Did you know adult horses sleep an average of 2-5 hours a day? Compared to the amount of sleep an average human needs, this may be surprising. Pair their little need for sleep with their intelligence, athleticism, and curiosity, and it’s no surprise that horses not only get bored but bore easily. Sometimes, such as periods of stall rest, horses may not get the mental and physical stimulation they need. This can lead to unwanted and even destructive behaviors. Luckily, there are several boredom busters for horses that can help keep them entertained. Continue reading for toys, treats, and more to help your horse fight the boredom blues.
If you’re looking for a boredom buster for horses with multiple options for enrichment and stimulation, the KONG Hanging set and Equine Classic toy are great options. The KONG Equine Hanging Set with Treat Ring is perfect to use in a stall, during transport, and you can detach the hook and rope and use it in the pasture. Unlike some equine toys that only offer one way for your horse to play, you can use the KONG Equine Hanging set in various ways, including stuffing treats like carrots in the treat ring and filling the inside with hay. In the words of Kim, Jeffers Equine Specialist, “If my warmblood loves it…..Every Horse Will! :)”.
The KONG Equine Classic is a supersized version of the classic KONG dog toy and is available in regular or heavy duty. You can stuff it with hay or treats for a tasty snack they’ll have a ball trying to retrieve.
If you’re looking for a fun and colorful toy for your horse to play with in the paddock or pasture, the classic Ball Feeder Horse Toy from Shires is a go-to boredom buster for horses. Not only can horses play with the ball, but the ball has a hole in it, so you can fill it with treats or grain to help keep your horse occupied for hours. The hole is small enough that your horse has to work to get their “prize”, but large enough for them to still have fun without getting aggravated or losing interest. Choose from multiple colors and easily keep them entertained with this affordable and fun boredom buster!
Perfect for one or multiple horses, the Original Jolly Ball Horse Toy provides tons of tugging and ball-playing fun. This toy is easy to hang in a stall or use in the pasture for throwing, kicking, and tossing. What’s great about this toy is it does not need air to inflate, and it’s designed so that biting will not puncture and destroy the toy. The Jolly Ball is also available in scented and mega versions, so you can choose what your horse likes best or try all three.
This apple-shaped toy is the perfect distraction for bored or cribbing horses. The Jolly Apple Horse Toy is apple scented and made of hard, durable plastic that helps alleviate stall boredom without being easily destroyed by horses. The toy features a sturdy loop for hanging in stalls and is an excellent option for a budget-friendly way to help minimize your horse’s stress and boredom.
Available in various versions and difficulty levels, Likit toys are excellent for providing your horse with hours of mental stimulation, enrichment, and joy. The Likit Holder moves as your horse plays with it, which keeps them entertained by making them work harder for their reward and is perfect for stalled horses. The Likit Boredom Buster is ideal for highly intelligent or food-motivated horses. Designed for multi-directional movement with multiple challenge options, this durable horse toy is made with a refillable lickable glucose treat, similar to the glucose found in grass.
Not only are they tasty for horses, but they are also scientifically proven to help prevent ulcers and reduce stall boredom. If you can’t decide which toy to get, they also have a combination toy, the Likit Boredom Breaker, which combines both toys for unlimited amounts of stimulation and tasty fun for your horse.
Another great toy for food motivated horses is the Jolly Stall Snack System. Shaped like an apple and apple flavored, this stall snack kit is a perfect way to give them a treat that challenges them and lasts. Designed to help horses with stall boredom, this toy is unique because the horse can bite into it, similar to a real apple. Each snack is designed to last for up to 3 weeks, and there are refills available in multiple tasty flavors. So, you can easily switch out the flavors for multiple delicious options depending on what your horse prefers.
Boredom busters are all about occupying your horse’s time as well as their mind. One treat dispenser horse toy that does a great job of doing both is the Carrot Ball. The Carrot Ball is a round hanging toy with holes for carrots placed tactically around the ball. Not only does this help alleviate stress and reduce boredom, but it also increases your horse’s dexterity as they learn how to interact with the toy and figure out the best way to get to their tasty treat.
Constructed out of an anti-burst material, this ball is designed to stand up to cribbing or destructive horses. Also, the more you fill the ball with air, the harder it is for your horse to get the carrots, giving you multiple levels of difficulty for hours of fun for your horse.
If you’re looking for another option or your horse isn’t a big fan of toys, slow feed hay nets are also a great option to help alleviate boredom and stress in horses. Slow feed hay nets are designed to help slow down a horse’s eating, decreasing the chances of intestinal issues. They also make it harder for your horses to retrieve the hay, which helps keep your horse’s interest and occupy their mind. Available in various brands, colors, and sizes, slow feed hay nets are a great way to customize and provide your horse with the foraging and stimulation they need to keep them both healthy and happy.
Looking for a boredom buster that also helps ensure your horse gets their daily forage intake? The Burlingham Hay Ball Feeder combines the best of both worlds by offering an entertaining slow-feed option without needing additional feed or treats. Easy to use and built to last, this feeder stimulates a natural grazing position and has a unique shape that allows your horse to easily push the ball around without risking it rolling away down a slope or hill.
Available in a variety of colors, this hay ball feeder is great for both indoor and outdoor horses, ensuring they stay engaged and stimulated while delivering their daily foraging needs. Simply unscrew the lid, fill it with hay, and your horse will play for hours!
For horses that tend to chew or crib when they are bored, scratchers such as The Equine Scratcher can help stimulate your horse while helping eliminate destructive behaviors. You can use The Equine Scratcher on barn walls or pasture posts. Plus, they are stackable, so you can buy as many as you need to cover the area of your choosing. Not only is it a great boredom buster, but it allows your horse to scratch safely without risking injury or causing damage to fences and posts they have claimed as their “special scratching spot”.
All in all, horses are extremely intelligent and social animals who desire a lot of mental and physical stimulation to be happy and healthy. Other ways you can help your horse alleviate their boredom is through grooming, playing music or reading, and making sure that they can visit with a friend, even if it is through a stall door.
If your horse is not on stall rest and is experiencing boredom, an excellent way for both of you to bond and share some time outside is by going on a trail ride. Wondering what to pack? Check out Jeffers’ blog, Top 10 Safety Essentials for Horse Trail Riding.
There are endless ways to help your horse stay stimulated and enriched in their environment. Looking for more horse toys and treats options? Check out Jeffers’ full section of treats and toys for horses.
What helps your horse stay occupied and entertained? Share your boredom busters for horses in the comments below!