Horse toys can keep your horse busy and happy when she’s in her stall. Left alone, horses can get bored and anxious, and that often leads to destructive behaviors and habits. But before you spend a lot of money on horse toys, try a few of these inexpensive alternatives.
Raid The Recycling Bin: Your recycling container is a rich source of potential horse toys. Plastic milk jugs and detergent bottles can be hung in your horse’s stall. Filled with a few pebbles, they make an exciting (to your horse) rattling sound when head butted. Clean milk jugs can also be used as a treat delivery system. Put a few pellets of grain inside, leave the cap off and put it on the floor. As your horse rolls the jug around, pellets magically appear! Fun and food! What a deal!
The Vegetable Aisle: Horses love carrots. Play a little horse game by hiding a few chunks of carrots around the stall (but not in the bedding). On a ledge, mixed in with the hay…anywhere she might explore with her ever-curious mouth.
The Hanging Spud: Find an extra large turnip and bore a hole through it. Thread a rope through it, tie a knot in the bottom and hang it from the ceiling. Tether turnip! This is a fun and tasty toy that’s easy and cheap to make.
Bobbing For Apples: Float an apple in her water bucket. Your horse will find this curious and intriguing.
Attention Sports Fans: A real leather football is a safe and durable toy for horses. The genuine article can be pretty pricey, though. Yard sales are a good source for used footballs. Keep your eyes open for big yoga balls and hula hoops, too.
Sounds Like Fun: A metal bell can entertain some horses. One caveat: over time (like more than five minutes), bells can be pretty annoying for people, so use your best judgement here.
Equine Opera: While there is no hard scientific evidence to confirm it, some horses seem to respond favorably to relaxing music. Classical? New age? Folk? Cruise around the dial to find her favorites. Hopefully, you’ll have similar tastes.
You Gotta Have Friends: Horses are herd animals and need the companionship of herd mates. If you can’t rush out and acquire another horse, consider a goat. Horses love goats! They have enormous personality and require very little upkeep. If a goat is even a bit much for you, a barn cat is another option. And they keep the rodent population under control, an added bonus.
Whatever boredom buster you choose, be sure to change it often. Horses aren’t hard to entertain, but they do like variety. Changing sights, sounds and textures helps to desensitize them to frightening stimuli, too, so they’re less afraid of normal changes in their surroundings.