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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to add something(s) to my horse's paddock for her enrichment. Anything that is safe and will give her something to do.

At this time, pasture board is not available and she is in a large dirt paddock with a BIG stall attached. She takes dirt baths, naps, and is fed three times per day. I visit her almost every evening and we train or just go for a walk or sometimes have an epic grooming/back scratch session.

I have asked the stable owners if I can hang a feeding net - I mean to hang it LOW, not up high, and it could even dangle into her very large on-ground manger. It would slow her eating and give her something to do while she eats. They say no (they think she'll eat the bag). I asked if I could hang a home made treat mobile made of twine, apples, and carrots. They said no (because they think she'll eat the twine). Could I hang a ball or other toy in her stall? Nope. They don't like them. *sigh*

They offered a jolly ball, which was promptly kicked into the neighboring horse's paddock and not returned. This weekend I added a small traffic cone (the top part is cut off, so it's short and blunt) to see if she likes that.

Her paddock is surrounded by hot wire, so anything small that rolls will roll right into the neighboring paddock. OK, so how about a BIG ball? I am looking for one that doesn't have terrible ratings saying it broke within two days.

I caught her cribbing, just a bit, the other day. That's not OK. I want her to have things to play with in her paddock. I don't like the restrictions the stable managers have.

Any ideas??
 

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A hanging salt lick?

I wonder if there's any sort of cow bell type thing that would be safe, like you could hang it up and she could ring it. But I guess either one of these options involves twine, so it sounds like that would be a no-go with your barn.
 

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A friend! I do not believe it's reasonable to keep horses in solitary as a rule.

Cribbing, IMO from the research I've seen, is not just to do with boredom but is indicative of gut upsets. If she is eating her hay ration quickly & then going hungry for long periods, that will do it, so a slow feed net is one good option. If you put it on/near the ground, ensure there's no way she can possibly get a foot caught in it. Don't risk it if she's shod. Or hang it high enough she won't get her foot in it.
 

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Slow feed net fastened in a small stock tank. Use the extra-small hole kind.

Giant ball.

Pony (by far the best idea).

Meanwhile look a different place where she will be happier.
 

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New place.

Honestly, though, they don't allow you to hang a hay bag for your own horse??? What the heck ???

There is a huge variety of very sturdy small hole hay nets that have been used safely for many years and thousands of horses. With to many benefits to count. Just make sure it hangs so they can't tangle in nothing or paw at it. Then its no "un-safer" then the very fence she is behind and snacking on.

To me, this would be non negotiable.

My mare is in the very setup you describe. She has a large paddock with a large attached stall (open door always). I hang 3 slow down hay nets. Well, 2 are fastened in huge rubber totes so she eats with he head down and one I hang. I have several areas I can move those totes and bags too (made hooks) depending on the weather, inside, outside, shade, sun, etc. She moves nonstop from one bag to another, "grazing" along. It makes a HUGE difference to their physical and mental health.

Hay bags will NOT damage their property and it is YOUR horse. Its non of their business to decide what is dangerous to your horse, unless it is dangerous to their property or themselves. Your horse would benefit greatly from a couple of bags to move in between and it would be all the enrichment she needs. Nothing else can take its place, really. There are some "treat balls" that dispense treats when rolled but honestly, I have yet to find a mare (unless young) that "wastes" much time at playing, LOL.

Have another talk with the barn owners, tell them it is affecting your horse negatively not to have something to chew on between feedings and you want to provide slow down haynets. I find it hard to believe they would rather throw you out. And if they do, well, that is not a place I would stay at anyway.
 

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I agree with the above posts - FRIENDS, or get out of there! Equine socialization is very important to a horse's mental wellbeing! Whether or not this includes moving to a new place is ultimately your decision, but you should really talk to the owners about letting her share her paddock with someone else's horse. If they say no to that, I would personally be leaving at that point, because I do not think solitary confinement without any enrichment is acceptable. Beyond that, it really shows the state of mind of the stable owners, that all horses need to live alone in bubbles even if it drives them insane and even can make them dangers to themselves or others. I would not find that acceptable at all, especially if I'm paying THEM for MY horse to stay there each month.
 

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curious about this bin set up. Would you be able to post a photo?

New place.

Honestly, though, they don't allow you to hang a hay bag for your own horse??? What the heck ???

There is a huge variety of very sturdy small hole hay nets that have been used safely for many years and thousands of horses. With to many benefits to count. Just make sure it hangs so they can't tangle in nothing or paw at it. Then its no "un-safer" then the very fence she is behind and snacking on.

To me, this would be non negotiable.

My mare is in the very setup you describe. She has a large paddock with a large attached stall (open door always). I hang 3 slow down hay nets. Well, 2 are fastened in huge rubber totes so she eats with he head down and one I hang. I have several areas I can move those totes and bags too (made hooks) depending on the weather, inside, outside, shade, sun, etc. She moves nonstop from one bag to another, "grazing" along. It makes a HUGE difference to their physical and mental health.

Hay bags will NOT damage their property and it is YOUR horse. Its non of their business to decide what is dangerous to your horse, unless it is dangerous to their property or themselves. Your horse would benefit greatly from a couple of bags to move in between and it would be all the enrichment she needs. Nothing else can take its place, really. There are some "treat balls" that dispense treats when rolled but honestly, I have yet to find a mare (unless young) that "wastes" much time at playing, LOL.

Have another talk with the barn owners, tell them it is affecting your horse negatively not to have something to chew on between feedings and you want to provide slow down haynets. I find it hard to believe they would rather throw you out. And if they do, well, that is not a place I would stay at anyway.
 

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I have an acquaintance that sometimes rides with me. Her horse, Hondo, is a pocket horse, never met a stranger, and he's super sharp. Dead clever.


She thought she was just giving him something to do when she hung a cow bell in his pasture and taught him to ring the bell to get feed.


Then every time Hondo saw her husband, he'd ring the bell to summon his servant. Husband gets put out with the horse constantly ringing the cowbell to summon him. Tells wife, You Gotta Do Something About that... so she bought a bunch of pool noodles, built a rack kind of thing, and suspended all the pool noodles vertically, and hides the cow bell within them. He has to find the cowbell to get to ring it. She moves it around to a new place every so often, so he has to go find it, and ring it to get his feed.


She said he'll hunt and hunt, thump a noodle with his nose, head pops up and around the rack of pool noodles as if he's saying: Was that it!?


Nope.

He looks at her like: Dang it.



Then goes back to hunting for the bell in the pool noodles.


She also keeps him a jollyball, and is teaching him to do 'tricks' like stand his own feed trough or water trough up if he knocks them over.


Side note: She paid 75.00 for him as a weanling at a livestock auction. His color sold him - he's grown in a massive dark buckskin paint. He's a hoot, and I just love it when they ride with us. He has a big personality to match his size and color.
 

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Their barn. Their say. Low hanging nets can be a safety hazard. Hanging objects depending on how you attach and what you are attaching it to can be a safety hazard. What you use to attach it can be a safety hazard. Don't ask, "can I...."; ask, "what can I do to make this situation work for all of us?"


Using a slow feed net over a tub to which is it attached won't stop them from chewing holes but would be less of a safety issue. I speak from experience on that one having had a horse get entangled in a low hung net then flip in a tight space. Getting them out was no walk in the park.



Hanging objects present different dangers but a sturdy toy hung with a non edible attachment that is then attached to something that cannot break when pulled at/on or rough hosed with. It could be that in addition to the horse eating the twine that the attachment point is also an issue.
 

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If they won't let you hang a net, how about one of the slow-feed hay feeders made of heavy duty plastic with the grate rather than net? Then at least she'd be able to 'graze' most of the day rather than hanging out with nothing to do. Ulcers are less a sign of boredom than they are stress and anxiety. Only being fed a few times a day can cause/contribute to them. A horse that is kept alone and only fed 2-3x per day with nothing to eat in between is a top candidate for ulcers.



The best thing for her, even if you add a feeder, would be a friend. A pony or other horse is far more 'enrichment' for a solitary horse than anything you can come up with for them to play with.
 

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Could you get one of those smaller Jollyballs that's heavy rubber and has a grippy thing for a horse to bite on and pick it up? Oops played with hers till she broke it.


Maybe a rubber chicken?


 
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Put out a bale of grass hay it will last all day. Don't need a net or slower feeder with a grate. Grate feeders damage teeth over time, takes the enamel off.

A 50 lb bale out will last more then all day. Just add more hay in evening to what's left. Can put hay in a old water tank. Can chain tank to a post to keep it where you want it. I've done this when I fed square bales limited waste. Easy to put out hay just drop it in tank and done, no messing with nets.
 

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Before slow feed nets were popular, my dad and I made a feeder for a horse on stall rest with a heavy duty trash can. We cut a hole near the bottom on the front side just large enough that he could reach in and pull hay through, then dropped a bale of hay in the top. A chain with bolt snaps on each end run from the handles across the lid to the other handle kept the lid on, and we chained the whole works to a fence post so he couldn't flip it over, although thinking back, if he had, it wouldn't have been a big deal. We kept an eye on things and enlarged the hole after a few days by about an inch, but once that was done, it worked a treat. A bale would last him 2-3 days with this, and I'd open the lid and smoosh the hay down every day as he ate if it didn't fall. If your hay is really long-stemmed, you will need a larger access hole than short hay that falls apart off the bale naturally, so it may take some trial and error to make the hole the right size. Start off smaller than you think you may need and you can always enlarge it. We set some hay ahead of the feeder and he figured it out right away that to keep eating, he needed to pull more out of the hole. We put the feeder on a rubber mat so hay didn't get tracked into bedding, and it really did keep him slowed down in the eating department so he didn't hork down his entire meal in 20 minutes and then stand around miserably until evening.

It wasn't something that is likely to last for years, but for the 2-3 months he needed it, things worked well. When he was able to move around more, we put him in a larger area and made one more so he could move back and forth between them to 'graze' and get gentle exercise. For less than $50, it saved his sanity and kept me from having to go throw him hay 8x per day.


Our neighbor has the slow hay feeders from Valley Vet in her stall runs; she has a hole in the panels so two pens can share one feeder. She's had them several years and they still work well. Her show horses get socialization and exercise and can hang out and eat with friends, but don't get bit up or kicked. During the winter when they're turned out, they have a round bale feeder, but she puts some alfalfa out each morning in these feeders for the 'hard keeper paddock' to nibble on, too. If I were to purchase slow feeders for 1-2 horses, those are probably what I would go with. Sturdy, proven, and less likely to hang a leg (especially if your horse is shod) than a net. https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=cc18b468-1a77-4ef2-8a99-1db772418937
 

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Put out a bale of grass hay it will last all day. Don't need a net or slower feeder with a grate. Grate feeders damage teeth over time, takes the enamel off.

A 50 lb bale out will last more then all day. Just add more hay in evening to what's left. Can put hay in a old water tank. Can chain tank to a post to keep it where you want it. I've done this when I fed square bales limited waste. Easy to put out hay just drop it in tank and done, no messing with nets.

We use an old tank to feed in the winter, but there's still waste. The horses nose through and pull the hay out, tromp on it, etc. Less waste than putting it directly on the ground to feed, but a lot more than a slow feeder. A square bale of grass hay would have lasted my old gelding a couple of hours. He could hoover down hay like nobody's business, even though he had plenty to eat all his life. Alone in a paddock with no grass and nothing to do, and he'd have gone through a square bale by lunchtime...
 

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When I used the water tank to put hay in. There was very little hay that ended up on ground. Horse's that ate out of it didn't flip hay around to pick through it.

Just plain grass hay and a fifty pound bale lasted a day and a half. With alfalfa/ grass mix hay horse's tend to flip it around looking for the alfalfa.

I have a hay pig my black gelding but he doesn't get fat Hoover's up his hay. My pally picks at it and takes him all day to eat his hay. When the black is done in a few hours.
 

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Put out a bale of grass hay it will last all day. Don't need a net or slower feeder with a grate. Grate feeders damage teeth over time, takes the enamel off.
I had wondered about the tooth damage thing recently on here, when a friend told me using a net was too damaging to teeth. I'd never heard of that before, and I've used nets & so have many of my clients & friends, for quite a few years without issue. So far as I remember, no one who replied here had had an issue either. I can imagine if the 'grate' were thin chicken wire or such, that could be a tooth hazard, but I'd think a thick weldmesh, plastic or timber grate/mesh would less of a tooth hazard than net even.

And I'd say it depends very much on the horse(s) as to whether a small bale would last a whole day - unnetted, mine have been known to trash a whole big round bale in 24hrs(when I left the net at home & thought 'she'll be right till tomorrow' :evil:
 

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I had wondered about the tooth damage thing recently on here, when a friend told me using a net was too damaging to teeth. I'd never heard of that before, and I've used nets & so have many of my clients & friends, for quite a few years without issue. So far as I remember, no one who replied here had had an issue either. I can imagine if the 'grate' were thin chicken wire or such, that could be a tooth hazard, but I'd think a thick weldmesh, plastic or timber grate/mesh would less of a tooth hazard than net even.

And I'd say it depends very much on the horse(s) as to whether a small bale would last a whole day - unnetted, mine have been known to trash a whole big round bale in 24hrs(when I left the net at home & thought 'she'll be right till tomorrow' :evil:
Nets aren't causing the teeth damage. It the grates the metal and the hard plastic ones damage teeth.

I know plenty of people who use nets and horse's teeth are fine. Want to avoid the grate hay feeders.

I used the nets for round bales last winter the black destroyed his net. Hes also trashes the bales in a days time. Pally had a few holes in his net, bale still lasted over a month for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A hanging salt lick?

I wonder if there's any sort of cow bell type thing that would be safe, like you could hang it up and she could ring it. But I guess either one of these options involves twine, so it sounds like that would be a no-go with your barn.
She does have a salt lick in the bottom of her manger. I suppose when it's gone I could get one with a chain to hang. I can always ask!
 
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