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How to Keep Your Horse Entertained

By Stephanie Dube Dwilson

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

You horse, at times, may show signs of boredom, such as chewing on his stall, kicking the walls, or pacing in circles. Whatever his method of showing displeasure, it will be annoying at the least and often destructive. Even if your horse isn't showing signs of boredom, you may want to switch up his routine to keep him entertained and prevent bad habits from developing.

Food

Consider breaking up his meals throughout the day. Instead of giving him two meals, for example, divide the same amount of feed into three or four feedings. There's no need to increase the total amount you are feeding. Smaller, more frequent meals are closer to how your horse's digestive tract was designed to work, and providing more meals will help keep him entertained. If you are in a boarding situation, you may have to pay a little extra for this special attention, but it may be worth it to avoid the development of bad habits that result from boredom.

Toys

Your horse may find toys entertaining. The most popular are those that you can fill with treats. The horse works the toy with his nose until a treat is dispensed. You also can find toys that hang from the ceiling of the barn that your horse can bat around for entertainment. Some of these also have a treat component, with a tasty salt lick your horse can nibble on while playing.

Exercise

A horse that gets plenty of exercise is less likely to need entertainment, because he will be content resting in his stall. Riding, lunging, hand walking and turn out all are great ways to provide your horse with the exercise he needs to stay happy. During times when exercise is an issue, due to weather or injury, for example, make time to visit with your horse to help break up the monotony, even if he cannot leave his stall.

Friends

A buddy in the stall next door may be all the entertainment your horse needs. If they get along well, the two horses can keep each other entertained for long stretches. The drawback of this is that they may become so bonded that when one horse leaves his stall, one or both buddies get upset. As long as there are other horses in the barn, the horse left behind probably will calm down relatively quickly, but be prepared for some vocal protests.

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  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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