Horses can get bored easily, especially if they are not able to interact with other horses or do not have enough exercise. Horses are most happy when they can roam and graze with their friends and feel safe and secure in their own herd. It is important to know when your horse may not be able or able to display these normal behaviors. There are many ways horses can be motivated to use their brains and senses to enrich their environment, reduce boredom, and frustrate.
Indoor enrichment for your horse
Horses can be helped to relieve their unreachable itching by using a scratching pad or an old broadhead. They also reduce stress.
Music and reading
Reading to your horse or playing music can be a great way to bond with them. Research has shown that classical music can also lower horses’ heart rates.
Create new ways to make your favorite foods more creative by:
- Wrap non-toxic plants like cow parsley and willow around the bars of the barn. Hang them from the ceiling so they can nibble away
- Hidden fruit and vegetables in the stable is a great way for horses to be entertained and to experience a wide range of textures and flavors. Horse-friendly foods include bananas, cucumbers, watermelon and celery. Some foods may be too sweet for those with diabetes or on a restricted diet.
- To encourage horses to use their brains and bodies, treat balls can be used with small amounts of chopped-up feed.
- You can make a forage container from an old cardboard box. Fill it with hay and other tasty treats that the animals will love to dig into. They can offer new tastes and aromas.
- You can feed them herbs like parsley and mint, as well as plants like dandelions or stinging nettles, which are both fragrant and delicious. Horses enjoy choosing the most appealing plants for them.
Horses need companionship and the following tips can help.
- Doing some DIY can help lower the doors of your stable or allow your horse to get to their friends over the stable. This will increase their chances of grooming and feel safe. You can help your horse sleep better and you all know the benefits that a good night of sleep brings.
- A horse-safe mirror can be attached to the stable to create the illusion of another horse. Horses can enjoy looking at their reflections, which can provide a lot of mental stimulation.
Outdoor enrichment for your horse
You don’t need to confine enrichment to a small area or stable. It’s possible to do simple things outdoors that will add variety and enjoyment.
You can keep your horse busy outdoors by feeding them food. You can use:
- Spreading forage (hay, oat straw) in small piles all around the horse’s field. This encourages horses to move more, makes hay last longer and reduces poaching areas.
- Take your horse on a walk, and let them graze in new pastures. They will enjoy the variety of grasses, herbs and spices.
- They can also chew bark from non-toxic trees like birch and willow in their fields. They may be curious about new things and want to discover them.
It can be fun to keep your horse healthy and happy when you’re out in the wild. These are some tips to get you started.
- Spend some time with your horse and do something new. Get some treats for your horse and encourage them to stretch gently, such as by bending their neck and moving their head up and down, or bending their head left and right.
- Horses love to play with balls they can kick around or pick up with their mouths. If they’re in a playful mood, this gives them a way to release excess energy.
Try out different brushes and see what they prefer. Find the areas that curl their top lips – this will help you build a relationship and release feel good hormones.