It’s pony playtime!
Is your horse bored or restless? Has he developed a few less-than-ideal habits? It’s time to invest in some fun pasture toys!
Horses need mental and physical stimulation. And today’s highly controlled barn environments do not always provide the natural enrichment horses need. Fortunately, a wide range of pasture and stall toys are available to help horses stay engaged. This post explores several of the top horse toy options.
Why Do Horses Need Toys?
In the wild, horses spend almost 20 hours a day grazing. They can cover over 10 miles a day grazing. And when not grazing, they interact with herd mates nearly constantly.
Their natural instincts stem from this type of free-roaming atmosphere.
But today’s horses live in relatively small pastures. They may even live in a stall most of the time. And sometimes, access to other horses is minimal.
The mental and physical stimulation that comes from simply living their best horse life out in the wild isn’t even close to life at a barn.
Although vastly different, there are plenty of perks to the domestic lifestyle. Regular veterinary care, adequate food, and a constant supply of fresh water for starters.
Pasture toys can help fill the gaps that come from living the domestic lifestyle.
And, thanks to this article, you can supplement with a few toys to truly engage your horse’s brain and help him live his best life!
Pasture vs. Stall Toys
Pasture toys are generally larger and designed to be kicked, rolled, and thrown around. These types of toys encourage play in a bigger space.
Since the square footage of a stall doesn’t compare to a pasture, the toys for this space are designed on a smaller scale.
Stall toys can be as simple as a milk jug tied to the stall. Or a giant stuffed animal they can throw around without injuring themselves, or the stall.
Things To Consider
Keep the following in mind when purchasing pasture toys for your horse:
- Safety – Always #1 when horses are concerned.
- Durability – Let’s face it, horses are tough on everything. Especially your wallet!
- Entertainment Value – You don’t want to bust open your wallet only to have your horse half-heartedly toss the toy around once and promptly forget about its existence.
- Price Point – Always a valid consideration (see #2 above!).
- Age and Activity Level – These factors may affect the type of toy he will enjoy.
- Diet – If your horse has caloric restrictions, you will want to steer clear of treat dispensing toys.
Seven Top Toys for Your Horse
|Top Toy Categories||Description||Price Point||Key Feature(s)|
|Best Ball Toy||Horsemen’s Pride 10” Jolly Ball||$||Ball + handle + nearly indestructible material = hours of fun for your horse!|
|Best Puzzle Toy||Horsemen’s Pride Amazing Graze||$$||Fill with treats and watch your horse try to figure out where they come out!|
|Most Durable||KONG Equine||$$$$||The classic dog toy you expect but in a larger size for your horse!|
|Most Entertaining||Long River Rubber Chicken Squeaky Toy||$||I dare you to watch the promo video for this toy on Amazon and NOT bust out laughing!|
|Most Popular/Common||Horsemen’s Pride 30-inch Mega Ball||$||Everyone has one of these for a reason!|
|Best Treat Toy||Vomvomp Hanging Carrot Feeding Toy||$||Because horses and carrots were made for each other!|
|Best DIY Toy||Milk Jug & Rope||$||Recycle those old milk jugs into a toy that your horse will adore!|
Price Point Brackets:
$: 0-50, $$: 51-100, $$$: 101-150, $$$$: 151+
Our Top Choices
Horsemen’s Price 10″ Jolly Ball
This one is a classic for a reason! Although of simple design, your horse will have hours of fun picking up, kicking, and throwing the Jolly Ball around the pasture.
If your horse lives the stalled life, you can still create an entertaining tetherball experience by tying the ball up.
Regardless of how you use the Jolly Ball, it’s a popular choice with horses everywhere!
- Jolly Balls are made right here in the United States.
- These toys can double as dog toys for larger breeds.
- The Jolly Ball comes in 6 different colors.
- They may quite not be as durable as advertised.
Horsemen’s Pride Jolly Pets Amazing Graze
The Amazing Graze is another hit toy in the Jolly Pets line. This toy is a treat dispenser that will release a tasty treat when your horse rolls it just right.
Watch your horse flip the toy end over end and side to side as they try to figure out just where those carrots are coming out.
This one could be just as entertaining for you as it is for them!
- The toy is constructed of durable material.
- You can fill the toy with a wide variety of different treats.
- This toy could be used either in a pasture or stall.
- It may not be an ideal toy for horses that get frustrated easily.
- Due to its odd shape, it may be difficult to clean.
Is there anything more versatile than a KONG? Whether you stuff it with treats, freeze it, or hang it up in a stall, your horse will love the mystery and intrigue this toy brings!
And depending on the treats you use and how you pack them in, your horse will stay intrigued for hours. This is a great one for either out in the pasture or in a stall.
- KONG is a name synonymous with durability.
- Your horse will enjoy the unpredictable bounce of this toy as they paw at and throw it around.
- Great for use in either wet or dry weather.
- It’s the most expensive toy on the list.
Long River Rubber Chicken Squeaky Toy
The only thing funnier than a rubber chicken is a horse playing with a rubber chicken! This toy obviously comes with an internal squeaker, so every time your horse bites down, it makes a ridiculous noise.
Although not all horses are guaranteed to love the sound, the horse in the promo video certainly seemed to be enjoying himself!
- The toy is hilarious!
- Suitable for use either pasture or stall use.
- You could also use this for dogs.
- The sound may scare other horses.
Horsemen’s Pride 30-inch Mega Ball
Watch your horse frolic and play out in the pasture with this mega ball!
It comes in various sizes and colors to delight and entice your equine pal.
- Great for de-sensitizing young horses.
- Encourages active play, i.e., it helps your horse burn off all that extra energy!
- You can also use this toy for your dog.
- Since this toy is inflatable, it’s not as durable as some others on the list.
- Not ideal for use in a stall.
Vomvomp Hanging Carrot Feeding Toy
This design is simple yet provides seductive charm to your carrot-loving equine pal! Your horse will love the challenge of trying to bite carrots off this hanging net.
For an extra challenge, try treats of different sizes. Apple slices or horse treats are also exciting options. Easy to fill and maintain, this one is an all-around hit!
- You can use treats of different sizes by adjusting the ball’s inflation.
- This toy allows your creativity to shine through treat selection and achieve the perfect ball-to-treat ratio.
- This toy is relatively durable.
- It may not be the best option if your horse is picky about treats.
Milk Jug + Rope
Looking to save some $ and DIY? Cut a few holes in an old milk jug. Fill with as many treats as your horse can handle in one session. Then tie the jug to a tree or his stall and watch as he bangs it around trying to get the treats out.
Sometimes the best toys are also the simplest!
- This is a straightforward and cheap toy to make.
- You can adapt the milk jug to dispense treats of different sizes.
- If it breaks, create a new one!
- Your horse may get bored by the toy once he eats up all the treats.
- This toy is not one of the more durable ones on the list.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do horses like to play with?
Anything that looks intriguing! Although horses can see color, their sense of color is more muted than ours. But they can see blues and yellows more vividly than other colors, so keep this in mind when shopping for toys.
Q: What can I give my horse to play with?
Toys that have been engineered for horses should always be your go-to. They are generally made of durable materials that are non-toxic if accidentally ingested.
You should always have some level of supervision when your horse is playing with toys to avoid ingestion and monitor for injury.
Sometimes horses get so excited that they take things a bit too far. They need some oversight to make sure they stay safe.
Q: How do I keep my horse entertained?
Alternating toys that work their brains and bodies is one of the best ways to keep your horse entertained.
Toys like balls encourage active play, which gets your horse to use up extra energy. And puzzle toys are great to keep them occupied in smaller spaces.
Bored horses are notorious for getting themselves into trouble. But you can keep your horse happy and healthy by providing toys that stimulate their natural instincts.
Q: How do you mentally stimulate a horse?
Teaching your horse basic skills on the ground and under saddle is one way to provide mental stimulation.
Another is by providing toys that gradually reward your horse for certain behaviors. Treat dispensing toys are great for mental stimulation!
Q: What are the best DIY horse toys?
A DIY horse toy can be as simple as a piece of thick rope with several knots tied into it.
You can also make your own version of the hanging carrot feeding toy above by taking an inflatable ball and placing it in a hay net. Simply play treats around the ball, and voila! You have your very own treat dispensing ball.
Always keep safety in mind when going the DIY route. Not all materials are safe if accidentally ingested, and some toys will require more supervision on your part than others.
Q: What kind of toys are best for horse boredom?
Toys that gradually dispense treats when horses manipulate them are great for smaller spaces. If your horse is in a larger space, he may enjoy a more active toy such as a Jolly Ball or even a tug toy.
Q: What are the best stall toys for horses?
Smaller toys or toys designed to be tied somewhere are generally best for use in a stall.
Q: What are the best enrichment toys for horses?
Toys that stimulate a horse’s natural instincts to play, graze, and explore are all great for enrichment.
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to view horse toys as more than just silly play things. Horse toys are an integral part of a happy, healthy horse because they provide mental and physical enrichment.
And at the end of the day, there’s nothing like a happy, healthy horse
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