now I’m thinking one of those big balls might work. He doesn’t seem to mind the solitude per se, he just runs out of things to keep him occupied. His old barn was a much busier place with people and horses wherever he looked.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Thank you for your kind words, Joan Fry, also much appreciated : )

    Like a cat: blow off the actual toy and find the wrappings most intriguing. How expansive is his turn-out? Do you have time to ride more often? Is there somebody you trust to get up on him or long-line/longe/ground drive/free-longe to give him more busy time when you can’t? Boredom can be a difficult thing to manage if habits set in. Hoping you find an effective solution!

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joan Fry Original Poster
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Good analogy, pheets–very like a cat! No, his turnout–which is also my riding ring–isn’t big enough. My husband and I had a discussion about that. We live in the foothills where level land is at a premium. However: we do own a tractor. My husband’s counter-suggestion was to buy him a TV, so I think the turnout will be elongated. Meanwhile, I will try a toy in his turnout ring, probably a big ball. I’ll also try the balls with flat sides that dispense food in his pipe corral. And I am definitely considering hiring one of the neighbor kids to come longe him on a regular basis.

    See? You had plenty of good suggestions!

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Ponee doesn’t need exclusively flat, open turn -out unless there is a structural compromise that requires it. And unless he thinks he’s a chainsaw, not every tree has to come down, either (if he DOES get to termiting, chicken wire wrapped around the bottom 7-8 feet will effectively inhibit that action). Certain trees, tho, are a definite removal issue, deadlies being oak, ebony maple and sumac, not sure where you are, don’t know your indigenous trees. There are others so check it out before you raze the woods. Pines get sappy but an icecube will take the sap out of fur if it happens. Hills are good for turn-out, keeps your horse, once fit, in better condition, longer. Hills encourage a horse use himself more and better. Is he at home with you?

    Every now and then, if I stop long enough, I actually CAN come up with something useful : ) Because I generally think so far out of the box, to use that horrid old phrase, sorry, I have become accustomed (and oblivious) to not being taken seriously. When I AM, it catches me off guard. Thank you for your open and deeper mind : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joan Fry Original Poster
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Woods? Hills? Trees? Pheets, I wish I lived in that place you just described! Unfortunately I live in the high desert–“high” indicating altitude. We have live oak shrubs, juniper shrubs, and the occasional scrawny piñon pine. Oh, and did I mention cactus? The only real trees are ones we planted. The trees I mentioned are the California pepper trees we put in between the pipe corral and the riding ring to act as a windbreak. They’ve finally gotten big enough to cast some shade. No hills–only small, very steep ravines and upslopes. Hard to fence. No grass and we’re on a well. My only options are to lengthen the riding/turnout ring and hire somebody to come work Scout on the days when I can’t.

    But keep thinking! I like how your mind works.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Lol! Better quit while I am ahead 😀

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joan Fry Original Poster
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    As one of the great old-time horse behaviorists said–I think it was Ray Hunt–“Reward the try.”

    So thank you! 😉

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Pretty amazing what a little encouragement can do, ay?

    Enjoy your new boy, JF!!

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    If a TV is not practical, could you get him a radio or CD player? My nut enjoys music, and has his own MP3 player for when we are riding.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry Original Poster
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    No, a TV is not practical! We don’t have electrical outlets in the tackroom, for one thing–lights depend on solar panels. I have been thinking about a radio, tho, although our reception here is terrible. My choices are mariachi music, an all-day traffic report/news station, and a country station that fades in and out. A radio/CD player might be the answer. Scout could listen to all the CDs I was ready to donate to Good Will. Good suggestions, Joe-Joe!

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    If it is any help, my boy likes Queen and dixie style jazz, with a little classical thrown in.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry Original Poster
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Joe-Joe, thanks for your questions about TV and music preferences. This is something I hadn’t thought about for years, but it still makes me laugh. My husband used to train Saddlebreds for a TV evangelist. This guy had his own TV station. There was a big fancy lounge in the middle of the barn, and he demanded that the TV in there be left on 24/7, volume turned up, to inspire his horses. He spent most of his time berating his audience to send money. His good horses continued to win, his bad ones continued to lose. If he inspired anybody, it was my husband–who left the horse world entirely to start his own business.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Did any of his horses ever just empty their wallets for him? That has to be the funniest story I have heard in ages – thanks! Glad he at least inspired your husband.

    It is never the horse's fault

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