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Toys/Treats in Show Stall?

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  • Toys/Treats in Show Stall?

    What, if anything, do you put in a show stall to keep your horse entertained?
    How do you attach it (seems like you can't hang things from the ceiling like you would in a barn stall)?

    My horse is an inexperienced show horse (she's 12, and has gone to 5 shows over the past two years), and we'll be going to some regional two day shows where she'll spend two nights at the facility. At home, she is in the pasture 24/7, so the show stall is a big adjustment for her, and I'm hoping to find something to help keep her occupied.

    I also plan on hand walking and hand grazing as much as possible.
    My blog: Journeys in Riding

  • #2
    If possible, get her used to being in a stall at home- even if it is just for a few hours at a time a few days before the show. It's much less stressful than starting for the first time at a show.

    Then, bring lots and lots of hay and make sure she gets plenty of exercise so she doesn't see a need to cause trouble. If she's eating, she's less likely to worry. As far as toys, the horses that play with jolly balls at home (which is only a few) get to take them on the road. I've also brought a likit along for one horse- but I had to hang it on the wall so he ate it much faster than at home since he could pin it against the wall.


    • #3
      I haven't put anything in my horse's stalls at shows. I take a LOT of babies to their first show and have never needed to.

      a) They get a LOT of hay. I take 1 LARGE bale per horse for a 2 day show (ship in Friday, show Sat. and Sun.). This not only keeps them occupied, but it helps prevent ulcers, and keeps weight on them (they always drop a few pounds from nerves, etc.). I give it to them pretty much free choice. I'd rather come home with a fat horse than a skinny one. Sometimes I will buy different hay (not too different, don't want to upset their system), i.e. straight grass (orchard, timothy) instead of O/A or T/A, so I'm not feeding so much alfalfa.

      b) They're TIRED. By the time mine get schooled, shown, bathed, wrapped, and put away, all they want to do is chill.

      Can you put her in a stall at home for a few days at a time before the show to get her accustomed to it? I have one showing in June that is just on pasture. We are moving him to my farm for a few days about 2 weeks before the show, so he learns how to live in a stall.
      In loving memory of my precious Gwendolyn; you will always be with me, in my heart. I love you.


      • #4
        You might want to have her spend more time in her stall before you go to a show like that. My horse spends most of her time in the paddock, too, and I know it can be a little bit of a problem after she's been in for a while. So if I were you, I would be a little concerned about how she'll be behaving under saddle after being in a stall for that long - chances are it'll be a little different than what you're used to.

        But as for the treats/toys: If the stalls that she'll be staying in have corner feed buckets then you can just stick a likit into her feed bucket and let her play with it in there. If they don't, you can tie and extra feed bucket up with a bungee cord (using the stall bars) and put her likit in there.

        Oh and, stalls can be helpful when dealing with horses that don't spend much time in their stall (as long as they aren't the kind that gets nasty when in a stall). It let's them socialize a bit more.


        • #5
          I like to put up stall guards. It makes the stall (seem) bigger, and they can stick their heads out. We have the wide, custom one's. Be careful, though, because some horses will push through them. And some horses like those "Lick-it's." I hang them with a couple loops of twine, so they can break if they need to, but are still strong. Depends on the stall and the horse where you hang them. Don't hang it too high, or the horse will have to crank his head to get it.

          I've had some horses eat through those in a matter of hours, though, so I don't use them with every horse.

          I think between getting your horse out for showing, in addition to hand walking a couple of times she should be fine. I find horses work so much harder at shows and there is so much going on every time they get out that they seem to appreciate the sanctuary of their stall!
          "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."


          • #6
            My girl hates being in a stall at home, but adjusts ok during a show. We always make sure she has a corner stall so she can see what is going on, which helps her a lot. We also make sure she has lots of hay to eat.
            A proud friend of bar.ka.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for all the feedback, everyone.

              She doesn't get grain, so putting the likit in the feedbucket is a good idea.

              While putting her in a stall at home would be ideal, the barn I board out only has about 10 available stalls, and they all are taken.

              I am actually not very worried about how she will be under saddle. We've gone to this particular show once before, last year, and as it turns out, when she is grouchy about being in a stall, and when I am nervous, as happens at shows, she gets way way slow. I'm a novice - a lot of this is rider error - but there is no way for us to figure it out without doing it. I am hoping if I just try to make this a pleasant experience for her, we will both relax and have fun.
              My blog: Journeys in Riding


              • #8
                Originally posted by LShipley View Post

                While putting her in a stall at home would be ideal, the barn I board out only has about 10 available stalls, and they all are taken.
                The barn I'm at is like that, too. A lot of the trainer's horses just kind of stick it out in nasty weather. They actually get a little angry when you try to bring them in if it's snowing or something. After all, horses are horses, not porcelin figures.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LShipley View Post
                  She doesn't get grain, so putting the likit in the feedbucket is a good idea.
                  If you put a likit in her feed bucket, it will be gone in no time!! It would be like putting a pile of sugar cubes in her bucket and expecting to keep her busy. You have to hang it from the wall so that it is a moving target.


                  • #10
                    On the other hand...

                    You might try closing her into her stall at the show.

                    I had a young horse who is usually smart and quiet but got all amped up when she got to her stall at her first show where we were just there to school and practice living at a show.

                    I tried to keep her entertained, let her look around, but nothing worked. With no more ideas, I shut her top door and went away. An hour or so later, she had figured it out and was quiet.

                    The best thing to do is respond to what your mare offers you. Take her out, hand walk and let her look when you arrive. Give her plenty of time, but if she gets worse, not better, it's time to try something else. I'm not a fan of lunging the stressed horse as a solution, but I will lunge one that feels good and wants to play in his exciting new surroundings.

                    Getting her a bit tired will help. The mental part of just living at a show is hard work for them until they figure it out. If you can arrive a day early, do that. If you can go to a show but not compete, that's even better.

                    If you do it right, your horse will learn that her stall is a restful place, a way to recover from the demands of the busy outside world. When you see that she is willing to lie down to rest, or puts her head in the back corner of the stall for some meditation, you will know you have taught her how to take advantage of her stall at a show.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                    • #11
                      How about getting her a treat ball and sticking some high fibre cubes in there?

                      Something like this: http://www.marystack.com/aaaaaaaabd.html

                      Or I've heard about people putting a hole in a milk jug and using that in the same way.
                      Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


                      • #12
                        Just a caution on the likit... my BO had a horse that pinned it to the wall and ate it in about a half an hour (they think) and colicked pretty badly. He was prone to colic anyways but just in case...

                        My horse loves his orange cone and we have another horse that plays with milk jugs. Good luck and have fun
                        No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                        For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                        www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


                        • #13
                          At our last show, a few of horses at our barn that get easily bored had those Pony Pops in their stalls. They played with them pretty much all the time when they were in their stall when they werrn't eating. They were taken out at night though, otherwise the horses would never sleep!