The yawning boredom in the stable:
Horse husbandry always presents us with new challenges. It should be as horse-friendly as possible and at the same time offer optimal training opportunities. It is often very difficult to reconcile these two factors. Nowadays, most riding horses are kept in classic stalls. However, this type of keeping is mainly oriented towards the needs of the rider. If the horse owner decides to keep the horse in a box, he has to offer the horse additional activities and exercise every day. Today, we would like to give you 4 tips on how to get rid of boredom in the stable. Of course, these tips are no substitute for contact with other horses, exercise or even daily grazing.
Causes of boredom in horses kept in stalls:
Horses are herd animals and it is in their nature to travel long distances. These two factors are often forgotten. In classical stabling, horses are isolated from each other, usually to avoid injury, in their stalls most of the day. In this way, not only their physical needs but also their mental needs are neglected. In the wild, horses often play with other horses and are almost always looking for food. Therefore, we as owners have to take responsibility that our horses get the necessary activity and exercise they need.
4 tips against boredom in the stable:
Sufficient feeding of roughage provides the horse with a super occupation.As already mentioned, horses are used to eating constantly. In the wild, this is one of their main activities. It is best to feed the hay in a close-meshed hay net to prevent your horse from pouncing on the hay too quickly. This way your horse can spend a few hours a day pulling the hay out of the net.
Another great way to relieve boredom is with twigs to nibble on. Yes, you heard me right, many horses love to nibble on branches and twigs. Always make sure which branches you use. Birch, willow, hazelnut, blackthorn, poplar, fruit trees (esp. apple, pear, cherry), alder, lime, elm and bamboo are best suited for this. Caution: Stay away from beech, walnut, acacia, pine, lark and oak.
Horses are herd animals and contact with other horses not only promotes normal social behaviour but is also an absolute boredom killer. Of course, the best thing is when your horse can let off steam in the pasture with other horses of its kind. If this is not possible, open stalls can be a remedy. This way, the horses can see each other and communicate.
In most cases, this tip is the most important one. Horses need exercise, and being ridden for an hour a day is not enough for any horse if it is otherwise confined to the box. Give your horse daily exercise and he will thank you for it. Horses that are often outside and can give free rein to their urge to move are usually not only more balanced but also less likely to suffer from illnesses. Being outside in all weathers and preferably with other horses is the best medicine against boredom.