When you get to know a horse, you quickly realize that it’s not just a “dumb animal.” They have vibrant, intelligent minds and a need for stimulation in their daily lives and environment.
In the old days, horses generally held far more active lives because they were engaged with numerous human activities every day. They served as transportation for riding, pulling wagons, carriages, and other transports. Many horses worked in fields helping farmers till fields. Other horses were used for hunting and more frequently tapped for basic recreation.
Today, however, most horses spend most of their day in stables or pastures as their human masters occupy their daily lives with work and activities. People often only have time for “horse business” on the weekends or from time to time.
These long hours can be detrimental to a horse’s mental health as the long days of boredom drag on. Thus, it’s essential that you provide a horse with a stimulating environment for its highest well-being.
Here are some tips to keep your horse mentally stimulated and happy:
Switch Up Location
Just as you would not want to sit in the same location day in, day out, a horse can grow weary of the same stall or pasture every day. If possible, switch your horse to a new field or pasture or board them in a different barn or stall from time to time. A change of scenery can do wonders for anyone, including a horse.
Challenge Horse in New Ways
Instead of just flat riding, maybe it’s time to challenge yourself and your horse to learn some jumping techniques. Another popular activity among horse lovers is barrel riding. This is a regular event at rodeos in which horse and rider race and make tight turns around a series of barrels. It’s great fun for both horse and rider.
There is a Zen adage: “The best way to control a cow is to give it a very large pasture.”
Well, the best way to make a horse happy is to give it a lot of room to roam. In their natural environment, horses revel in wide-open spaces. If you can provide that, a horse will be happy even without additional stimulation. Adequate space allows them to run, find new sweet plants to munch on, and enjoy the planet the way nature intended.