The Best toys for stall boredom

The Best Toys for Stall Boredom

by | Jun 1, 2023 | Blog

Imagine you are in a small house all day and all night. You are not able to get outside to exercise for more than an hour, maybe a few per day, and even then, it may not be the exercise you would choose for yourself. You don’t have direct contact with your friends, you can only talk with them through some sort of barrier.

Looking back to the days of the COVID-19 lockdown, none of us have to imagine this – we lived it! So we can understand how many of our horses feel if they live their lives in stalls. And just like for people, horses can get used to living in stalls. It is true that just as some people can manage shelter in place better than others, some horses can manage living in a stall better than others. It is also true that stalls have many benefits, benefits which oftentimes outweigh the risks of keeping horses outdoors. But as creatures which are designed to move around throughout the day, horses can tend to get bored if they spend most of their time in a stall. This is true whether they live in a stall full time, or whether they are on stall rest for a short period of time due to illness or injury. In today’s article, we will examine how to manage stall boredom in horses, and look at ways to help alleviate some of the boredom that your horse may be facing.

How to Recognize Boredom in Your Horse

Anyone who has spent time around young children can easily recognize their signs of boredom. The whiny complaints of “I’m bored,” “what can we do now?” The new shades and images adorning the walls as they find new surfaces on which to color. The house and garden furniture being rearranged in all sorts of different setups and forts. All of these are signs of boredom in creatures who communicate with verbal language and opposable thumbs. Horses have neither of these attributes, so they have to get more creative.

Boredom in horses often exhibits itself undesirably, in a series of behaviors known as stable vices. These behaviors include weaving, cribbing, chewing (either on themselves or on parts of the stall), pacing, pawing, and kicking. Sadly, some horses that are chronically bored develop aggressive tendencies toward humans or other horses. For more information on aggression in horses, you can check out this article we have published.

For horses who have developed stable vices, there are anti-cribbing collars, muzzles, special hobbles with chains attached for stall kicking, and bitter sprays and creams to discourage chewing. However, rather than punishing misbehavior, why not try to find a way to give your horse something fun and interesting to keep him entertained? Then you can reward behavior that is desirable, rather than punishing negative behaviors.

Read on to find out about the best toys for relieving stall boredom!

The Best Toys for Your Horse to Prevent Boredom



Horseman’s Pride Pas-A-Flier Horse Toy

This toy is great for the horse with an oral fixation who loves to chew, lick, crib, or play with things with his mouth.
The horse uses its teeth and lips to roll the center ring around. The stationary nature of this toy may cause the horses to lose interest in time, but this can be avoided by putting carrot or apple chunks around the ring to encourage the horse to use it.


Likit Starter Kit

Likit Starter Kit

Likit is a brand known for producing a variety of toys for the stall-bound horse. The basic design is a round, flavored treat attached to a plastic ring that is suspended by a string.
This can be hung in a stall or a pasture shelter. The horse licks the flavored section, which is free-spinning to add to the challenge. Likit offers a variety of designs for their toys, as well as a variety of flavors for refills.



Amazing Graze Horse Feed Toy

This toy can be used in a stall or a paddock. Filled with treats or hard food, this tube is placed on the ground and can be rolled around by the horse to dispense the goodies within.
The risk of this toy is accidental ingestion of whatever else is on the ground with the toy. Furthermore, care must be taken for horses that are insulin resistant or who gain weight easily. These horses should not be given too many treats in the Amazing Graze toy, but the horse’s regular rations can be fed in them, or low-calorie grass hay pellets.



Shires Ball Feeder

A large ball which can be stuffed with hay, the ball has large holes distributed around the surface. The ball can be rolled around while the horse pulls bites of hay through the holes.
The benefits of this toy to the horse are mental and physical. The horse must stretch his back and neck muscles, while strengthening the muscles naturally used for pulling grass and chewing. Furthermore, the toy causes the horse to think, as he reasons how to move it around to get at the hay. The fact that it feeds hay and not hard, pelleted feeds minimizes the risk of ingesting whatever bedding is on the ground. The greatest downside to this toy is its hefty price tag, though of all the toys in this list, it has greatest appeal to horses is the best at promoting natural behaviors.

Simple DIY Toy

A simple DIY toy for your horse just requires a lead rope. The best kind is a thick cotton lead rope that has a nice, loose twist. Hang the rope up in a window frame or door frame, and stick carrots in between the twists of the lead rope. Your horse will enjoy finding a way to get the carrots out of the twists of the rope!


Rather than punishing negative behaviors that arise from boredom in the stall, why not give your horse something nice to pass their time? They will be entertained and happy, they will be less likely to destroy parts of their stall (or themselves!), and the overall atmosphere of the stable will be more happy and relaxed.

What toy would you most like to buy for your equine darlings?

About The Author

<a href="" target="_self">Ani Petrak</a>

Ani Petrak

Ani Petrak is a freelance linguist and writer based in the Czech Republic. A lifelong English rider and groom, she has experience showing in dressage, hunter-jumpers, trail, and young horse in-hand competitions. She is currently working with a Grand Prix showjumping and dressage trainer while raising and training her young warmblood gelding for a career in dressage, working equitation, and cross-country hacking.

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