The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:32 pm 
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Hi all:

I've been thinking about this for a while (but not had the wherewithall to actually DO anything about it), but Inge's post about the shock collar response to stall "vices" (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2774) got me kicked into gear to ask.

My beloved blond girl Circe is a play girl. She spends too much time in a paddock that is big enough to move around in and play a bit, but is innately boring. (Living in Southern California, big play pastures really aren't an option.)

I've been wanting to stock up on fun toys for her in her house (currently she's viewing anything that she can pick up as a potential toy, including feed buckets, her salt block, the holder for the salt block, the chains on her gate, her neighbor's mats, etc., etc., etc...). :hap: :yeah: :funny:

I'm currently in a (fairly unprecedented 8) ;) ) era of frugality with my horses, so I'm looking for alternatives to the very fun looking but ridiculously expensive official "horse toys" one can purchase...(rhetorical question: why is it that if you put the word "horse" in front of it, you can charge two to three times more for something? I've found this to be true of everything from feed bins to property... :roll: :funny: ).

Anyway, I'm looking for brilliant, cheapo, tough homemade horse toy ideas from this creative crew! Things I can leave or hang in her paddock that she can play with as she wants. (I have a jolly ball hung up already, which she is only mildly interested in...)

Thoughts???

Thanks!
:D

Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
A favourite of my dog (I don't know if this would work for a horse) is a 2 liter plastic coke bottle. You can leave off the lid and put some small treats inside and let them figure out how to roll and push to get the treats to fall out. He also lkes a bottle filled half way with water as it weights it nicely and he will drag that around and "attack it".
You could also try lengths of rubber/plastic hose/irrigation pipe. I use these to cover wire under the post and rail and Zena thinks it's big fun to pull them off. Be careful what you teach though as yesturday Zena opened the latch to the hay shed and helped herself to an entire bale......it is now baracaded with a pole but I am sure it won't be long before she figures that out too......!!!! :funny:
I think it was Heather? that made a rummage box (an old wooden drawer) with largish round pebbles in it. She then pops in pieces of apple/treats in amoungst it and the horse spends quite a while working his mouth around the pebbles to find the treats.
Another favourite of my friends horse is a dog toy which is the tennis ball attached to a rope with a knot. He would play with this for hours tossing his head and running around.
Morgan has very little attraction to toys, unless it's my foot or trouser leg!!!!!!
Oh and some horses enjoy picking up a bouy (as in boat). You can sometimes find these quite cheaply.
Let us know what you try.....

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:34 am 

Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 8:29 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Kuusamo, Finland
Indeed it was me who has the rummage box. An old cupboard filled with rocks and stones. they love searching around in it for treats.

We used to have a gelding that boarded with us that loved playing with an old tire. He would toss it around for hours, was especialy exciting if there was another horse interested in playing as well but my mares couldn't care less about it - they just don't seem to be the playing kind.

Another one with the gelding was a large black rubbish bag (although I don't suppose the colour matters :funny: ) filled with air and then tied off at the end. It used to amuse him for hours until he managed to toss it across the fence out of reach. All footballs or basketballs with some of the air let out so they can pick them up and throw them with their mouths are also a good one.

I have been thinking recently about how one could make a "nose it" type toy http://www.nose-it.com/ for free / cheap. I do like Annettes idea of leaving a lid off a coke bottle and seeing if they can figure out how to get the treats out...maybe one could drill a couple of extra holes in it... umm...


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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:57 am
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Location: provincie Utrecht
you are right Leigh, everything were horse stand for is expensive....but there were the words dog or 4x4 wd or sailing is the same *LOL*
so i think it have to to with the word "hobby" and money.

you can use also willow branches if you have it in your neighberhood. We have in Holland many of those trees.
you can put it in the fields or stable. give many ours playtime.

and why not an old shoe? dogs use them to for playing :green:


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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:18 pm 
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Location: Natal, South Africa
:funny: :funny: :funny: try a water trough and a scrubbing brush - it works for Freckles :funny: :funny: :funny: also he shreds pool noodles and pulls open the tarp covering the sawdust bales.

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:05 am 
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How about a 1 gallon milk jug (or maybe one that orange juice comes in..the bigger the better, and food grade). It can hang all on it's own from a rope...or you can put nice round holes in it and put treats inside that she likely will never extract (so perhaps it would be good to put hay in it...something that can actually be wiggled out).

One of my Airedale's favorite toys is a small ball that you put treats in and when he rolls it around the treats fall out. Why not make a horse sized one from a plastic five gallon pail with a tight fitting lid (you can sometimes get these from restaurants or those juice bars where you can buy juices). Again...put a hole in it that big enough to dispense a treat, and fill it with something they can eat whenever they want (like hay cubes?) Or make a super size one from a 45 gallon drum. Maybe two holes in that one?

The only things I can think of that are quite horse safe are things like heavy plastic jugs, pails and drums that would be suitable to leave on the ground. But you can hang a milk jug anywhere.

Kids plastic baseball bats (the hollow ones) are great for stomping, carrying around, shaking, flailing and scaring your paddock mates with too.

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:33 am 
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Ok...this got me googling. There are some CUTE ideas.

1) Apples in the water trough! ( I think you could try apples in the barrel or pail too)

2) Old feed bag with soda cans in it. Tam and Cisco both like crushing these. Also good to toss around.

Here's a whole host of great ideas from the Honolulu Zoo - I REALLY like the "carrotsicle" idea here:

http://www.honoluluzoo.org/enrichment_activities.htm

Not sure how long before it melts though...what a cool treat though!

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:25 am 
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Location: New York
Oooooooooh thank you, you guys!!!!

I just KNEW you'd come up with some great ideas!

Splendid -- and simple -- apples in the water trough -- brilliant! She'll love this!

Am heading off to look at links now...

...but in the meantime, thank you, and keep those grand ideas coming!
:applause: :applause: :applause:

Cake for everyone! :^: :^: :^: :^: :^: :^: :^:

:D
Leigh

PS: I think I want to come back as an animal in the Honolulu Zoo -- what a great place.

PPS: Mirrors! Oh, man, if I could find something mirrored and unbreakable -- Circe adores looking at herself in a plexi window of one of the tack rooms...

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:34 am 

Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 8:29 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Kuusamo, Finland
Lots of baby toys have unbreakable mirrors in them these days and you should be able to pick them up very cheaply in second hand shops.

I love the idea of apples in a barrel. Excellent. :applause:


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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:44 pm 

Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 8:29 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Kuusamo, Finland
okay, so inspired by this thread i decided to add some axtra fun and interest around the track here for Sanni and Jelli. i took the himalyan salt rock thingy and hung it from a tree, put some apples in a barrel of water, strung up some vegetables from another tree in a sort of vegetable kebab on string way and also put a few carrot and dried pieces inside an old tyre rim (in the hope that they will have to pick the tyre up and move it around to get some of the treats to fall out)

So far they have shown zero interest in much of anything but it is a very hot and humid day and they haven't been moving around the track very much at all. Sanni had a look at the apples in the barrel and when she couldn't get them in 10 seconds she gave up.

We'll see over the next few days if anything is interesting or not. If not, nothing but a bag of carrots and a few of apples has been lost really.


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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:56 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:10 am
Posts: 184
Location: Barcelona, Spain
There may be something in here:

Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals (UFAW Animal Welfare) by Robert J. Young (Paperback - 22 Oct 2003).

Rita

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:32 pm 

Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 8:29 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Kuusamo, Finland
Well, all apples were gone from the barrel this morning and all treats from the tyre so it looks as though they had fun last night. Would love to "catch them" playing with them to see if there was any challenge and how long it interested them but they get a bit self consious if they think someone is watching :funny:

will try again tomorrow maybe...when i've bought some more apples.


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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:21 pm 
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I think that if it becomes commonplace to put games and puzzles in a paddock, then the horses will look forward to it more and more. It takes them a while to realize that things are there.

I know people that hide treats around the house for their dog when they have to leave the dog alone. This keeps the dog happy and occupied using his nose (rather than his teeth) while they are away.

I think it's marvelous that the goodies were gone!

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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:51 pm 
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Oh Leigh! Looky here!!!!

Icelandic horse playing with home made treat dispenser

And here is another one, combining despooking with treats:

Windy Day Despook Session

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"Ride reverently, as if each step is the axis on which the earth revolves"


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 Post subject: Re: Homemade Horse Toys
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:33 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Leigh, you can buy mirrors on self adhesive backing, no glass, no danger of breakage, these are often bought by horse owners to keep a horse "company" in the stable or whilst travelling in a trailer.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/MIRROR-ON-A-ROLL- ... 286.c0.m14

My boys pick up branches but have each other to play with, they play football only by accident when the ball rolls down the banks to them.
They do toys more when it might gain some attention, so if my poor husband is trying to work on changing the oil in his car or getting the tractor ready to cut hay, then they are joining in, picking up tools and generally getting in the way. Still, they are boys, I don't suppose playing with dolls would be of anymore interest to them than they are to me.
Susie xx

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