Did you know that horses can be quite amusing? Yes, we usually think of horses as constant grazers, if not a little lazy. Horses, on the other hand, enjoy playing! Horses, like other animals in a herd, enjoy playing with each other, with toys, and even with bubbles, as seen in this video.
They are naturally inquisitive animals who are always eager to see and learn new things. Even if your horse is normally well behaved in your home paddock, a moving object, different colors, a change in location, or interaction with unfamiliar horses or people can all set them off into instinctive mode.
Play is thought to be important for a horse’s well-being, especially in young horses. It serves several purposes, including improved fitness, practice of survival skills, and the development of social relationships. Play can also be defined as an activity that appears to have no immediate use or function for the horse but elicits a sense of pleasure and surprise. Younger horses generally spend more time playing than older horses. Play behavior is quite solitary, especially during the first four weeks of life, when the foal stays close to its dam. After the first month, however, young foals begin to socialize with other foals. Male foals play more than female foals and are more likely to engage in aggressive fighting-related play behavior.
Horses, on the other hand, demand attention when they interact with humans by nipping at handlers, pawing the ground, or kicking at stall walls. Treats and other food rewards are frequently used by owners to reinforce those behaviors. However, if someone does not respond quickly enough or in the manner that the horse expects, the same behavior can become problematic or even dangerous. There is a fine line that is often difficult to distinguish between a cute or funny action that simply makes us laugh and creating a monster by rewarding the same behavior, which is why owners must decide which equine behaviors they are willing to tolerate and which they will not tolerate at all.