Looking for some of the best things to do with your horse other than riding?
We’ve got you covered!
Below, we’re looking at some of the best bonding activities to do with horses when you just can’t get out for a ride.
This post contains affiliate links. We earn a commission if you make a purchase at no extra cost to you.
Check this comparison table for a quick guide. Read the review for further details.
Just keep reading to find out what they are!
Table of Contents
Best Things to Do With Your Horse Other Than Riding
It is true that riding your horse helps to keep them fit and healthy.
In fact, to keep your horse in tip-top shape, it is recommended that you ride your horse three times a week, for at least 20-30 minutes each time.
However, when you’re not out riding, you still want to bond and spend time with your horse, right?
Well, here are some things to try!
1. Make Your Horse a Treats Buffet
While the main staple of a horse’s diet is hay, like humans, horses like to have special treats now and then.
Using either an ice cream cone or a plain rice cake, add your horse’s favorite treats. Need a few ideas?
Horses can eat mangos, apple slices, and other fruits & veggies as well as certain nuts & seeds.
You can also try carrot pieces, pitted dates, and even peppermints and sugar cubes! Go easy on those last two, though. Make them a rare treat.
2. Hang Out With Your Horse
Do you ever just sit and watch your horse while they graze in the pasture? I mean watch with absolutely no agenda at all?
If not, then you are truly missing out on some special quality time with your horse.
It’s incredibly relaxing and zen-like to just be present and in the moment with each other.
Who knows, your horse might even come to stand near you to enjoy some of that refreshing time too.
3. Learn Your Horse’s Normal Vital Signs
While we don’t ever want anything bad to happen to our equine friend, at some point, an injury or sickness is bound to occur.
By learning your horse’s normal vital signs (temperature, pulse, and respiration), you’ll have a baseline to compare within the event your horse does get injured or becomes sick.
So, what’s considered normal when it comes to a horse’s vital signs?
- Temperature– Normal rectal temperature for an adult horse is between 99-101 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pulse– Normal resting heart rate for an adult horse is between 28-44 beats per minute.
- Respiration– Normal resting respiration rate for an adult horse is between 10-24 breaths per minute.
If you’re not sure how to go about checking them, watch the video below for some guidance.
4. Do Carrot Streches With Your Horse
Carrot stretches are neck exercises for horses.
The goal of these exercises, according to Horse & Rider Magazine, is to “increase the flexibility and range of motion in your horse’s neck and back.”
Start by standing facing forward, at your horse’s shoulder.
Holding a carrot in front of your horse’s chest, encourage him to lower his chin towards his chest and hold that position for about 2-4 seconds.
Try and perform these exercises 2-3 times a week for maximum benefit.
5. Groom Your Horse
Grooming your horse on a regular basis is essential to keeping them healthy. Some of the benefits include:
- Allowing you to inspect their overall health
- Improving circulation
- Spreading the skin’s natural oils
- Sloughing off dead skin cells
- Improving overall skin and coat condition
- Deepening the bond between you and your horse
How often should you groom your horse? Daily, if possible. If you can’t manage that, though, aim for a minimum of three times per week.
How long should it take to groom your horse? On average, it about 20 minutes, depending on how dirty your horse is and how long their fur is.
If you’re a new horse owner and need some help with that first grooming, check out the video below.
6. Find a New Toy for Your Horse to Play With
Horses are intelligent animals who can become bored rather easily.
Toys designed specifically for them can help to alleviate boredom and keep them mentally stimulated.
Here are a few popular horse toys:
Available in 6 colors: blue, green apple, peppermint, pink, purple and red.
Available in red.
Available in 5 colors: blue, green, orange, pink and purple.
Available in 6 flavors: no sugar added, apple, carrot, molasses, peppermint and sweet & salty.
7. Find Your Horse’s Favorite Scratching Post
Every horse has a favorite spot where they just love to be rubbed and scratched. Take some time to find out where your horse’s favorite spot (or spots) is located.
Generally, it is normally areas that they aren’t able to reach themselves. Many horses like to be rubbed on their chest, hip area, neck, and/or shoulder.
Many also enjoy being scratched on their withers (the ridge located between their shoulder blades).
Additionally, some horses love to have their head and ears rubbed.
8. Talk Your Horse for a Walk
In the wild, horses usually travel huge distances (sometimes up to 15-20 miles in a day).
Along their travels, they encounter different sights and sounds each day. It’s an incredibly mentally stimulating activity!
So, take your horse for a walk and traverse the area. While on your stroll, allow your horse to graze, to see new sights and to sniff their surroundings.
9. Have a Picnic With Your Horse
Head out to your horse’s pasture and have a picnic with them.
Pack a picnic basket with some food for you as well as some treats for your equine friend (apples, bananas, carrots, raisins, sunflower seeds).
Then, just sit together (or rather, you’ll sit and your horse will stand, but you get my point) and enjoy the beautiful day.
10. Let Your Horse Play in Water
You’ve probably heard the saying that “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink,” right?
While this is a popular proverb, it is safe to say that you can probably lead your horse to water and let them play around in it.
The majority of horses will walk into the water, paw the water to test its depth and then splash around, especially if it is a hot day.
So, find a nearby, shallow creek, pond, river or waterhole and let your horse have some water fun.
There are so many wonderful things to do with your horse other than riding.
Even something as simple as just hanging out together on a beautiful day helps strengthen your bond.
My suggestion: try out all of the ideas above and make note of the activities your horse really seems to enjoy the most.