It is now somewhere around the 60th day that Bruno has been locked in a stall approximately 16 feet by 12 feet. That is a relatively large stall by stall standards but not so much based on Bruno’s enormous size. I saw Mary Lou post a picture today of the famous Clydesdales that are in Houston for an event this weekend. I cannot be sure but it looked as though they were being stabled at the Katy Equestrian Center. Big horses in small stalls, respectively, but then that probably happens to those horses a lot unless they are in their home space. So, we have given Bruno a big stall but nothing much to do as the days pass by. I recently read a book available on Amazon by Lynn M. Mueller titled My Little OTTB. It is the story of the first year after she purchased her first OTTB and the series of medical, training and other misadventures that befall them. I enjoyed the book and recommend to my OTTB friends and also my friends like Amy who have been leasing horses for some time and now, maybe are looking to get their own horse. Ms. Mueller also has an OTTB that ends up on stall rest and she outlines some ideas to keep him happy. I tried all the things she suggested.
First, she suggests the Jolly Ball seen above. I have seen a lot of these sitting unused in stalls over the years. They are a large (like 18 inch diameter) ball with a handle. Supposedly, the horse is going to want to grab the ball and throw it or kick it around his stall. I have never seen it happen but its Bruno, so we ordered one. At first he was scared of it. But he is a mouthy guy, liking to grab the handle of your pitchfork or a brush out of the grooming tray so it didn’t take long for him to decide it was fun to grab the ball in his mouth or smash the ball around his stall in a sort of soccer, football, la crosse game that he invented. Lauren has come out to find the ball on the outside of his stall as well. His walls are almost seven feet high so maybe there is some basketball component in his new game as well. So far he has not crushed the Jolly Ball.
Ms. Mueller also suggested a Himalayan salt block on a rope (I am not kidding-they make these-they look like soap on a rope only it is a block of salt). There is a similar product on the market but Ms. Mueller recommended against the ‘Lik-it’ which provides a flavored treat on a rope between two metal pieces. Her horse destroyed that quickly and I figured Bruno would as well. Horses need salt. Normally, I provide that by placing a large (think 40 pound) block of salt in the pasture where all the horses can lick it at will. It occurred to me that neither Bru or Kid had access to the salt so why not try the Salt on a Rope? Well, another point to Ms. Mueller and her advice. We tied the salt on a rope (why it has to be Himalayan salt-and is it really I have no idea) to Bruno and Kid’s stall walls. Wow. Bruno LOVES his Himalayan salt. He chews on it, covers it with slobber, bangs it against the stall wall and entertains himself endlessly. It is just one fun game after another.
But then he just had to go too far. Lauren was cleaning other stalls today and heard a crash and a big splash. Not what you want to hear if you are on a campaign to keep your horse’s foot dry. Rushing to Bruno’s stall, she found he had successfully ripped his water bucket off the wall, proceeding in dumping all the water in his stall, and then enlisting the water bucket as a second member in his Jolly Ball team. Except-the water bucket did not hold up to the kicking, smashing and throwing like the Jolly Ball. I guess they just don’t make buckets as tough as they used to!