How to stop your horse getting bored in stables

Wednesday 16th December, 2020

Various equestrian tools hanging on the walls of a green stable

Now that the weather is at its coldest, many horse owners are keeping their horses in stables overnight. Read our blog post on stabling your horse overnight here:

Keeping your horse stabled is sometimes unavoidable, but there are ways for you to stop your horse getting bored. Making the experience more enjoyable for them is key.  Keeping their minds active is the most important thing, as it will prevent them from becoming distressed. Here are our tips to help you stop your horse from getting bored in stables!

Mirror, mirror

Stable mirrors give horses the impression that they aren’t alone and will help stop them getting bored in stables. Make sure that any stable mirror you buy is specific for horses though! Horse-specific stable mirrors are made of safe materials to prevent broken glass and nasty accidents. 

Stable mirrors can be great investments but can be a bit pricey, so shop around or see if you can buy second hand from a horse sale or auction. They’re also not the be-all and end-all and don’t solve the problem alone. Read about stable mirrors in this article from Justine Harrison, an equine behaviourist. 

Two’s company

Horses don’t tend to be solitary animals. There are exceptions, of course, and sometimes horses will choose to separate themselves from the herd, but for the most part they enjoy company. If you find your horse isn’t enjoying stable life, putting another horse in with them to give them some company for a few hours each day can be beneficial. If you only have one horse, consider renting shared stable space.

Not being able to do these things isn’t the end of the world! Just make sure you spend as much time with your horse as possible. You could also leave a radio on in the stable to give your horse the illusion of company if they get stressed by themselves and to stop them getting bored in stables.

six brown horses lined up in front of stable door

Treat ’em well

Treat balls or licks can be a great way to occupy your horse’s time as they can take hours and hours for your horse to finish off. A cost-effective way to get this effect is by drilling holes in apples, carrots, or swedes. You can string some thread through these holes to hang these around your horse’s stable. Make sure you leave enough to keep them occupied!

You could also consider hiding treats in hay nets or leaving apples and carrots in water buckets so your horse has to indulge in some apple bobbing.

Two brown horses sharing a food bucket in a stable

Hay there!

Hay nets can be a little controversial, with many owners questioning the need for one if you could just leave your horse a hay pile on the floor. However, if your horse is food motivated or a speedy eater, a hay net can slow their eating and help keep them entertained for longer.

Stop! It’s pamper time…

When stabled, horses won’t get to feel sun on their backs or indulge in a lovely long roll in the grass – especially if your stable is small. A good grooming season can help stimulate your horse’s circulatory system (similar to a massage) as well as improving their mood all round.

Take a break

Getting bored in stables is inevitable if the horse is in there long enough. If you need to stable your horse, that’s okay, but make sure they get breaks outside of their stable.

Kit out your stable

You’re right in thinking that your horse doesn’t care about the colour of the walls in your stable, but if they need to spend long hours stabled then they’ll appreciate high quality, warm and dry stables. For bespoke stable solutions to suit you (and your horse!) contact us here at Vale Stables today.

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