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Stall Boredom..

2837 Views 18 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  rocky pony
(wasn't sure where to post this)

I half expect to be jumped on, but..here goes.
I'm gonna write a bit first to explain the situation because I know if I don't it's gonna be a disaster for sure, but I really want advice. Those who don't need the background and can just help with the problem can skip to the bold at the end. :)

I have a horse that is stalled and needs to be stalled. He is very hard to keep and doesn't get to eat nearly enough when he is with other horses. I am in an extremely limited situation where I board, and it genuinely is the best place in the area. Horses here are either in stalls or in pasture and both is not an option. Turnout is also pretty limited. Horses can only be fed up to three times a day, limited rations.

Normally I am out every single day turning him out and working him and he does pretty well with that. I know it's nowhere near the best situation, but he seems very content and happy with it as long as he's getting his three meals a day and daily work..
But sometimes I'm not able to get out as much as I'd like to. Normally I'm out even sick or injured or whatever else is going on, but when I get REALLY sick I am honestly not able to get out there. I have someone who can go and turn him out and give him basic care, but he doesn't do as well because he doesn't get to release as much energy as he does when he's worked. Which of course I feel extremely guilty for, I know he's not in the best situation but I take the best care of him possible in my situation. I have no doubt at all about that, but that leads to the problem..

He does get bored when I can't come out, evident by the fact that he starts wood chewing. I'm getting him some Quitt for that, but that doesn't solve the problem that he's bored.
I would like to get him stall toys to keep him entertained. Does anybody have any advice as far as they go? What toys have you had success with? Value is kind of a factor, but the most important thing is that it keeps him entertained.


I hope this can be a productive topic. I'd really like to get the best for my guy. He's a really awesome horse and I want him to be happy even when his mom can't visit, even though it isn't very often.

Thanks for any and all help offered :)
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I understand what you're going through after having to deal with a horse on 8 months of stallrest.

I haven't had good luck with jolly balls. My horses are either scared of them or could care less about them.

I would go for something food-related. Maybe try the Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Balls. Although i've heard some horses get keyed up from all the mollasses (don't know how true it is), so maybe give it to him but take it away if you know you won't make it out to turn him out the following day.
http://www.adamshorsesupply.com/browse.cfm/4,6391.html

I've heard promising things about the horse pacifier. But it's only scented plastic... so your horse might not dig it.
Horse Pas-A-Fier Horse Toy - Dover Saddlery.

My horses LOVE the tongue twister! Like LOVE it. Obsessive. It's expensive, but it should do the trick. It has awesome ratings on different websites, too. Plus you can buy whatever flavored mini likit you think your horse would like best :)
Horse Pas-A-Fier Horse Toy - Dover Saddlery.

Good luck! You'll probably have to do a little "product testing."
 

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I know this is kind of stupid, but my horse loves apples and sometimes if I put one in her water she has fun trying to get it out.
 

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A friend of mine's horses all hand the uncle jimmy's hanging balls when they were stall rested at some point or another and that seemed to keep them entertained for extended periods of time.

My own horse is not amused with any toy that can't be eaten, and the ones that can only last him a few minutes before he destroys and inhales them so I would also be interested to see what other toys people suggest.
 

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RoxyXPony,
part of the wood chewing may be stomach acid from not having fiber more often. I rarely stall the horses, but did Friday night due to the blizzard. They will probably get stalled again tomorrow night for the next blizzard. I put one of these in each stall, and it keeps them busy all night long. I also use these to feed outside during the day.

THIS IS NOT FOR SHOD HORSES, but keep reading.

You will need one 70-quart muck bucket, one small mesh hay net 38" diameter (Miller's, Dover, or Smith Brothers), and one double-ended dog snap. Tie two loops in the cord about 1/3 of the way around the circle. Adjust the loops so that the cord comes off over the handles when open, and does not when you use the snap. Adjust the location of the loops, rather than the length of the loops. I can put up to 1/2 square bale in the bucket and stacked on top. Put the SMHN over the top and close with the snap. It will keep the horse busy for 12 hours. My horses nose and kick the bucket.

This takes me about one minute to load the bucket and get the net on. Maybe you could reduce the feedings to two, if the barn staff will fill the bucket for you. This works better with grass hay.

See it here, middle of page: Miller's / Dover / Smith Brothers - Paddock Paradise Wiki
 

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I agree that a 'treat ball'(well, that's what the doggy variety is called) would be good - the bigger the better, so you can fill it with the horse's ration & he can 'slow feed' from it, pref over night when it's many hrs between visits. I too like the 'apple bob' idea(it's not stupid at all!) & horses can be busy for ages with them.... tho some work out how to catch them with very little time & effort!

I think boredom is definitely likely to be a part of the problem, but wood chewing is generally a physical cause, to begin with at least. That he's a poor keeper & only gets 3 meals per day also leads me to suppose he may have gut & possibly feed probs(I'm assuming his teeth are looked after & he's wormed sufficiently). You haven't said whether he gets free choice hay on top of his meals & sorry but I don't remember in prev. posts. I would be ensuring he always has hay, pref. in a small holed or double hay net, so he has to spend time getting at it. I would also avoid feeding him grain or any starchy, sugary feeds especially if you can't do it little & often. I would also consider treating him for ulcers. Another possibility is his wood chewing is due to lack or imbalance of nutrients. Copper & zinc deficiency seem to be the commonest nutritional causes of 'cribbing'.
 

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Gee, sometimes we need the obvious pointed out to us... here I am talking of treat balls but never considered tying & leaving a hay net in such a way that they can kick & push it around like a treat ball! Great idea Roxy! Pity this isn't likely to work for my boys tho - on a PP track, they'd surely kick it under the fence & out of reach in the first minutes!
 

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loosie,
these work fine on a PP. Use the handle to tie the bucket to a hay tree or fence post. They are very easy to haul over the snow. Have you seen the paddock paradise wiki site? You can reach it from the link above.
 

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Yup, definitely a stall toy or three, those listed above are good ones. Also, see if you can pay for more hay. Have grass hay put in to a small mesh hay net twice a day, along with his normal hay rations. That should help keep more food in front of him.
 

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If your looking for an inexpensive way... try cleaning out an old gallon milk jug and filling it with some feed or treats (preferably something not sugary or high energy... I'd use some pelleted feed) and hang it by the handle from the ceiling if possible or somewhere else just low enough so that he can just get it with his head... He will spend a lot of time flipping it up and down trying to get the grain out, plus it will up his food intake!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks for all of the ideas given already, I'll definitely try some of them and see what works best for him :)
I don't really have any form of extra hay available to me, it's kind of a weird deal I'm in...eh. I can be frustrated with it or I can work with it, so here I am.
I probably will have to try a few things. He'd probably like something he could play with and kick around..and definitely anything involving food, haha

He does not have free choice hay, he only has two large meals of oat hay and quite a bit of grain. Again, we are very limited here, I don't understand why..all of the stables in the area are a lot like mine, very very limited..but I never hear about it being like that elsewhere.

The reason I assume that it's just boredom and not a deeper health problem, though, I probably should have explained that further..he's picked it up a little bit once or twice before when I was away for much shorter periods of time and since it was only a minor thing they would just spray some McNasty and let it be until I came back. As soon as I start coming out and working him again, he stops. But this time it just got to a bit of a higher extent because I've been away for longer than usual.
 

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Given what you've said above, I would think gut/diet related probs are a very likely problem(can you pay extra for more feed, provide your own or ask for grain free or something?), but I'd say he may be stressing, rather than just bored, when you've left him. You reckon he thinks you're part of(or other half of) his herd? You might be his sense of security.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'll definitely bring the idea up to my mom. That would make sense what loosie described, I hadn't thought of that.
 

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I've never seen a horse in our barn play with jolly balls. We have a jolly ball graveyard at the barn.

Best toy you can get is the Amazing Graze. It's expensive and best if you can get your local feed store to order it and buy it from them. It's heavy so shipping cost is high. Extremely durable, long lasting play for the horses with or without treats. We have several in our barn that use it.

It's draft horse tested and approved!



Video of Solon and his best friend (passed away a couple of years ago) playing:

Amazing Graze Toy - Videos - liviatasia on Xanga
 

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I agree with the more hay may help. If he is hard to keep weight on this would be good for him as well. My horse recently took up eating wood as well. She was inside alot of the day, more than i would like. But, just like you, the situation I had her in was the best around. And I love everything else about it except that I would love for them to get more turnout. She goes out around 9 and comes in around 3. I figured that she was bored from that so I kept her outside with a runin stall. She started chewing the wood out there as well. The barn owner didn't want her to chew the wood outside so she put her ina different stall inside that was closest to the feed room (because she loves to eat and she figured she would like to be first to eat) and she is also able to stick her head out of the stall now. I think this has helped a great deal. She never chews anymore. Also she loves salt. I always ahve alot of salt in her stall for her. It usually keeps her entertained, plus it makes her drink more because salt makes you thirsty. So there are two pluses. Also She loves likits. They have many cool likit toys you could try to put in his stall. i havent tried them but they look fun! haha Hope you find something to help you boy be entertained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So I thought I'd post an update
I picked him up this stall toy


and he seems to be satsfied with it. It was pretty inexpensive but I think it's doing the trick! The lick on it is pretty good, too...I couldn't help but taste it myself hahaha

I also talked to my BO and we put him on a full lunch, so that should be good for him. Hopefully now he'll have much more to do when I'm away.
 
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