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Boring Stall!

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  • Boring Stall!

    Due to some very inclimate weather lately my poor horses have been forced to spend way too much time in their stalls. Their paddocks are slick with MUCK, MUD and all things you do not expect in December in Eastern Canada!!
    I do not have an indoor arena so I have been walking them up and down the driveway, letting them hang out one at a time in the hallway of the barn (don't worry, it's a small barn and nothing for them to get in to in the hallway) and "visit" with each other while I am mucking their stalls...but, that is only a very small part of the day!
    What do YOU do when your horses are in for a few days to keep them entertained? I feel so bad for them, my mare in particular is getting cranky!

  • #2
    Mine all live outside 24/7 so I don't have the problem of them being bored in stalls.

    You could get some rutabagos, strip the wax off them and give to horses in bucket or on ground to eat and play with.

    Buy those treat-balls.

    Hang large plastic water bottles from rafters.

    Jolly balls.


    • #3
      When I couldn't ride my horse (and heck, when I can't walk my dogs) I do trick training. It's not exercise but at least they get some brain stimulation. And I never did rearing, or any of the crazy stuff, but I taught my boy to shake and nod his head on command, which I then used to convince the little kids at the stable that my horse understood English


      • #4
        Originally posted by Made In Canada View Post
        What do YOU do when your horses are in for a few days to keep them entertained? I feel so bad for them, my mare in particular is getting cranky!
        Haha... I kick em back out! I think my main boy spent all of 2 days in a stall last year? That was when it hit -50C and ONLY because I found him violently shivering, he wasn't getting the shelter time he needed in his group, he was already on the thin side, and I was worried about body soreness. Mostly, maintaining weight was my main concern.

        All the others? They all wintered outside. Without blankets even Muck, slick surfaces, snow, frigid weather...happens. Especially up here in Canada
        ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
        ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


        • #5
          Wow, if I found my thin-ish horse violently shivering outside sans blanket - I'd be re-evaluating my horse keeping practices pretty darn quickly.

          For the OP, would a Nibble Net help? I sometimes let the pony wander the aisle. He visits the horses and they have some stimulation.


          • #6
            If there is any way possible you can allow your horses free access to stalls or shelter, then let them go out.

            My sacrifice pasture which connects the barn to the other pastures is an iceskating rink now.
            There is some snowcover, & even though I worry about them slipping I let my guys choose In or Out from their stalls.
            Hoofprints in the pastures tell me they have made the tour & no horse or pony-sized divots in the snow tell of a fall.

            Really - they are pretty smart about where they put their feet.
            Horses just HATE falling down.

            My choice is to let them wander rather than coop them up and risk an explosion of energy when the weather is better.

            The one near-disaaster I've had in 6 years was when my TWH managed to get his RF tangled in the corner bracing of my fenceline.
            The one place the tensile wire is not coated.
            I found him there when I got home from work, so who knows how long he stood patiently waiting for me to free him.
            KNOCK WOOD, he did not cut anything and was just mildly stiff for a few steps when I got him loose.
            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


            • #7
              My personal experience has shown me that the more often a horse stays outside, the more careful he is about where his feet go. I have found that often when horses stay inside for a few days and then go out, they are much more likely to tear around and slip on that one tiny ice patch than if they go out every day and know where the ice patch is.

              When we had an ice storm here several years ago, all 8 horses where I boarded at the time stayed in during the storm, but went right back out when the storm let up. They walked cautiously onto the icy field and did not gallop or wreak havoc. I sent them out as soon as possible because they have more pent up energy the longer they are in and lose some caution.

              For mud, I would send the horses out. If they do not have a place to keep their feet dry every once in a while, then I would bring them in and clean up their feet/legs at feeding time, but that's it.

              My mare lives out 24/7 with a nice run in shed. She does fine in all weather - including the snow storms we had last year that dumped about 3' of snow on us on three separate occasions.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Alice View Post
                Wow, if I found my thin-ish horse violently shivering outside sans blanket - I'd be re-evaluating my horse keeping practices pretty darn quickly.
                Alice, no need to re-evaluate my horse keeping practises but thank-you for your concern. Obviously I did make changes for that horse, as I already mentioned. I did not however initially go in-depth because it is of no concern to you and made no difference to the topic at hand. Occasionally *gasp* horses shiver (natural response to cold, no need to panic!) and yes, occasionally *gasp!* horses may be a little on the thin side (may be chronic, may be temporary) It happens. Sometimes you correct it, sometimes you continue with what you are doing, depending on the circumstances. My standards are to allow the winter coat to grow in and then go from there, but they remain outside 24/7. If they need further suplementation, whether it be feed or blanketing, they get it. This year I am feeding and blanketing two of my six.

                Said horse was immediately blanketed and, like I said, brought inside that day. Typically he is not brought inside however he is blanketed instead (for his own reasons). He has a pretty darn high metabolism hence the thin-ish-ness but is kept on a roundbale for 24/7 forage and is also fed beat pulp, flax, and Hoffman's. Yeesh. I pride myself in my horses' care and always receive compliments about their condition, including from our vets.

                As for footing, I find as well that when they are out 24/7, they are much more careful. Horses handle cold much easier than heat and are pretty adaptable, even in extreme temperatures; our horses usually handle even the -50C temps just fine (and the ones that do not have their own individual reasons). That's what their coats are for. Footing though, and especially muck (as opposed to ice, ice always makes me a little more nervous, though I still shrug and live with it, it's not like ice is new to horses)...happens.

                Anything that stimulates the horse's mind is going to alleviate boredom, whether that mean stall chains instead of doors so they can see and (sort of) visit with friends, or jolly balls, or likits (my high-energy Quarab LOVED his likit when he had to be stalled at that track), or teaching them tricks etc.
                Last edited by naturalequus; Dec. 15, 2010, 04:53 PM.
                ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


                • #9
                  An empty bleach jug with some holes in it and a handful of crunch. As the horse pushes it around the stall, pieces fall out.

                  Someone also posted a hay pillow a while ago. It was out of that plastic netting, 'stitched' together like a pillow so that it took time to eat the flakes of hay. The horse had to pull the hay out through the holes slowly. I'll see if I can find the thread - it was neat.
                  Sometimes I just think funny things - Dudley Moore in Arthur
                  Come join us at - TheMuckBucket


                  • #10
                    Just let 'em out! Do you have shelter they can get in? We got probably 4" of snow last night and even though my horses have nice 12x15 stalls to go in with their paddocks (about 24 x 40) there were hoof prints EVERYWHERE in the snow! Even on the days that they decide they don't want to venture around and be crazy, their attitudes are much better if they are out and have the choice to stand under shelter or make their way around. My oldster was pampered and treated like glass for the first 20 years of his life. He's at home now and I caught him sleeping outside at 1am with a layer of snow on his back while his stall was right there. He does like to play though. His favorite is a detergent container (the big heavy duty 90-load kind) with rocks, jolly balls, and anything he can use to make a big noisy racket. He like the containers/balls hung in groups so they rattle against each other.