Let’s Discuss: Boredom Busters

Foster is now 1.5 weeks into his 8 weeks of stall rest, and while he seems to be handling it fairly well, my own guilt about keeping him so cooped up has only intensified.

For a horse, Foster is pretty vocal in general. Before the surgery it was commonplace to hear him nicker when I got out of my car, and give me a “come back” call when I’d leave his stall to go get tack or grooming supplies. Adorable, yes. But now his calls have tend to have a slightly frantic note to them on occasion, and it just tears my heart out. He’s also extended his vocals to other people- horse loves attention, and I hate that I can’t do more with him than a strict 15 minutes of hand grazing each day.

Meanwhile, my bandages (this is #3) are getting better and better

Meanwhile, my bandages (this is #3) are getting better and better

Last night I added a Likit to his stall, and he was immediately drawn to it. When he started grabbing the holder though, and yanking repeatedly on it, I wondered just how long the toy would last. I’ll be surprised if it’s still hanging, and especially if there is any treat left, this evening.

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Because of Foster’s oral fixations (leading up and including to the fact that certain horses can’t be put in the cross ties out of his stall because he yanks on them- whoops), I have wondered if this might be the rare type of horse to actually play with a jolly ball, but I just don’t know.

So I’m reaching out to you guys- have you had any experience with “boredom busters”? Which kind actually seem to work? Which are just a plain waste of money? Are there any other ways to help out a creature confined to his stall for the next month and a half?

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Boredom Busters

  1. When Copper was a baby I gave him bottles with rocks in them. Toy+noise training for the baby. 😉 In hindsight I’m not sure how safe that was since, in theory, he could’ve eaten the cap, but it worked out. haha. He did like a jolly ball. I never bought him one, but the stud colt in the stall beside him threw his over the wall into Copper’s stall a lot, so they both got to play with it. 😉

  2. My mare just licked her stall door…lol but she was never into jolly balls. Another friend got a big cloth blow up beach ball for their guy that did the trick…I just worry the playing would get too rough with that haha

  3. Simon eats likits really quickly, so they don’t really work for us. You can get the ‘sport’ version of likit which is electrolyte based, and they eat those slower. I’ve also heard people will put an empty milk cartoon in the stall hanging.

  4. Maybe one of the uncle jimmy treat balls would work for him? They are harder. Poor Woman Showing has used them I believe. I’d like to get something for Annie as she cribs some and I’m hopeful that distractions will help that… In addition to the collar haha.

    Glad foster is doing well still.

  5. Lucy figured out how to get teeth on her Likit and would take chunks out of it to eat… She’s a pacer and we’ve never found a good solution for her in a stall, except food. Our mini donkey, however, plays with an old soccer ball of my brother’s in his paddock. It’s adorable.

  6. ugh i’ve only ever seen so many of these horse toys neglected and dusty in their stalls so i really don’t know. hopefully he continues to be mostly stoic (if a bit chatty) for the next couple weeks!

  7. Absolutely a hay net to extend eating times. 1 flake is almost 3 hours in a 2×2 hole net. Will cut down on oral fixation. Not sure if you already are doing it.
    Had great success with simple softish traffic cone with box stall rest horses after surgery. They come up with their own little games, and it’s safe. Taking it out at night keeps the interest.

  8. if you had a way to hang the Likit away from a wall it might last longer? I got Johnny an Uncle Jimmy’s hanging ball one time and was able to hang it in the middle of his stall- he loved it! He would randomly swing his head and hit the ball with his neck just to watch it swing. Eventually he found a way to grab it and ate the whole thing but he enjoyed it for a brief bit! Plus I second or third or whatever number the milk jug with rocks- it would give you an idea if he would enjoy a jolly ball 🙂

  9. The Uncle Jimmy’s hanging balls seem to last a little longer than the Likits. They are, however, horrendously messy. I hung an empty gallon water jug filled with a few pennies while Bobby was doing his barefoot transition. Noisy, easy to grab, and practically free if he wants to destroy it.

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