Are Stall Toys Good for Horses?
Q: When I walk down the aisle of the stable where I board, I see a lot of horses have balls or other toys hanging up or sitting on the floor of their stall. But I never see them playing with the toys. Is it good for horses to have toys in their stalls?
A: Well, it can be really beneficial to give stalled horses something to do. The problem with “toys,” either commercial or hand-made things, is that horses can become habituated to them pretty quickly. That is, the novelty wears off and they ignore them. Some recommend rotating stall toys so the horses keep seeming new. But in general, I think toy use is pretty variable.
What we’re really talking about when providing a “toy” is environmental enrichment. That’s a big issue in particular among zoo keepers and habitat designers for captive wild animal spaces and management. The objective of environmental enrichment is to increase the complexity and diversity of the animal’s environment to improve physical and behavioral well-being
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