With winter weather rapidly approaching, your horse will probably be spending more time in his stall. Studies show that prolonged confinement and the inability to interact with other horses can lead to stress. And stress in horses can lead to both physical problems like ulcers or behavior problems like stall walking. If you want to minimize the stress in your horse’s life, consider the following ideas.
Buy Stalls with Open Front Designs
When building your barn, choosing horse stalls with open front designs over fully enclosed designs can allow your horses to interact more with each other and their surroundings. Horses will be free to put their heads out into the aisle, giving them more entertainment and creating a more natural, less confined feel in your barn.
Design Stalls with Windows for Entertainment
In addition to using an open stall front design, make sure that you include a window in each stall for entertainment. Barn windows looking outside can help to reduce boredom in your horse, leading to reduced stress.
Use Privacy Panels in Stall Partitions
If your stall panels have grillwork, then consider including a privacy section to reduce your horses’ stress. A privacy section will allow you to put a wood fill in about a third of the top grillwork. This will position the privacy panel in the area where your horse eats. Your horse can then eat without being disturbed by a horse in a neighboring stall. Privacy panels can keep your horses calmer, particularly when they’re eating but also not make them feel barricaded.
Maximize Turnout Time
Despite our natural inclination, horses often prefer to be outside in bad weather. Adding a paddock to his stall or building a shelter in the turnout area can give your horse more options to be outside with a chance to relax and be a horse - to move about, play, graze, and interact with other horses. Additionally, turning a horse out helps to prevent boredom. Providing your horse with maximum turnout time can go a long ways in reducing his stress.
Provide Feed Throughout the Day
Horses are grazers by nature so consider adding an extra measure of hay for lunch or adding one more flake at the evening feed. Hay is not only a great way to keep your horse from getting board, but the process of digesting hay also helps keep him warm. But the grazing approach to eating often doesn't work with our schedules. If so, consider an automatic waterer or feeder - load, set the timer and go.
There are many ways you can minimize your horse's stress. To see how Classic Equine Equipment can help you and your horse, visit our website.