Toys for horses is a subject never crossing my mind. I had not thought about horses and toys in the same corral. But some horses like to push and kick a ball around or nose at an apple flavor toy swinging in their stall. I love to watch TV shows about horses and clinicians; trying to keep up with what is going on in the wonderful world of horses. I learned about horse toys while watching one of these shows.
I don’t recall which show it was, but the half hour was dedicated to horseplay. I watched the horse nose and kicked the large ball around his pasture. He was sure having fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this horse relaxing and playing. It was like watching a kid play or even us adults. I like to play games at times too so why wouldn’t a horse want to play. Maybe playing with a ball he won’t be inclined to chew on the fence posts. Chewing on wood causes other horse problems not to mention having to replace the fence parts from time to time.
Bored or Stressed?
A horse who tends to nervousness or boredom would maybe benefit from a toy. The act of playing with a ball that rolls back to him when he pushes at it certainly gets his mind off of anything making him scared or stressed.
Trailering your horse to a horse show? Does your horse tend to be scared around crowds and other horses? Bringing along a toy may be what your horse needs. It’s something familiar and it can bring a calmness to his time away from home.
Animals at Play
Watching a horse at play is fascinating. Other creatures play also. One evening when I was a teenager I was to witness such a scene. A friend of mine and I were hiking over some hills and came to a meadow. As we sat gazing at the beauty of the pine trees and sagebrush, we spotted a deer. Pretty soon more deer joined the one. Watching them graze and being there was a thrill enough, but all of a sudden one started running towards another member of the herd, and she ran to meet her. Before the two deer hit, the first doe veered off and spun back. Pretty soon the other deer decide they wanted to join the game. The whole herd of about ten or twelve played tag. I felt it such a privilege to be part of experiencing nature at play.
There are other toys for horses. I’ve seen objects such as plastic bottles hung from the rafters in a stall. Other plastic objects that can be installed in the corner of a fence have small wheels the horse can nuzzle. They make noise. Some toys are apple shaped and have an apple scent. Others are round plastic. The horse can nudge and chew and lick on it to keep from being bored while in the barn or in the field where he can be tempted to eat the wood. Some toys roll on rollers; some make noise. The object is to entertain and keep the horse occupied.
Make A Horse Toy
If you are so inclined, you can also make your own horse playthings. An empty milk jug tied from the ceiling of the stall is something for the horse to bat back in forth. You can also place balls in a net and hang them, add carrots like in this video.
My Horse and Toys
One place where my horse lived had the plastic milk jugs hanging from the stall rafters. I pushed them back and forth, but Poppy just looked at me, glanced at he swinging jug and munched her hay.
I never saw her show an interest; she ignored them. Some horses don’t see the need to play I guess.
I would borrow a toy before paying for one, to see if your horse has an interest in kicking a ball around. They are not too expensive. I noted a wide range of prices from $16.99 to nearly $40.
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Top image courtesy of Pixabay.