Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘boredom buster

Hanging Ball

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Lately, there are two very different reasons the horses have been confining themselves close to the shelter of the barn overhang. I was showing off the mud yesterday but that has now turned rock-hard because the air temperatures have plummeted to single digits with a wind that feels like someone set the clocks back to January. The snow down the hill from the overhang that was melting two days ago has become dangerously glazed again with the re-freeze creating a hazard that the horses wisely choose to avoid.

Just in time, I hung up a fresh boredom-busting treat, Uncle Jimmy’s Hanging Ball that Light immediately went for.

The enticing grains held together with a sweet molasses coating are hard to gobble because the ball is hung high and swings away from any attempt to get a big bite.

Sometimes I feel like it’s cruel to tease them with this but watching how they don’t give up over time and eventually the ball starts to show signs they are getting nibbles off it makes me think it is serving the intended purpose of giving them a challenge that helps fight boredom.

Surprisingly, I have yet to see the barn birds claiming ownership of these sweet grain treats. It seems like it would be obvious bird food. Just in case they are chipping away at it when I am not around, the length of time the treat lasts tells me they aren’t cheating the horses of nibbles. In fact, that would probably help the horses out because when it is completely round at the start, all they can really accomplish is to lick it.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of an Uncle Jimmy’s Hangin’ Ball?

The world may never know.




Written by johnwhays

March 18, 2023 at 10:21 am

New Treats

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We just put out new-style treats for the horses that will also double as boredom busters. It’s an “Uncle Jimmy’s Hangin’ Ball” and it must smell pretty yummy to a horse, based on Mix’s reaction.

She immediately gave it a few long pulls of inhalation as the ball bobbed to and fro and then…

A perfect demonstration of the flehmen response by a horse. It is a way horses perform a little deeper investigation of a scent and Mix was very interested in the way this treat smelled.

We hung two, one on each side of the overhang, where they can’t push the ball up against a firm surface. The intention is to occupy more of their time and ingenuity as they work to sink their teeth into successful bites of the swinging treats. I suspect they might just end up licking their way to the centers.

If they take too long to consume the flavored balls of grains, I won’t be surprised if these colossal treats get the attention of every bird in the surrounding vicinity who will gladly show the horses how it is done.



Written by johnwhays

April 5, 2022 at 6:00 am