Sunday, March 23, 2008

Arabian Horses Are Characters

Horses can really be characters sometimes and none can be better at it than Arabian horses. One such character just happens to be Scandalous Storm. He's the 6 year old stallion that I took to the Mike Neal Halter Clinic and that I'm currently starting under saddle.

Being a typical stallion, Storm has a busy busy mind. If I don't keep him occupied he'll find his own forms of entertainment. Unfortunately over at the boarding barn the horse gets left to his own devices way too often. That can only spell trouble.

The boarding barn is primarily self care. We provide hay, grain or feed, and supplements, clean stalls and fill waters. Someone comes into feed both morning and night. That's where the problem with Storm comes in.

It's not that the horse is aggressive. He's bored. So Storm entertains himself by playing with whatever might be loose in his stall. That includes a couple of jolly balls, one hangs and the other with the handle is knocked around the floor. The horse also has a clump of milk jugs tied together that make great noise when shaken or banged on the walls.

Another gallon milk jug filled with grain has holes punched into the bottom. Hung from the bars in the stall, it makes a fun way to slowly feed grain and occupy the horse. Of course, the bottle gets pretty mangled in shape because the way the horse releases the grain is banging the thing with his head. But it works and he likes it, it just doesn't stall full long enough!

With all of these things to play with you'd think that would be enough for Storm. But for some reason this horse's favorite toy has turned out to be his round soft feed tub. The horse tosses the thing in the air. He bangs it against the walls. But his very favorite thing of all is to dunk it in his muck bucket sized water container that sits in the corner of his stall.

He flips it and splashes and knocks his water all over the stall. Sometimes even his blanket get wet he makes such a mess. But that's not really the problem, we deal with those things OK.

The only bad thing about that is the poor person feeding has to fetch that sucker out from the bottom of the bucket each and EVERY morning. On cold winter mornings it's no fun sticking an arm into icy cold water to retrieve the grain tub. Not to mention that this horse likes to dunk his hay so that water is kinda a gross. Then finding a way to dry off the darn arm before the rest of the feeding can be done is also a bother. Storm is causing a problem with this habit of his.

Thankfully, the person who was stuck with this task came up with a plan. (She's also the one that showed me the plastic milk jug feeder.) She figured it we'd give Storm something else to play with in the water he would leave the tub out. So we added a bunch of small plastics balls to the tub.

Storm was out in his paddock when the balls first got dropped into the tub. He didn't pay much attention until it was time to eat. That's when the horse came in. At first Storm was not amused by the balls floating in his water. He snorted and blew with his tail over his back, not sure he wanted to even remain in his stall.

Eventually, the call of dinner was stronger than his fear of the colorful balls floating on top of his water. The horse came in to eat his dinner with one eye on the food and the other eye on the water tub.

It only took him a day or two to get the hang of those balls bobbing around on top of his water. The horse was back to dunking his hay but no longer his feed tub. Whenever the horse feels the urge to play in the water, he has lots of balls to chase and he's actually pretty happy with that, although we've not been able to catch him on film.

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  1. Happy Easter MiKael. I hope it was a lovely day for you and the family.
    Entertaining horses is no easy task. Their curiosity is like a cat's. Balls in the water bucket is a wonderful idea.

  2. lol... those bored horses are troublemakers. Glad you went to such extents to keep him content. I bet his stall looks like a one horse circus!!!!


  3. Oh my gosh!!! That is HYSTERICAL!!!! What a character!

    Sam has a jolly ball in his stall, but he doesnt play with it. He used to on the track. He had one hanging outside his stall door and he would fling it around. But that was more of a stress reliever I think.

  4. Storm is absolutely beautiful. He does sound like he is bored, my horses play with their feed tubs too until they are picked up and put away. The balls were a good idea, I would be afraid one of my guys would try to eat one and choke on it, so I couldn't do that. I love them but sometimes they could be a little smarter.

  5. At first I thought those were Easter eggs!

  6. I think stallions are usually much more playful than geldings, at least mine were. I love those colorful balls in his water, made me chuckle :)

  7. How funny! Those young boys can be such characters. One of the geldings where I ride is kind of like that, but he needs heavy duty toys because he destroys jolly balls in about 10 seconds flat. He's aparently taken to playing with his water bucket so much that he's destroying those too. Anybody make steel buckets? :-)

  8. lol, storm is definitely a character!

    the photo is beautiful

    why do horses LOVE to play w/ their feed tubs? Sometimes Scooter rolls his around in the pasture I have to go on a hunt for it...

  9. How creative!!!! I would have never thought of the water/ball idea, but it is a great one!

  10. beth, hanging balls seem to get more attention than those on the floor. But I've noticed once they learn to play with the hanging ones they develope appeal for the others.

    grey horse, I'm not so sure that Storm hasn't tried to capture these. There are a couple with dents but I think the water makes them like bobbing for apples and a bit to technical for a horse. At least that's my theory. Now I've stated it out loud, watch him make a liar out of me. lol

    billie, they do look like easter eggs. The timing of the post couldn't have been better.

    equinespirit, me too! when I have a camera in hand. lol

    wiola, my geldings are playful as well. I'll have to do some posts about them as well. They all seem to have their own little tricks.

    jackie, it's funny how some horses immediately seek to destroy those things and others emjoy inventing games. But then maybe the big "whoosh" of the collapsing ball is that horse's game. lol

    barn goddess, I don't know why some play with them, but I have several who do. Maybe they're dreaming about more goodies. lol

    lulu, I though so too. Sure glad it worked. His stall doesn't get nearly as wet. lol

  11. Too funny! I have done sort of the same thing with an apple in the water trough. It's hilarious - Jasper will even dunk his whole head.
    Jasper gets bored with horse toys but he will play with something like a mounting block for hours.
    Your stallion is breathtaking!

  12. My yearling, Cari(Charisma ER, and also a Leggs daughter)is quite fond of her jolly ball. Hers lives in the back corner of her stall and she plays with it almost daily. On occasion I find it squashed flat...or as flat as a squashed jolly ball can be. Sometimes it will 're-inflate' and other times I have to work on it. She may be able to re-inflate it herself, but I haven't caught her doing that yet. She's also fond of moving her water bucket around. I use big 10-gallon buckets for water (big enough for a couple of days, and small enough to move with relative ease), and hers is sometimes moved out of it's usual corner...not by much, but definitely moved. Now the bucket has handles on it, and I bet she grabs the handle and pulls the bucket away from the wall. Only one time did I come in to find water all over the stall floor. At least she's neat.

  13. Both me and my mother really enjoyed this post. Funny young man. I must see he is an incredible looking animal.

  14. That sounds like one amusing stallion!
    We had a speller colt at work that would pick up his feeder in his mouth and canter across the paddock and drop it on the other side or just throw it up in the air and kick it around with his front feet... they are amusing to watch when they entertain themselves!

  15. LOL Sounds like the crew there keeps you hopping MiKael, if they ALL have tricks like Storm's! Talk about a creative urge there... hehe

    He is a beauty. Thanks for sharing so much about your crew, and some really incredible photos fo them too. ;)

  16. projectjasper, I have heard of horses diving into the water after apples. That must be a sight.

    notablogger, Cari's full sisters, Hope and Faith, do the same thing with their waters. They sure didn't get it from their mother because Lilly doesn't do that. It must be a gene. lol

    beckz, glad that you both liked the post. He is a pretty boy but sometimes a stinkpot!

    chris, he certainly can be entertaining to watch although he gets furstrated by an audience. He thinks its our job to entertain him.

    mrs mom, you're right they do keep me hopping. Each has their own little quirks and are full of themselves but that's part of what makes them so much fun. I wouldn't have it any other way.

  17. LOL ... the more i'm getting to know gaZi ... the more i realize... arabians are true characters.

    Happy trails
    GP in Montana

  18. So clever. I don't know who I'm more impressed with -- funny horses that cause trouble or the people who figure out how to use this energy and interest for something more productive. Well, I'm not sure bobbing with the balls in the water is actually productive, but at least it's not destructive, which is sometimes the best we can hope for!

  19. Playing catchup again LOL
    This makes me laugh because I have a few of these, Blue was one of them, he would make a game out of anything that he could get a hold of, feed sack, stick whatever so I did the snall cola bottles ties together in a bunch and he used to play with those rubbing them up and down tha bars on the stall to make as much noise as he could or throwing them or stomping them. It was so funny I havce a lovely series of shots of him with the feed sack.

    Taxes has two Jolly Balls, one has been flattened and the other is still inflated, I have made a soda bottle cluster thing to hang up for him too but he needs more so I may try the milk jug thing and I am definitely going to try the plastic ball thing, can you tell me where you got them? are they hollow?

    Great post made me smile LOL


  20. Meant to add my other horse with the funny antics is my filly Lori, she will take whatever container is in her stable turn it upside down and stand with her front hooves up on it, she has even been known to stand on the second rung of the gate of her stall and take the mineral block and stand with one hoof on it!!! Unfortunately not all the containers hold up to her weight and some of them are now permanently dented in the bottom LOL.