Horses are designed to graze all day in the meadows. Not only does it allow them to let off steam but in addition eating almost continuously is essential to keep their digestive system in good working order.
Unfortunately, in reality, horse spends a lot of time alone in their boxes, whether because of bad weather or to recover from an injury or illness. In any case, this forced confinement is a real source of stress for equines. It can even lead to undesirable behaviors such as running around in circles or chewing wood. But it can also lead to medical problems, such as stomach ulcers. To avoid this and make life in the box of your horse more enjoyable, here are some tips to put in place!
1. A slow feeder
In order to keep your horse busy all day, you can invest in a slow feeder, also known as a slow feeder. This type of feeder is in the form of a net or a grid placed on the hay and allows the animal to eat more slowly. This not only helps to fight against boredom but also to avoid ulcers.
2. Daily outings
It is absolutely essential to take your horse out of the box every day. And if possible free at the paddock or in the carousel with a friend. Forest trips, even short, are also essential to the well-being of your equine.
These outings are just as important to him as they are to a dog for example. Indeed, it allows him to spend time with you but also and especially to stretch his legs. And get out of his trouble!
Your horse needs to socialize with his congeners but also, why not, with other animals. The company of another horse within sight of his box or the presence of a dog or a goat at his side could satisfy his need for interaction and reduce his feeling of loneliness.
There are toys specially designed for horses. Generally, it’s about solving a puzzle in order to access a treat. Even if it is not going to occupy your horse more than a few minutes, these toys can prove to be a good distraction.
Also, be sure to rotate your horse’s toys every week to prevent it from getting tired!
5. Hidden treats
In order to please your horse while doing a little work, do not hesitate to hide pieces of carrots in his hay. Similarly, hang apples in his box with a thick rope (after removing the central part with the seeds) and your horse will be happy to try to chew.
6. The music
Some horses enjoy listening to the radio or music while in the box. It would have the gift of entertaining them. However, make sure this is the case for your horse. If it shows signs of nervousness when you put the sound, do not insist. Also, do not leave the music on all day, one or two hours a day will be enough.
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Read also how to cohabitate a horse with the dog.