"Games" to keep my horse thinking?

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"Games" to keep my horse thinking?

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  • 1 Post By GreenBackJack

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    06-24-2012, 08:36 AM
"Games" to keep my horse thinking?

Hi, my horse has been off work for a while due to abscessing in his hoof and he's starting to get bored with what ground work we're doing - we're doing things like circles, backing up, hindquarter yields, forequarter yields, lowering the head and stretching out legs. Not much, I know, but I don't have huge amounts of time right now, mainly because I have school (and major exams to study for) and daylight savings is over so it gets darker earlier. I get approx 2 hours a day with him right now.

He's been given the all clear from vet and farrier for ground work (allowed to exercise at w/t/c...no jumps, for no longer than 30 mins), so I was wondering if anyone had any interesting games / activities that will keep his brain ticking and thinking?

Any advice welcome :)

Sorry if you're seeing this twice, posting this in both training sections
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    06-24-2012, 07:00 PM
Obstacle courses.
This is what I did when looking for a super cheap, lightweight, easy to transport and infinitely variable solution:

Hardware store- I went to Lowes, in the plumbing supply section you will find pipe insulators. They are a styrofoam like material, come in various diameters and around 6 feet long. They cost right around a $1 each. I'd say get no less than 12 to start. More is better. Get a larger diameter that will not bow to much if you hold it out from one end.

Next: go to the section where they have "flagging tape." That's the florescent non stick tape you see used in all sorts of places like electric fences and construction sites. Grab a roll or two of that. That's only about $1 - $2.

Pick up a roll of florescent actual sticky tape, which I found in the paint section. (another buck or so.)

Finally: Some of those plastic fencing poles, you can start with 4. Not sure if your hardware store will have those but your local farm and feed should. Those run around $3 - $4.

At home: with the sticky tape, attach the non sticky flagging tape to one end of your pipe insulator. Wrap the flagging tape spirally around the pipe, tape off at the other end. Do this to each pipe.

Um, that's pretty much it. LOL

You can now lay these things out in whatever configuration you can imagine for your horse to maneuver through. You can use the fence posts in whatever fashion you'd like also, maybe for stopping points, goal posts, for creating varied heights with the tubes, flags etc. You can also use them to set up small jumps with the tubes. *the larger diameter tubes will hold up better, with less bowing, for this option.

This was a perfect solution for me since I often end up working with my horse in different locations with variable landscapes. It's easy to travel with, very minimal chance of injury to the horses or myself and super cheap. I can stick those fence posts into to ground wherever and rearrange them in a second. I use the flag tape to tie the pipes to the posts when I want to arrange them that way. Plus, it's so much easier and faster to set up all kinds of configurations than lugging around stuff like poles, logs and tires and I can keep my horse always guessing.

Hope that helps,
Here's to heathy hooves and happy horses!
outnabout likes this.
    06-24-2012, 07:51 PM
That is a brillaint idea that I never would have though off. I will go have a look at my local hardware store when I get the chance. Thank you :). Have you got any pics of any of the courses that you've built?
    06-25-2012, 04:19 PM
You could also try your hand at clicker/trick training. I haven't done a whole lot of research into this, but it seems very positive reinforcement motivated and good for when horses can't be ridden or move very fast. Stuff like target training, picking things up, and bowing down can be fun and useful.
    06-25-2012, 06:59 PM
Thank you :). Is there any particular website I can go to for the training methods?
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    06-25-2012, 07:53 PM
Vidalaequine, you are most welcome! I hope you have fun with it and it's helpful.
I'm sorry to say I do not have any pictures of the set ups. Never even thought of taking any! LOL

I saw that you asked about trick training and thought you might like this:
It's like Netflix for horse stuff and totally the best thing ever! I actually found out about it here on the Horse Forum. You can get a membership starting at $10.95 a month. That gives you one DVD rental at a time for as long as you want to hang onto it. I've enjoyed their service very much and they've provided excellent customer care. They seem to have every horsey DVD you could ever want, training, health, entertainment etc. I did a quick search on trick training and came up with 63 videos. Best $11 bucks you could spend in my opinion!

(oh, and you can cancel at any time, so no long term contract.)
    06-25-2012, 08:00 PM
That sounds awesome. I'll have to check it out when I get on an actual computer. Thank you :)
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