Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Horse Toys

Tonka and Raven have a pretty good life at Farcical Farm. They are turned out 24/7 on 1/3 of an acre with free-choice hay, ample water, shelter from the weather and five large trees to lounge under, scratch against and chew on. They also get regular access to 2 acres of pasture with room to run and a variety of grasses to eat. Their nutritional needs are met, their hooves are trimmed regularly and the vet is consulted whenever necessary. Although I don't work them as much as I would like to, they get plenty of human attention on a daily basis and they regularly interact with our dogs and goats.

Even so, I sometimes fear that they are bored and I wonder about providing further stimulation for them. At 16 and 20 years old they don't show any interest in empty pop bottles or plain old jolly balls, but they are both food-motivated enough to engage with something that dispenses treats. I recently came across the Nose-It toy, but it will cost $100 to get two to Deroche. Although I am tempted, I wonder if I can make something similar out of materials I can find close to home. Any ideas?


10 comments:

Brandy said...

Hmmm. I'm thinking take an old soccer ball, cut a hole in it large enough to put in the dog sized one you can get at most pet stores.

Then tape or seal the hole up so the inner ball doesn't fall out, but the food can....

I would hope they make a dog sized one that could hold horsie treats...

And I would bet the goats would LOVE it! LOL!

You might try a horse kong.... I had a thing my dog adored, it was a rope with a sort of koosh ball of plastic twine attached to one end. We could tug and toss, or he could hold the rope end and shake it until he concussed himself with the ball! I got it on a clearance sale decades ago, best $15 toy I EVER bought!

And I could actually picture Tonka holding something like that, and shaking it around like a silly boy!

--
pundin - the groaning sound that usually follows my hubby around at parties...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I bet my mare would love a toy like that, too. She's very food motivated, as well.

I'd try what Brandy said about a dog kong. I wonder if one could be morphed into a horse toy.

I suppose the cool thing about that particular horse treat toy is that it has sides, so the horse really has to work at finding the right side to flip it onto so the food falls out. Very clever!

~Lisa

Kristina said...

My horse is super food motivated as well but when I bought her a treat ball she only got very very frustrated. She could smell the treats and would roll the ball around with her nose but couldn't find the treats once they dropped out onto the ground. I'm not sure if this is common or if my horse is just very very special. Oh well :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm always looking for new horse toys, and there isn't much out there. We throw all our old basketballs into the paddock. The horses like the handles on the jolly balls, so they can pick them up with their teeth and swing them in circles, but they also can drop them over the fence into the neighbor's yard. What gets the most use in my yard are the salt licks and tree stumps. I don't like it when the horses get slivers in their gums, but if they weren't chewing the stumps they'd be chewing the fence.

oregonsunshine said...

So, a "nose it" ball is like a buster cube for dogs? Or that "talk to me" treat thing? I'm trying to imagine how it works.

If I was still a dispatcher, I'd totally have one of my drivers meet you somewhere en-route to Anchorage and get them to you. Darn it! I'm too far to even have access to the drivers that run the Alcan.

I like the idea of the XL Kong retrieving dummies for Raven and Tonka. They might love swinging that around!

oregonsunshine said...

Ugh! I just looked and shipping and handling is $15. That makes this toy $44.99 with shipping for me. So not much cheaper than for you, dp!

Brandy said...

Unless you can find one on ebay.ca?

dp said...

Thanks for looking into that for me, OS. Even though I think they are reasonably priced the Canadian dollar is currently worth 75 American cents (we were at par this time last year) and shipping by UPS is always a rip off. It can wait.

Last night it occurred to me that two small, circular water jerry cans might do the trick. I have seen little blue ones made of tough plastic, about 10 liters. I could bore a couple of 1.5 inch holes and fill with alfalfa cubes. They may or may not hold up, but the investment would be about $20. I'll let you know how it goes.

oregonsunshine said...

So, it sounds rather like the "Tug Jug" I have for Copper. Or, of the same principal. I feed in in it or one of the Buster Cubes so he's getting extra mental stimulation and exercise.

unful- another term for digestion

Black Jack's Carol said...

I'm definitely not an expert with horse toys. In my year of stable experience, the most I ever saw was an old tire hung in the stalls of horses that cribbed or weaved from boredom. As far as I could see, the tire didn't do much to help them out. Tonka and Raven have so much better a situation, there's no comparison. But, your post made me wonder if you have ever explored www.elephants.com It tells of an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, where the elephants go freely in and out the barn doors, made from heavy rubber flaps. Anyhow, it would take some searching, but they have quite a variety of home made toys that amuse some of the elephants. It could be, though, that elephants are more easily entertained than horses.