Just go to the local Tack or Feed stores and horse treats and toys are everywhere for our special four legged friends. Bags of yummy horse cookies and crunchies (I have been known to nibble on them occasionally, that's how I know they are yummy). My choice of the toys are the big rubber balls that horses enjoy so much. They are almost totally indestructible and come with handles on them for your horse to grab hold of and throw around. These balls amuse them for hours and helps beat boredom when confined to pens or stalls. They make for a happier horse, that's for sure.

But what about us cheapskates out there? We want our horses to be happy but we don't necessarily want to spend mega bucks doing so. Well then, here are some of the things I do to keep them happy. Chopped apples and carrots. Not chunks, chopped to prevent choke. And my all time favourite Horse Cake or Cookies. I can't really give you a recipe for this but I can tell you, I bake the cake in an old metal dog pan and let the dogs clean it up afterwards since the dogs love this treat too. They can't have to much because of the salt and oil but doing dishes won't harm them.

Get a large mixing bowl. Throw in about 6 handfuls of rolled oats. 6 handfuls of whole wheat flour. Pinch of salt. In a separate bowl beat together a bit of water with a hefty dose of molasses poured in it and no more than a half cup of cooking oil. Now grate a couple of apples and a couple of carrots into it. Poor the liquid stuff into the rolled oats and flour. Mix well. If to thick, change your mind about it being a cake and make cookies out of it instead. If to thin, add more rolled oats.

Pour into greased metal pan and bake on no more than about 340. If it turns out to be for cookies, drop by small spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet and squash them a bit. DO NOT OVER BAKE EITHER!!! Discard in garbage can if burned beyond recognition or invite your worst enemy over for tea, cake or cookies. Your choice. The secret is to have dogs available for the cleanup!!!

Horse Toys are everywhere if you look for them. Plastic jugs WITH handles on them and a few rocks in them for the noise effect amuse horses for hours. Hang from barn or shed rafters at head height. Rubber feed tubs as many of you already know make great horse toys. They stomp them and throw them around by the hour. Old feed sacks stuffed with a bunch of other old feed sacks are a HIGHLIGHT for the bored horse. And my all time favourite coming up next.

To keep my young horses and stallions amused in their pens PLUS teach them not to fear walking on or waving, crinkly, noisy things, I place small tarps (IMPORTANT: remove any cords that come sewn into the edges on some tarps) in their pens. DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS THE HORSE IS INDEED IN A SECURELY HORSE SAFE FENCED AREA, AS THEY MAY PANIC OR SPOOK AT FIRST. But once they get over their initial fear, they spend hours with their new toy. They drag it, walk on it, paw it, gallop around with it clutched in their teeth, throw it over their heads, rear with it. They love it.

One of my stallions became so attached to his tarp that if he accidentally threw it over his fence, he would pace the fence whinnying for it. He would neither eat nor drink until I went and retrieved it for him. Of course, remove and throw out once it becomes nothing but tatters and find him another one. The best part, these horses do not panic when being ridden by anything remotely resembling a noisy, flapping in the wind, tarp. They walk over such items when being ridden without a second thought.

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