Horses, like humans, can get bored when they’re standing around in their stalls or paddocks. One way to keep them entertained and stimulated while also preventing boredom-related issues, such as pacing or cribbing, is to offer them toys. Here’s a quick guide to various types of toys designed specifically for horses.
How Can Horses Benefit From Toys?
You can find many types of horse stall toys online and at tack shops and farm supply stores. Some are designed to provide confined horses with hours of entertainment and mental stimulation. Others are designed to stimulate movement and encourage your horse to engage in natural behaviors. Some even serve as trickle feeders and treat dispensers.
Horses are naturally curious animals, so providing them with an outlet for exploration can be beneficial for their overall welfare. Plus, joining in playtime can be a great way to bond with your new horse!
Types of Horse Toys
There are a variety of different types of horse toys available, each with its unique benefits. Plus, your horse might have his own ideas about what’s fun. Some horses are content to simply bat a hanging ball back and forth, while others need the motivation of a treat to interact with a toy. Here are some common options to consider:
- Rubber balls, which hang from the ceiling or remain loose to be nudged around, were some of the first stall toys for horses and continue to be popular options.
- Larger, inflatable balls more suitable for use in paddocks have also become popular.
- Lickable toys incorporate a hard, replaceable “sucker” or “treat ball” that entices horses to interact for long periods.
- Treat-dispensing toys dribble out grain or other edibles as the horse rolls it around. They can help head off boredom in stall-bound horses.
- Puzzle feeders provide horses with mental stimulation when they eat. These feeders make it more difficult for horses to access their food, which helps to keep them mentally engaged and prolongs the feeding process.
The cost of horse stall toys ranges from about $15 for a simple ball or hanging treat to nearly $60 for a lickable mobile or treat-dispensing toy. Regardless of which stall toy you choose, durability is important: Even the most engaging toy will be useless if it breaks within a few days of use.
Part of this article originally ran on EQUUS.