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Making it alone

Posted in Management

Help keep your horse happy when he’s the only one out in the field


Horses are herd animals, and they benefit from being able to interact with other horses and display natural behaviours. However, it’s not always possible to turn your horse out with others. Maybe he causes fights that could lead to injury, or perhaps he allows himself to be bullied, something that can take a toll on his overall health. If that’s the case, it can be safer for your horse to be turned out alone. Unfortunately, though, despite the fact you’re now protecting him, it could cause him to be sad or depressed through not being in a herd environment. Not to worry, we have some ideas to help keep him happy even when he’s alone.

Seeing and touching

Although turned out alone, popping your horse in a field next to other horses can help him get that much-needed herd feeling – and if he’s within touching distance of these horses, even better, because they can safely enjoy social interaction and a good groom over the fence. However, if being within reach isn’t the best option for your horse, simply being able to see others in the nearby fields will make him much happier.


As your horse doesn’t have anyone to enjoy playtime with, investing in some field toys could be the answer to keeping him entertained. Here are a few ideas…

  • A horse ball
  • a ball you can pop treats into
  • a hay feeder ball that is hung up


It may seem like something only dogs would enjoy but hiding treats, such as chunks of apples or carrots, around the paddock so your horse can find them will help stimulate his brain. He may not hunt for them in the way as a dog would, but he will still enjoy finding them as he moves about grazing.

Scratching post

Without having other horses to groom him or reach him properly over the fence, popping out a rough mat or an old broom head is perfect for reaching those difficult-to-scratch spots! Nail your mat or broom securely to a post and then watch him enjoying a play and a scratch on his new toy!

Spread forage

If your horse has hay out in the field, try splitting it into several piles. Doing so will encourage him to roam around the paddock and will also stop a dreaded mud patch developing where he’s been standing and eating in the same place – it’s a win-win!

Horse-friendly herbs

To spark his curiosity, planting some horse-friendly herbs – for example nettles or dandelions – in the field will not only keep him entertained but will also add some variety to his grazing.

 Spending time

Staying out for a while in the field with your horse can be great company for him. Spend some of your free time simply watching him graze or take your favourite book out to him and read. Horses love human company just as much as horse company and it can even help strengthen your bond.

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