Top Horse Toys to Beat Boredom and Encourage Play

Horses are intelligent, active animals that need mental and physical stimulation to thrive. Without engaging toys and activities, horses can develop stable vices or become restless and unhappy. In this article, I’ll share my top picks for horse toys that beat boredom, encourage natural play behaviors, and keep your equine friend happy and healthy.

As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, I know firsthand how important it is to provide our equine partners with an enriching environment. Horses are naturally curious and playful creatures, but the confines of a stable or limited turnout can lead to boredom and behavioral issues. That’s where horse toys come in – they offer mental stimulation, physical activity, and an outlet for natural play instincts.

I’ve seen the difference that engaging toys can make in a horse’s life. My own horse, Samson, used to weave and chew on his stall door when he was on stall rest. But once I introduced a few boredom-busting toys, like a treat dispenser and a jolly ball, he was noticeably calmer and happier. It was amazing to watch him figure out how to use each toy and see the satisfaction on his face when he succeeded.

In this article, I’ll share my favorite horse stall toys, durable play balls, pasture playthings, and treat-dispensing toys. Whether your horse is on stall rest, limited turnout, or just needs some extra enrichment, these toys are sure to provide hours of engaging play and mental stimulation. So let’s dive in and discover the best toys to keep your horse happy, healthy, and entertained!

Engaging Stall Toys for Horses

When horses are confined to a stall, whether due to injury, illness, or inclement weather, boredom can quickly set in. This can lead to stable vices like cribbing, weaving, or pacing. Stall toys are a great way to prevent these issues and keep your horse mentally stimulated.

One of my favorite stall toys is the Stall Snack Holder. This ingenious device holds a salt lick or treat dispenser, encouraging your horse to work for their reward. The licking and chewing action also promotes salivation, which can help prevent ulcers and digestive issues. Plus, the puzzle-like nature of the toy keeps your horse engaged and mentally stimulated.

Another great option for stall rest or limited turnout is a roughage dispenser. These toys, like the popular Hay Ball, hold a portion of your horse’s hay ration and dispense it slowly as they play. This not only extends feeding time and prevents boredom, but also mimics natural grazing behavior.

Equine behaviorist Dr. Sophia Nguyen notes, “Horses are hardwired to graze and forage for 16-18 hours a day. When we limit their access to roughage, whether due to stall rest or diet restrictions, we’re essentially depriving them of a key natural behavior. Roughage-dispensing toys are a fantastic way to satisfy that instinct and prevent the development of stable vices.”

When selecting stall toys, look for options that are durable, safe, and appropriately sized for your horse. Avoid toys with small parts that could be ingested, and always supervise your horse’s playtime to ensure they’re using the toy correctly. With the right selection of engaging stall toys, you can transform your horse’s stall into a boredom-busting haven.

Durable Outdoor Play Balls for Equine Fun

Horses love to play, and one of the best ways to encourage natural play behavior is with a durable play ball. These horse balls come in a variety of sizes and materials, from small rubber balls to large horse soccer balls.

One of the most popular options is the Jolly Ball, a puncture-resistant ball that comes in several sizes and colors. Horses love to chase, kick, and carry these balls, engaging in natural play behaviors that keep them active and mentally stimulated. The Jolly Ball is also a great option for individual turnout, as it encourages solo play and exploration.

Another durable option is the Equi-Play Ball, a large, lightweight ball that’s perfect for equine soccer matches. Horses can kick and chase the ball around the pasture, engaging in natural herd play behaviors. This type of play is not only physically beneficial, but also helps establish and maintain social bonds within the herd.

Ball TypeSizeMaterialBest For
Jolly Ball10-25 inchesPuncture-resistant plasticIndividual turnout, stall play
Equi-Play Ball40 inchesLightweight plasticGroup turnout, equine soccer
Horse Soccer Ball25-40 inchesDurable rubber or plasticGroup play, natural herd behavior

When introducing a new play ball, start with short, supervised play sessions to ensure your horse is using the toy safely. Some horses may be initially wary of the new object, so allow them to approach and investigate at their own pace. With time and encouragement, most horses will learn to love their equine play ball and the exciting play opportunities it provides.

Stimulating Pasture Playthings for Herd Happiness

Pasture playtime is an essential part of equine happiness and well-being. Horses are social creatures that thrive on interaction and play with their herdmates. By providing stimulating pasture playthings, you can encourage natural play behavior and keep your herd engaged and content.

One of my favorite pasture amusements is the Horse Teeter-Totter. This large, sturdy toy is designed for equine use and encourages balance, coordination, and problem-solving skills. Horses love to rock back and forth on the teeter-totter, often engaging in playful competitions with their pasture mates.

Another great option for herd happiness is a set of rolling treat dispensers. These boredom-busting toys can be filled with a portion of your horses’ daily grain or pellets, encouraging natural foraging behavior and providing mental stimulation. As the horses nudge and roll the dispensers, the treats are released slowly, extending feeding time and preventing boredom.

When selecting pasture playthings, look for toys that are specifically designed for equine use and made from durable, weather-resistant materials. Avoid toys with small parts or sharp edges that could pose a safety hazard. With a variety of stimulating pasture toys, your herd will be happier, healthier, and more engaged in natural play behaviors.

Interactive Toys for Training and Bonding

Interactive toys are a fantastic way to bond with your horse and encourage positive training experiences. These toys are designed to be used with human interaction, promoting communication, trust, and learning.

One of my favorite interactive toys is the Rubber Chicken. This soft, squeaky toy is perfect for teaching your horse to fetch, carry, and drop on command. The silly appearance and fun squeaker keep training sessions light and enjoyable for both horse and handler. Plus, the satisfaction of a successful “fetch” is a great confidence booster for horses of all ages.

Another great option for interactive play is a set of horse-sized soccer cones. These large, colorful cones can be used to set up obstacle courses, encouraging your horse to weave, jump, and navigate on command. This type of play helps build trust, communication, and coordination between horse and handler.

As an equine behaviorist, I’ve seen firsthand how interactive play can strengthen the horse-human bond. Horses are naturally curious and eager to please, and when we engage them in positive, rewarding training sessions, we’re building a foundation of trust and respect. Interactive toys like the Rubber Chicken or horse soccer cones are a fantastic way to keep training fun and engaging for both horse and handler.

When incorporating interactive toys into your training sessions, start with short, positive play periods and gradually increase the difficulty as your horse gains confidence. Always end on a successful note, and be sure to provide plenty of praise and rewards for a job well done. With consistent, engaging interactive play, you’ll build an unbreakable bond with your equine partner.

Nutritious Treat-Dispensing Toys for Healthy Play

Treat-dispensing toys are a great way to provide mental stimulation and encourage natural foraging behavior. These toys, which can be filled with a portion of your horse’s daily ration, release food slowly as your horse plays, extending feeding time and preventing boredom.

One popular option is the Hay Ball, a durable, horse-safe toy that can be filled with hay or other roughage. As your horse nudges and rolls the ball, small portions of hay are released, mimicking natural grazing behavior. This type of slow-feeding toy is especially beneficial for horses on restricted diets or those prone to bolting their food.

Another great treat-dispensing option is the Amazing Graze Treat Ball. This toy features adjustable openings that can be filled with grain, pellets, or treats. As your horse plays with the ball, the treats are dispensed slowly, providing long-lasting entertainment and mental stimulation. Plus, the puzzle-like design encourages problem-solving skills and natural foraging behavior.

  • Hay Ball – perfect for horses on restricted diets or those prone to bolting their food
  • Amazing Graze Treat Ball – adjustable openings for customizable treat dispensing
  • Likit Boredom Buster – holds likable treats or salt licks for long-lasting entertainment
  • Nose-It! Treat Dispenser – challenging puzzle toy that dispenses treats as your horse plays

When selecting a treat-dispensing toy, look for options that are made from durable, horse-safe materials and appropriately sized for your horse’s needs. Always introduce new toys slowly and supervise your horse’s playtime to ensure they’re using the toy correctly. With a variety of engaging treat-dispensing toys, you can provide your horse with hours of healthy, stimulating play.

Versatile Horse Toys for Stalls, Turnout, and Transport

While some horse toys are designed for specific environments, like stall rest or pasture play, others are versatile enough to use in a variety of settings. These multi-purpose toys are a great investment for any horse owner, as they provide endless entertainment options for your equine friend.

One of my favorite versatile toys is the Mega Mobile Slow Feeder. This hanging toy can be filled with hay, treats, or roughage and suspended in a stall, trailer, or run-in shed. The unique design encourages natural foraging behavior and provides mental stimulation, making it perfect for boredom busting during transport or stall rest.

Another great option for versatile play is a set of Horsemen’s Pride Romp-N-Roll Balls. These durable, horse-safe balls come in a variety of sizes and colors and can be used for solo play, herd games, or even equine soccer matches. They’re perfect for limited turnout, individual play, or group pasture time.

ToyBest ForBenefits
Mega Mobile Slow FeederStalls, trailers, run-in shedsEncourages natural foraging, provides mental stimulation
Horsemen’s Pride Romp-N-Roll BallsSolo play, herd games, equine soccerDurable, versatile, encourages natural play behavior
Uncle Jimmy’s Hangin’ Ball Treat DispenserStalls, trailers, pasturesProvides mental stimulation, dispenses treats slowly

When choosing versatile horse toys, look for options that are durable, easy to clean, and designed with horse safety in mind. Avoid toys with small parts or sharp edges that could pose a hazard, and always supervise your horse’s playtime to ensure they’re using the toy correctly. With a few key multi-purpose toys in your arsenal, you’ll be prepared to keep your horse happy and engaged in any setting.

As a horse owner, I know how important it is to have a variety of engaging toys on hand for every situation. Whether my horse is on stall rest, enjoying some solo turnout time, or playing with their pasture mates, I want to ensure they have plenty of opportunities for mental and physical stimulation. Versatile toys like the Mega Mobile Slow Feeder and Romp-N-Roll Balls have been a game-changer for my horses, providing hours of enriching play no matter the setting.

In conclusion, horse toys are an essential part of any equine enrichment program. By providing your horse with a variety of engaging toys, you can prevent boredom, encourage natural play behavior, and promote overall health and well-being. From durable play balls and stimulating pasture toys to interactive training aids and treat-dispensing puzzles, there’s a toy for every horse and every situation. So go ahead and spoil your equine friend with a few new boredom-busting toys – their whinny of delight will be all the thanks you need!

Photo of author

Henry Abari