Sunday, 26 December 2010
With all of the horses being in for the past week or so - since the snow the yard is a total ice rink - I've been thinking about ways to make the day more interesting as it must be soooo boring being stuck in a stable all day. For me as well, there's the added worry of arthritis (John's not mine) and swollen legs (again John's not mine). He needs gentle exercise - but if we can't ride out and he can't go out into the field what are we supposed to do?
Given that I can't stay with him all day, grooming him or telling him jokes, what's the alternative?
We do have a ball, it's an oval football. We did have one of those hexagonal ones, the unbreakable ones, but I loaned it to a friend last winter and her pony broke it. Our oval football keeps him interested for oh about 10 minutes, then he gets fed up and hoofs it into the wall with a look that says 'just give me the treats it would be easier'.
So I decided to research the subject - what can you do to alleviate the boredom if your horse cannot go out into the field:
This first one didn't take up too much time - from experience, all I have to do is scratch his ears and he's happy - but you can't do that for hours on end.
Footballs - hexagonal or oval-shaped, you just insert the treats in one end, the horse kicks it around the stable, then the treats fall out the other end to reward patient horse.
Mirrors - I haven't used one of these but the idea is that the horse sees his reflection and thinks he has a friend with him, someone to talk to so he doesn't get bored or stressed. Don't know how John would react to a mirror, probably try to eat it or groom it.
Likits - these are horsey sweets and they do adore them. The first time I gave John a Likit a few years ago he didn't know what to do with it. He soon got the hang of it though and loves them - though the size of his tummy means we don't indulge too often. And he hasn't got the hang of the name, Likit, he bites it and tries to eat it all in one, plastic holder included.
Hiding carrots in the stable - these days he misses carrots in his feed, so the chances of him finding carrots hidden in his stable are quite slim I think.
With any luck the snow will soon melt and life will get back to normal for John and his pals, until then, any suggestions for alleviating the boredom of being stuck in the stable would be greatly appreciated.