Readers Help Their Horses Battle Boredom in the Stall

More than 620 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "How do you promote the health (both physical and emotional) of your stall-confined horse?"

results of poll on stall confined horses

Results were as follows:

  • A combination of the above: 68.33% (425)
  • Balance his/her stall time with turnout and/or exercise as much as possible: 14.79% (92)
  • Other (please explain below): 12.22% (76)
  • Ensure he/she always has hay to munch: 2.25% (14)
  • Ensure a companion is stalled nearby/within sight: 1.93% (12)
  • Provide a means of entertainment (stall balls, treat-serving toys, etc.): 0.48% (3)

Readers shared how they help their horses battle boredom in the comments below.

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  • I do not confine my horses in stalls.
  • I divide my paddock of 3/4 acre into two sections. During the day I switch them so they move around.
  • I don't believe in keeping a horse in a stall unless it
  • My horse loves companinonship even more than food. I do give her all of the above also
  • I gave up stall life, my horses are a lot happier out doors w/provided Shelter run In's.
  • All of the above, hide different feeds to search for, his own Pygmy goat lives in stall with him
  • Horse in stalls are like birds in cages.
  • Assuming that you really mean "stall confinement", I cut off all grain allow free choice quality hay
  • A companion in sight and constant hay.
  • constant hay and a companion close by
  • my horses are in a pasture 24/7 with other horses
  • I don't confine my horses to a stall that is wrong.
  • Provide as much turnout as possible in addition to regular controlled exercise
  • Owner rides 5 times/ wk. Single turnout next to other horses every day
  • hide carrots in stall, hang carrots from ceiling
  • 24/7 turnout with companions, daily visits
  • Our horses are left outside with run in shelters and are stalled only in the most inclement weather
  • I never stall my horses. Therefore, they do not suffer mental or physical problems associated with
  • No stall confinement here. Group living with 24 hour access to pastures and shelter.
  • I combine the above, but do anything possible to keep them out- only in 3-4 days/year
  • All day or all night turnout. Plenty of hay, and toys for the really curious ones
  • only stalled @nite in winter/rain in summer
  • I avoid stalling horses unless absolutely necessary for medical reasons
  • I live in Chicago, so have to board, I pay extra for daily turnout & extra hay, & ride 6 days/week
  • The more stuff 2 do the happier the horse!
  • Keep it outin alargepaddack asmuch as possible. They'remeant to graze, not stand
  • I don't keep my horses in stalls.
  • Plus one-on-one time with me daily
  • All of the above, just add LOVE
  • He stays on 24 hour turn out.
  • I love the nibble net to make the hay last longer. Can use an old hockey net. Satisfies horse!
  • If confined due to injury, maximize ventilation, provide free-choice hay, window with active view.
  • Stall are horrible with mental and emotional health of horses. Therefore, I don't.
  • never confine them. treat them like horses
  • I stall with attached paddock, keeping horses stalled is unhealthy and cruel
  • Take him for a quiet walk if allowed as many times a day as I can manage.
  • leave out except in bad weather.
  • I only stall my horses in bad weather and in case of recovery from injury or illness.
  • I read in The Horse that horses prefer clasical music. So it plays in the barn all the time.
  • All of the above.
  • You people who have your horses in a stall are nuts! Would you like to be kept in a very small room
  • when in a stall my horses have outdoor poddocks so they can go out and socilaize with their herd mat
  • at least 10 hours of turnout a day!
  • they can go in and out
  • All of my horses have pens attached to stalls but still get turnout time
  • Horses outside 24/7. When stabled (show, injury) they get toys and tons of hay.
  • don't ever stall if can help it
  • I have not yet had to confine any of my horses
  • ALL OF THE ABOVE WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD CHOICE
  • Turn out at least 8 hours a day. While stall bound, lots of hay and companions in sight
  • Horses live out as much as possible
  • My horses can go in & out of their stalls at will; not confined unless absolutely necessary.
  • My horse is not stalled but I do most of these things anyway
  • We only horses stall to treat an illness as with laminitis and try to keep then as happy as we can.
  • Boarding barns manage turnout & hay the 2 best methods, making it very difficult.
  • 24/7 pasture with barn as run in shelter
  • My horses are never confined to a stall.
  • All of the above and I used this time to teach him tricks
  • Don't put them in a stall to begin with. Horses are gregarious grazers. A stall is a jail cell.
  • Try to keep them out as much as possible
  • we only keep our horses up in bad weather. The enjoy the time up because they are close to each other
  • My4 horses are not stall confined,
  • try to avoid stall confinement more than during the night
  • My boys see each other inside & outside-runouts on stalls. Closed in by dutchdoors only in storms.
  • my horse is in the pasture year round with shelter from wind and rain/snow if he wants it
  • our horses are on pasture
  • My horses are on 24 hour turnout. They don't have vices.
  • Stall confinement is inhumane unless necessary for rehab would you live in your coat closet?
  • I use stall guards instead of closing the door so she can see whats going on
  • my horse is kept in a paddock with a run-in
  • All of the above! They are stalled at night, turned out during daylight
  • For Winter, each horse has a small turnout. Warm months turnout 12 hrs, stall 12 hrs. Works!
  • Don't confine my horses unless vet ordered.
  • Pretty much all of those! Enough exercise, hay, friend, etc.
  • My horses are kept outside 24/7.
  • My TWH is only stalled in bad weather; otherwise in pastured. We just keep her pals stalled nearby!
  • Don't have stalls at all just a shed roof in the corrals all 4 horses are together except at feeding
  • Out during day in winter with free choice hay/Reverse in summer
  • She's turned out by herself, 24/7 but there are horses on both sides
  • My horses have in and out stalls.
  • We even turn him out in his pasture on horse show days.
  • I spend quality time daily interacting w/each horse (3 of them).
  • I only confine them for medical reasons. Other than that they are free to wander 24/7.
  • Offer optional outdoor time in an individual dry lot behind each stall.
  • my 23 yr old horse has never been confined in a stall
  • not confined unless bad weather
  • 24/7 turn out with run in stalls
  • I keep all of the my horses outside 24/7 so they don't get bored.
  • She's not stall confined, ever
  • My horses are not stalled.
  • We don't stall our horses.
  • Have loafing sheds, walkout to large paddocks, hay to munch exercise track, 30 mins exercise reg.
  • My horse loves to bang plastic jugs around! I tie them in a single strand of twine to avoid tangles
  • I kept her on a schedule. She knew exactly after her noon time hay she went for a walk rain or shine
  • Free choice hay always and a stable buddy!
  • I keep him healthy by letting him be a horse and do horse things as much as I can.
  • Horses are meant to walk and graze. Toys, hay, friends, all will help.
  • Only time our horses are stalled is due to illness or injury
  • I take the horse walking, just like a dog, in my area.
  • Turnout is always best, not always logical. Let them get exercise as much as possible
  • try not to have any horses confined unless ill
  • Let them be a horse, don't stall
  • they always have hay in front of them, toys, and turn out daily
  • I don't stall any of my horses
  • I do not stall my horses.
  • Keep him out 24/7 on a forage-based diet with as much stimuation and variety as possible.
  • No horse should be jailed in a stall!
  • try not to stall a horse unless absolutely neccessary, then try to ensure he has plenty of hay to mu
  • Pasture horses only stalled if sick or injured
  • Never confine my horses to stalls.
  • Mental stimulation via Natural Horsemanship techniques even inside the stall or in a small area
  • They are in the barn only for feeding or severe weather
  • the use of a slow feeder, barn companion, turnout, and either riding or grooming time.
  • horses are out all day
  • I don't stall them
  • My horses are rarely stalled.
  • OUr horses are stalled as little as possible - about an hour a day
  • MY HORSE LIVES IN A 50' X 50' PEN AND IS TURNED OUT 12 HRS DAILY ON 2 ACRES.
  • I ride 2/3 of my horse all winter and feed 4x daily. (very tiring!)
  • I do not confine my horses to stalls
  • I do on-the ground clicker training, simple tricks, fun for both of us.
  • Horses are stalled ONLY if seriously injured.
  • I don't stall the horse. They are healthier and saner where they can move.
  • Pasture turnout 24/7 like nature intended
  • I allow my mare as much turn out time as possible, as she's always content in the field!
  • All our horses live out. But water can be a problem
  • All of the above with multiple hand walk/grazing/grooming sessions.
  • Mine not confined to a stall.Only in one if not well.They have access to them 24/7 at their will.
  • We hand-walk and turn out in paddocks close to the barn. Air out barn as much as possible.
  • 100% turnout - not in stalls
  • lots of hay, bran mash on cold nights, turn out i fpossible but hand walking or round pen lunging, i
  • all of the above.
  • Mine are in pasture 24/7
  • Our horse had 2 Jolly Balls, constant feeding, and hand grazing time when he was on stall rest

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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