Horses are often bored in their stall and begin to pick up things called stable vices. Stable vices are bad habits that the horses will exhibit when they are bored. Some examples of some stable vices that your horse could pick up include:
- wind sucking
- wood chewing
None of these things are things that you want your horse to get. Some of these habits can even be dangerous to your horse’s health. One example is cribbing. Cribbing is a vice where the horse swallows air which can then cause the horse to colic due to the excessive amount of air in their bellies.
Now, is there a way to prevent your horse from getting all these boredom vices? Yes! There absolutely is. Keeping your horse entertained even when they are not being ridden or turned out is important to prevent your horse from developing any of these bad habits. One of the best ways to do this is to give them something to play with! Horses are very social and curious animals so giving them something fun and new to interact with can be really beneficial!
These are my top five favorite stall toys for horses!
Even though this might sound really weird, traffic cones actually can make great stall toys, especially for younger horses. Most traffic cones are made of a strong, durable, rubbery plastic material that is able to withstand the rough play that a horse might use it for.
Cones are horse-safe toys as there is no way for a horse to get stuck on or caught in a cone that could pose a danger to the horse’s well-being.
You can just put one cone in their stall and let the horse mess around and play with it, sniff it out, and bite on it.
Because horses are really visual and social animals, it can really help to put a mirror on the wall in your horse’s stall or pen. I would recommend this especially for horses who are living on their own in a certain place so then they can at least interact with the horse on the other side of the mirror.
When it comes to installing a stable mirror on the wall of your horse’s stall, I recommend making sure that there aren’t any sharp edges or points on the mirror so the horse can’t injure itself on the sides of the mirror.
Getting a resilient mirror made of plastic or acrylic is better than getting a standard glass one just so your horse is less likely to break it.
3. Jolly Ball
A Jolly Ball is a thick, durable, rubber ball that comes with a handle attached. These balls are great for horses as the horses can then kick, bite, carry, or push the ball around without the ball popping.
Many horses will carry jolly balls in their mouths when playing with them and can even almost throw them when swinging their heads around.
The Jolly Ball is a toy that can be found at so many different horse facilities because of its popularity among horses and their owners.
Some toys that you can get for horses are basically little treat dispensers. These treat feeder toys are seen in a bunch of different styles, but my personal favorite style is the design that lets you put carrots or apple slices into it and the horse needs to try to bite them out. This toy keeps horses occupied for hours because they can smell the smell of the treat and keep fighting to get a mouthful of it.
There are many different styles and designs for this toy. Some are like balls with holes in them where you can stuff hay or other treats. These are good for keeping your horse entertained because they want to get at the food that’s in the ball.
Like the treat feeder toys, the licking toys kind of serve a similar purpose. There are many different kinds of flavored licking toys that you can get for your horse. My favorite kind of these licking toy is the one that has a flavored insert that the horse will lick away at over a certain amount of time (the best brand is Manna-Pro). This way you don’t need to refill the toy all the time as the horse takes a while to lick away all of the flavorings off of the insert.
I think that the best toys for horses are those that involve food or treats as it is these toys that will keep the horse’s attention the longest. The toys I have listed above are my favorite and top recommended toys to give your horse because all are proven to work, all are affordable, and all keep your horse’s attention and prevent them from developing stable vices.