Stall toys are designed to provide mental stimulation, but horses may have their own ideas about what’s fun. Some horses are content to simply bat a hanging ball back and forth, others might need the motivation of a treat to interact with a toy. Durability is important: Even the most engaging toy will be useless if it breaks within a few days of use.
A variety of toys are available, each designed for horses with different temperaments and in different situations:
• Rubber molded balls, which hang from the ceiling or are left loose to be nudged around, were some of the first stall toys for horses and continue to be a favorite.
• Larger, inflatable balls more suitable for use in paddocks have also become popular.
• Lickable toys incorporate a hard, replaceable “sucker” that entices horses to interact for long periods of time.
• Treat-dispensing toys dribble out grain or other edibles can help head off boredom in stall-bound horses.
The cost of horse toys range from about $30 for a simple stall ball to nearly $60 for a lickable mobile or treat-dispensing toy. Whichever you choose, consider the purchase price and investment in your horse’s happiness.
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