One of the most important aspects of caring for your horse is keeping him happy. Horses are surprisingly social and active animals that tend to get bored or lonely easily. Horses, despite not being able to speak, can effectively communicate their emotions to express how they are feeling. Horses can become depressed, even developing odd behaviours, if they are deprived of some natural elements of equine life that keep them happy.
Horses Enjoy Routine
Horses don’t just enjoy routine, they thrive on it. With a regular routine, horses feel safe, comfortable and in control. Creating a regular routine for your horse is one of the best ways to keep your horse happy. Horses thrive when they have a routine and it will help your horse lead a happier and healthier life. Understandably, all horses have different personalities and figuring yours out will give you great insight into what makes him happy throughout the day so that you can incorporate more of those things into his daily routine.
Horses are Social Animals
Horses are herd animals by nature and so they enjoy socialising. If you have a horse that lives alone, without any contact with other horses, it can easily become miserable and unhealthy. Aside from the psychological effects of loneliness and depression in horses, they can literally walk off weight by pacing up and down the fence line, searching, looking, or listening for another horse.
Horses enjoy social stimulation. So, make them happy by regularly switching up their scenery on walks or the company that surrounds them. If you have a friend with a horse, why not arrange play dates. It might sound like an odd suggestion but your horse will enjoy socialising with another horse and having some company.
Horses Need a Day Off
Just like humans, horses need a day or two off during the week to rest and recuperate. Just like we have a weekend, your horse should have at least one day of complete rest and relaxation a week. This helps to keep him happy and healthy, allowing him time to rest his muscles and avoid injury or illness. Prioritising rest opportunities for your horse is just as important as giving him enough activity to do and an appropriate amount of rest will certainly make your horse very happy.
Grooming Your Horse
Here at Prime Stables, we love grooming our horses because we know the numerous benefits of horse grooming. Even if your horse isn’t running outside, he will still need to be regularly groomed. Grooming is one of the most effective methods of bonding with your horse and helps keep your horse well cared for and healthy.
Visit Your Horse Regularly
As I mentioned before, horses are social animals. If your horse is in a stable for any length of time, always try to stop in for regular visits throughout the day so that he doesn’t get lonely. Spending extended, or regular, periods of time with your horse helps keep your bond strong and keeps your horse happy.
You can even allow him to be around you while you carry out your daily chores. If you keep your horse at home, you could allow him access to your garden while you hang the washing, tend to the vegetable patch or sit in the sun reading a book. Horses just love company and while it is important to be physically present with them, sometimes just being around you is enough.
Make Use of the Radio
Some days, it can be difficult to spend enough time with your horse. If you are unable to spend enough time with your horse, consider leaving a radio for him in the stable. The noises, voices and music that play from the radio help to keep your horse happy as they give him the illusion that he isn’t alone.
Introduce Some Toys
Horses get bored very easily, so it is important to ensure they have stimulation throughout the week to keep their minds and bodies active. Providing toys for your horse can be an effective way for them to enjoy their time spent outdoors. There are numerous toys available for horses that are designed to stimulate their coordination, focus and interest. You can purchase everything from large inflatable balls to squeaky toys.
There are so many ways you can help your horse lead a happy life without buying more horses to keep him company. You just have to get creative with it and remember to keep your horse interested.
The well-being of your horse should always be your top priority. I hope you found the above tips useful. If you give them a try, I can guarantee you will notice a difference in your horse, his health and his attitude. Keeping your horse happy can be extremely satisfying as you know you are helping him to lead a happy life.