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7 tips to mentally Stimulate your Horse

By Anne Forsberg


Updated on

h as teach Horses are extremely emotional animals. They love to have fun, play, and get new challenges. Just like humans they can easily become bored if they lack proper simulation.

Often horses have a the same daily routine with feeding and exercise happening in the same way at the same time and in the same location every day. After a while this routine can lead to boredom.

Horse boredom is not something that can be ignored as it can lead to a number of other other behavioral issues such as cribbing, stall weaving, and a poor attitude when under the saddle. Continuous prolonged boredom can also lead to more complex mental health issues if not addressed.

Keeping a horse stimulated does actually not require that much effort. All you need is a bit of time and maybe a bit of creativity. When horses receive proper stimulation they get a rush of endorphins in the same way humans do.

There are lots of easy ways to ensure that your horse stays mentally stimulated. There is no need to buy expensive toys or set up elaborate obstacle courses for them to navigate. Mental stimulation means giving your horse attention in a way that they may not be used to and encouraging them to do something different.

1. Introduce a New Toy

There are lots of horse specific toys that can keep your horse entertained. Pull and tug toys can provide endless hours of fun. Horses also love balls and there are lots of different designs with some of them  coming in different flavors for your horse to lick or nibble. Treats dispensers are also a good way of keeping a horse stimulated and can easily be added to a horses stall.

2. Try a Different Discipline

Trying a new discipline is a great way to challenge a horse. The exact new discipline that you choose will depend on your horses age, fitness, size, and environment.

For example, if you only ever do flat work then why not try jumping the horse. Perhaps you have friends that do other disciplines that could advise you on the best way to get started learning something new.

3. Change Location:

If possible, move the horse to a new location. This may mean a new stall or a new field depending on your setup. A new stall will give the horse to look at and will provide a very welcome change of scenery.

Likewise if you only ever ride the horse in the same location then why not look into going somewhere different.

4. Give them more space

Horses love to forage and explore. However we often restrict their movement for no good reason. If it is an option you could increase their the space in which they can roam. A larger area gives them more space to move and will help to keep boredom at bay.

5. Interact with them more

This is something that can be done easily but is often overlooked. In our busy lives we sometimes forget about interacting with our horses in a meaningful way. The limited time we have with our horse is often spent just riding. However if it is an option for you try to spend more time interacting with your horse when not in the saddle.

This type of meaningful interaction will help keep your horse stimulated and will also help to improve your bond with the horse. Grooming the horse is the perfect opportunity for this type of interaction.

6. Give them a Companion

Horses are extremely social animals and crave interaction with other horses in particular. They have a herd mentality and are likely to form strong bonds with other horses in their company.

If getting another horse is not an option for you then you could always consider getting a non human companion to keep your horse company.

7. Teach them something New

Teaching a new skill or command is a great way to stimulate your horse. It provides them with a new challenge and will make them work to master the new skill. The new skill does not have to be particularly difficult or exciting. If trying to alleviate boredom why not start with a simple trick such as teaching your horse how to touch or how to pick up an item.



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About Anne Forsberg

Anne has been riding since she was only 5 years old and she's been obsessed with horses ever since. An avid horsewoman now, she loves horses and this sport more than anything else, sharing stories and info that she hopes will be helpful and meaningful to anyone who's on their path to become a better horse owner, a better rider and why not, a better person. Learn more about Seriously Equestrian's Editorial Process.