Shoot a Note To

sandy mcpadden behavior consulting 



The Right Stuff(ed)

The Buzz on Enrichment

Come and learn how to spice up your pets life! Follow The Buzz on Enrichment for great DIY enrichment for the animals in your world. 


The Right Stuff(ed)

sandy mcpadden

When you read the title of this post, Im going to need you to think of New Kids on the Block. The Right Stuff, get it? Stuffed animal? OK then. 

Stall rest isn't fun for anyone involved, but make it a baby on stall rest and it's the worst. Two upsides to foals on stall rest. 1) Mom can keep them company (because misery loves company) and 2) Babies are a tad more receptive to new weird things. 

Manipulating things orally is what horses do as a part of their natural behavioral repertoire so, why not give them things that you don't mind being manipulated? Playing with a toy is a much better alternative to dismantling your automatic waterers or worse, developing a habit like weaving or cribbing. Preventing abnormal behavior is often easier than reducing them once they've become established. 

This little dude was interested in the rope that I hung his banana pony pop from, so I made sure to find a durable dog toy with a rope tail. A rope toy probably would have worked but thats not nearly as fun.  Every time I went into his stall the stuffed toy was in the shavings, so I would just pick him up and stick him somewhere new. Elf on a shelf style. Novelty of the environment is another great way to enrich their worlds. 

Handsome kid, isn't he? 

Catering to an animals natural behaviors and helping them solicit them is a great way to keep a healthy mind and body. Just because playing with stuffed animals isn't seen in horses who are kept on pasture, doesn't mean the behaviors displayed aren't the same. Oral manipulation to explore the environment is seen while turned out, and can be duplicated on stall-rest too.