In March we held the Spring Enrichment Challenge for the second year running. It attracted new challengers as well as those returning to have some more fun.
Enrichment activities are a good way of enhancing our horse management practices to encourage behaviours such as seeking and play as well as cognitive processes and activities to appeal to a variety of senses.
Some of the new challenges included this year were:
- Pony pancakes, using an equine friendly recipe to introduce some new foods certainly had a mixed reaction among our participants.
- The carrot ball is a very quick and easy way of adding seeking and movement to a treat and can be hung or floor-based.
- The cone patterns included some physical activity with a focus to move away from the concept of just movement for exercise.
- Most of the horses had fun with the smoothie, which was packed full of goodness from the fresh fruits and vegetables.
- While there was some fun for the owners too with the blossom mane braiding.
As well as the newer challenges, some old favourites returned such as laying a treasure trail. Once horses get the idea of what you are doing I find they are queueing up to take part in hunting out those treats.
Enrichment isn’t all about food though and the alternatives included some quiet meditation time, to encourage busy owners to just be with their horses rather having to do something specific with or for them. Massage is also a favourite along with finding a horse’s scratchy spot.
Finding different levels to walk up and down or logs to walk over or seeking out some water to play in are all good activities for more movement. The main purpose of the Enrichment Challenges is to encourage owners to continue with the activities on a regular basis or to create their own ideas, the only limit is the imagination.
If you missed this challenge, don’t worry we’ll be running more challenges again soon. In the meantime, you might like to take a look at Wendy’s course Enrichment for Horse Owners, which includes 10 fun-packed activities and is a perfect place to start if you are new to enrichment.