Friday, March 28, 2008

Things Horses Do When They're Bored

When I'm bored, I clean tack. Or I wander through the halls of ebay, window shopping for stuff that I have no need for. I've browsed at handpainted decorative gourds, vintage cowgirl this 'n that, and pretty much anything said to be beaded by a Native American artist. As a last resort, when I'm bored I do housework. But I have to be really, really bored for that!

My horses, on the other hand, are much more industrious when they're bored. Their list of leisure time activities include-- but are not limited to-- the following:
* Attempting to overturn their water tubs
* Removing fly masks
* Adding dental impressions to anything made of leather
* Trimming new foliage on the trees surrounding their paddocks
* Popping the caps off the fenceposts of their corrals (always a favorite pastime!)
* Testing the strength of the velcro tabs on any boots or leg wraps
* Checking latches on gates (just to see if they can escape this time)
* Unraveling braided lead ropes

Fortunately, Wally is a simple creature. I've discovered that he will spend hours playing with his set of big orange CAUTION cones. He'll hold one of his big plastic cones in his teeth, flip it up and down, bob his head enthusiastically, and then toss it a few feet. Then he trots after it only to pick it up again for another round of Cone Tossing. He reminds me of my sister's Jack Russell terrier going after a chew toy. Unfortunately, the cones don't last long under these circumstances, which means I have to make regularly scheduled trips to my local hardware store. Pretty soon I'm going to be known as The Cone Lady.

Wyatt, on the other hand, is unimpressed with Cone Tossing. He has some mild interest in his Jolly Ball, but he'd rather play a game of tag. Not with me, mind you, but with the horses that pass by on the trail that runs right below our property. I always know someone is riding by because Wyatt's white tail will flip up, he'll arch his neck and he'll trot the length of the paddock with a lofty gait that makes me think that if he had a dose of warmblood in him he might have had a career as a dressage horse.

My horses get plenty of exercise. And they each have the luxury of turnout time. Yet I find it interesting that if I stand back and observe them during the day, they do spend a lot of time figuring out things to do when they're bored. Apparently, they're quite capable of making their own fun. Now, if I could only get them to do housework...

5 comments:

Gina said...

Haha! Cone Tossing sounds a lot like Feedpan Tossing, Feedpan Tug O'War and Feedpan Tag.

I'm not kidding.

We feed a mare in the geldings' pasture during feeding times (when the geldings are inside, however) and we always leave her giant rubber pan in there.

The other day, some geldings found it under a tree and started tossing it around. It evolved to Bucky and Frenchy having a tug o' war over it, and eventually evolved to Bucky chasing the other horses with it.

It was quite amusing to see.

Anonymous said...

Normally my horses' favorite game is dunk the food bucket in the water trough. But since it's spring it's "See how much mud you can take from the pond and put on you body" This game come with the major perk of watching your humans exasperated face when they come to catch you, followed by hour long grooming session as they attempt to get you clean.

Nancy said...

LOL!!!! Gina, sounds like your horses have turned the feed pan into a frisbee!

If you want a laugh - put a huge cardboard box in the pasture with them. I did this last summer - you never saw such snorting, wheeling around - all except for Leo. He just meandered up, started chewing it, tossing it into the air, carrying it around. He'd be the person at a party with a lamp shade on his head.

We also made a snowman in the pasture once before turning everybody out. Again, such snorting, wheeling around. And one of the geldings kicked it's head off - after eating the carrot nose of course!!!!

Anonymous said...

my horse likes to put his front hoofs in his water bucket and paw. i have never actuly seen him do it but all the people tell me about it and one lady calls it his Jacuzzi.

Cindy Hale said...

Oh, I like the giant cardboard box idea! That should be interesting to see the difference between the reactions of Wally and Wyatt.

So. Apparently I'm not the only one with horses that toss their feeders: Feeder Flinging, I believe it's called. It's so maddening!