Dealing with Boredom

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When the weather’s frightful and our horses end up snowbound in their stalls, who gets antsier, us or them? I know I get pretty cranky when I can’t ride and I’m feeling sorry for my horses locked up inside. Horses are designed by nature to always be moving and foraging. Research shows that horses left to their own devices will eat 18 to 22 hours per day. Horses stuck in a stall with just twice-a day-feedings and little other stimulation can quickly become very boredÑsomething that might be happening to many of our horses in with the recent wintry weather.

Boredom isn’t only a mental thing for them. It can cause real health issues and subsequent vet bills with such things as weight gain, bickering or fighting between horses resulting in injuries, ulcers, stall vices (such as chewing or weaving) and even colic.

Matt and our young horse, Hank, learn about playing hoof ball in lieu of riding

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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