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Horses can get bored, especially when left alone in a stable or small paddock for long periods. If there is nothing to relieve the boredom, they may develop stable vices such as weaving or cribbing. Horse toys are a great way to enrich their lives and give them something fun to do, but store bought items can be pricey. There are lots of toys you can make at home for your horse to play with.
You can give him those apples and carrots that he so enjoys, but make it a game for him to get them. Put two or three whole small apples in a deep water trough and they will float. He will find it hard to catch them and grab them, but eventually will work out a technique. Thread apple and carrot pieces on a thick string and hang it at horse head height. Make sure it is hung up firmly so that he will not pull it down but will have to bite the pieces off the string. These kabob type toys are messy to make but are fun for your horse.
Turn a large heavy duty plastic container into a treat dispenser. Thoroughly wash it out then make holes around the sides. The size of the holes will depend on what type of treat you are going to use such as pony nuts or pieces of carrot. Experiment with it to get your hole size right so that treats can come out but not too easily. Make sure the lid or cap is secure. You can either put it on the ground for him to push around or you can hang it up securely so he has to rattle it to release treats.
Many horses love playing with giant balls, but they are expensive to buy. Make your own paddock ball using an old yoga ball. Find a large cloth cover for it like an old pillowcase or large cushion cover, so your horse can pick it up as well as chase it. Horses are hard on these type of toys so it may not last long but he will have fun with it. You also can hang an old soccer or basketball on a string and hang it at head height so he can toss it with his head.
Tactile and Noisy Toys
The head of an old broom or a sturdy scrubbing brush attached firmly to a wall at about wither height can keep a horse occupied for ages as they scratch themselves. Some horses enjoy noisy toys. You can fill a heavy duty plastic container with gravel or small stones for him to toss around and kick. If he destroys the container, there is nothing that can hurt him and the toy is easy to replace.
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