Musings of an Alternative Equestrian

Enrichment Advent Calendar

Welcome to the 2020 Enrichment Advent Calendar. This year I am inviting you to join me and create a unique experience for your horse and have fun.

All of the challenges are easy to set up and take part in. They are designed to be accessed by busy horse owners who have very little time in the winter due to work/dark nights/muddy conditions/poor weather. They can all be done in a stable, shelter, field or wherever you are. There are no special tools or equipment needed, just some fruit, veggies and treats and other things you can easily find to hand.

Follow our efforts on our Facebook and Instsagram accounts, if you join in use the hashtag #enrichmentadvent

 

  1. Egg Box Toy – Pop some treats/veggies in an egg box, close it up and let your horse get them out. You can make it more challenging by taping the box up.
  2. Christmas Berries – Tie some branches or rosehips and/or hawthorn berries up for your horse to forage. If you can’t find any berries, and some store bought berries (blueberries, cranberries etc) to their feed.
  3. Neck Massage – Treat your horse to a lovely neck massage- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugdM6m_5SHU
  4. Hide and Seek – Hide some treats/veggies round the stable/shelter or under buckets etc and encourage your horse to find them
  5. Tasty Paste – smear some paste (pure fruit baby puree is great for this) on the back of a wooden spoon or other object and encourage them to lick it off.
  6. Aromatheratree – Sprinkle some essential oils on rag and tie them up in the stable/shelter or even from the branches of a tree for your horse to smell. Lavender is calming, Peppermint can be stimulating and help clear nasal passages.
  7. Christmas Present – Put some treats/veggies in a cardboard box, loosely wrap in Christmas paper for your horse to investigate and find the treats.
  8. The Bouquet – Pick some late growing plants – Dandelion, sow thistles, plantain in a bouquet for your horse.
  9. Christmas Ornaments – String up some vegetables and hang up in your stable, shelter for your horses to eat.
  10. Hay Tinsel – twist hay into rope and decorate the stable/shelter/trees with garlands.
  11. Teach Targeting – http://www.equineclickertraining.com/articles/targeting_workbook_new.html
  12. Orange Bobbing – Cut some orange segments and let them bob for them in some warm water, if your horse doesn’t like oranges, use apple quarters or another fruit/vegetable.
  13. Haynet Surprise – hide fruit and veggies inside haynets for your horses to find.
  14. Itchy and Scratchy – Give your pony a scratch with a novel object, extra points for a Christmas themed one.
  15. Selection Box – Wrap some treats/fruits/veggies in paper, twist them and pop them in a box – Only wrap them loosely as you want your horse to eat the treats not the paper.
  16. Try some TTouchhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SoOfVpYXFo
  17. The Santa Hat Game – Place some veggies/treats in a santa hat, stocking or other bag, whatever you have to hand and hold it for your horse to snuffle them out.
  18. Christmas Carols – Play Christmas music to your horse, do they like carols or Christmas number ones?
  19. Christmas Herbal Tea – Make a tea from infusing orange slices, a cinnamon stick and cranberries (feed warm or cold – not hot). If you don’t have time to brew this up use a herbal teabag of your choice (take the teabag out before offering t to your horse).
  20. Spoon Feeder – Place a berry, grape or small treat on a wooden spoon and see if you can get your horse to take it without dropping it. If you have some friends why not make a competition of who can feed their horse most ┬átreats from the spoon without dropping them in 30 seconds.
  21. Peppermint Strings – String some mints with holes onto baler tone and hang it up for your horse to munch on.
  22. Hindquarters Massage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyWnS-UNUmk
  23. Christmas Cracker – Wrap some treats/fruit/veggies in a towel or other cloth. Tie the ends with baler twine to make a cracker and let your horse forage for them.
  24. Christmas Cake – Okay this one does need a little bit of prep but you can do it at home in the warm and dry.

Recipe – 3 tablespoons of self-raising flour (or oat flour and 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder)

1 tablespoon of oil

3 tablespoons of non-diary milk

1 tablespoon of dried fruit or berries

A pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Mix it all up in a cup and microwave for 3 minutes, alternatively place in s small dish and bake for 15 minutes at 350F/175C