Bonding Ideas, Fun Ideas

6 Ideas to Cure Horse Boredom

Is your horse bored? Or would you like to try something new to engage your horse and motivate them? Here are some ideas that your horse should really enjoy.

1. Teach Your Horse to Paint

It seems that some horses are quite creative. Horses can be taught to pick up a paintbrush and apply paint to a canvas. The result is a beautiful, impressionistic painting.

2. Try Toyshorse play ball

There are lots of wonderful horse toys available now. Horses love to play and providing toys can really cure boredom. Try a toy that gets them thinking or gets them active.

3. Train at Liberty

Try training your horse without any restraints, at liberty. Your training will need to be fun and engaging to encourage your horse to stay with you. But it’s wonderful when they make the choice to be with you.

4. Find the ‘Favorite Scratching Spot’

A lot of horses love to be scratched in a certain spot. Find that special spot. It’s usually somewhere they can’t reach like their withers or the top of their neck. Looks for signs that you have found ‘The Spot’. These include eyes glazing over, quivering lips, or they may try and return the favor by trying to groom you.

5. Build an Obstacle Course

Build an obstacle horse course. Start simple and then add items as your horse gets more confidence. Horses are naturally curious so they will enjoy exploring these new objects. Plus obstacle courses are a great way to get your horse used to scary objects at home and this can make them calmer out on the trail.

6. Do a Little Dancin’

Teach your horse some simple steps, crank up the music, and dance! I’m currently teaching Bella to do the Hokey Pokey. She puts her left foot in, she puts her left foot out…

Bella leg forward

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11 thoughts on “6 Ideas to Cure Horse Boredom”

  1. omg! i can’t wait to try the hokey pokey like you have described above! too fun!


    did you see my email earlier today? wondering about Spanish Walk and counting! THANX!!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Yes, the Hokey Pokey is lots of fun 🙂 It’s a really good trick to teach your horse because you can break it up into lots of small steps. Then just join it together. Bella has now learnt “put you left hoof in” and “your left hoof out” and “you turn yourself around”. So we are half way there 🙂

      I’ve had the new horsey words recorded to music. You will be able to get a copy from the Horse Tricks Academy if you want to practice with your own horse.

      I hope you got my email. I will be sending out some training tips on counting (and hula hoop work) to all the members of the Horse Tricks Academy soon. You might also like to join us in the trick training Group on Facebook where we are sharing videos and ideas (more info in Module 6).

      All the best and have fun 🙂


  2. Hey,
    This is not during training, and very obvious, but other horses can cure boredom too! Even other animals like goats can do the trick.
    Oh, and give two young ponies a big skippy ball, and if they are not scared, that is an easy toy! 🙂

    1. Hi Brandy,

      I am just teaching Bella to dance. She is learning the Hokey Pokey 🙂

      To start I just thought about how I could break the dance (trick) into lots of different parts and I am now teaching her each one and when I join them together we should be able to do the Hokey Pokey together!

      I’ve changed the words a bit but this is what I am teaching her:

      Horsey Pokey

      You put your left hoof in
      You put your left hoof out
      You put your left hoof in
      And you shake it all about

      You do the horsey pokey
      And you turn yourself around
      That’s what it’s all about

      So the first thing I am teaching her is to put her ‘left hoof in’. Once she knows that well, I will then teach her to put her ‘left hoof out (back)’ etc etc etc.

      It’s really good fun and she’s enjoying it too 🙂

      Jain, Trigger and Bella.

  3. Hi! I ride an Icelandic- Buska. It’s obvious she doesn’t like working so I was hoping to make the work fun. I’d love for you to please give me some tips on training at liberty, obstacle courses and toys! And any other tips would be great. She’s 26 and arthritic but the more you do things the easier it gets!
    Thank you!
    Elizabeth and Buska

    1. Hi Elizabeth and Buska,

      Yes, if you can make work fun then she will become super keen to do things. It would also be good to keep her moving and her brain engaged as she gets older.

      If you want to inspire her then when you are working together you need to be thinking all the time “what is she getting out of this?” If it’s not fun for her or it’s hard work then she will only be doing it because she feels she has to (and that’s no fun).

      Start by teaching her a simple trick. I like to teach my horses to ‘touch’ an object with their nose. A ball is good toy because later it can be used to teach her to fetch. Also find some treats that she likes. Most horses will do just about anything for a tasty treat 🙂

      I have found that all my horses will work at liberty once they learn that I am fun to be around 🙂

      I also like to teach all my tricks at liberty because then I can be sure that my horse is happy to do the trick. If they aren’t they just walk away and I have to rethink a way to make it more fun for them.

      There are lots of excellent items you can use for an obstacle course, but again if she isn’t getting anything out of it (eg a reward) or she isn’t naturally curious and an explorer then she won’t be so keen on this activity.

      Start simple. Try teaching her to touch a ball and give her treats. She will like this and then you can build on this simple trick and teach her other things.

      Have fun!

      Jain, Trigger and Bella.

  4. Hello Jain, Trigger and Bella! 🙂 I have a wonderful horse called Mika, and I have managed to teach her so many tricks after being inspired by your videos. My favourite trick is her kissing me with her lip! I really want to know how to teach her to paint now – I would love to have pictures she has done! 😉 Do you have any tips? How could I teach her?
    Thank you so much and have a great day,
    Isobel and Mika! 🙂

    1. Hi Isobel and Mika,

      It’s wonderful to hear that Mika has learnt lots of tricks 🙂 You two must have a good relationship.

      Painting seems to be a popular trick, so I will work on some step-by-step instructions soon.

      To get you started you need to first teach Mika to ‘touch’ different objects. I like to use a bit of foam on the end of a whip. Have you seen this video?

      Then try asking her to hold things – like a ball or stick. Make sure the item doesn’t hurt her mouth in any way or that she can’t swallow it. You might like to wrap something soft around the object.

      Have fun!

      Jain, Trigger & Bella.

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