Friday, April 17, 2015

Play Ball

I've been looking for one of those super large bouncy balls for kids, thinking I'd throw it to the horses and it would be too big for them to stomp on, but they could kick it around.  However, all the kids' balls I found were very thin and flimsy, and not even a quarter of the size of the ones I recall from my childhood.  I remember walking into toy stores and seeing huge cages filled with such balls, but I guess they take up too much space for the toy stores to carry now.  I don't want to spend the ridiculous amount of money that equestrians are expected to pay for ball toys made specifically for horses.  So, my husband brought home one of those little bouncy playground balls, which is stronger than the balls I was considering.

Rock whispering sweet nothings to Gabbrielle and nibbling on her neck while she reaches for the ball.

It must be love.

Rock sticking his tongue out like the ball tasted funny.

They dug their teeth into it, but weren't able to pop it... yet.

I threw the ball around, bounced it off each of the horses, and rolled it under their legs, but couldn't get a single spook out of them.

I was picking up the horse's feet and swinging their legs forward to kick the ball, hoping they'd catch on, but everyone just kept yawning.  I guess it was too close to their bed time.

I suspect that between the campers slamming doors and the coyotes howling all night, the horses didn't get much sleep yesterday.


lytha said...

People disagree about what causes yawning. Many vets believe it has to do with discomfort or stress relief.

My horse yawns repeatedly as I get their hay for breakfast or dinner. This is an anticipatory yawn, I think like what yours were doing when they wanted the ball. It's a sign she's anxious for something she can't get for herself.

The scientific study I found most interesting (because the yawning takes place during feedtimes) is here:

Then there are training yawns, as discussed here:

Some people always use quotes around "yawn" because they believe the horse is not actually yawning, but seems to be. There is no air coming in or out of their mouth, supposedly. Horses are obligate nasal breathers. (My question remains, do they exhale through their mouths when they neigh loudly?)

The scientific study I liked says primates and dogs yawn in stress situations. Do you see this in your dogs? I know my cat yawns when I wake her up, or when she rises in the morning, matching human yawning behavior.

You've got lots of animals there, please let me know how you observe yawning.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lytha - I've only seen my dogs yawn when they stretch when waking up in the morning. The horses usually yawn before dinner, but not breakfast, when they are waking from their afternoon naps.

Tina said...

That was interesting about the yawning. I hardly ever see my horses yawn...I wonder if that is bad?

Lytha...I miss your blog.

Off to get a ball for my horses...I've been taking old jeans and tying the legs in knots and throwing them to them for toys. They sure have given their hay nets a break, thank goodness! I have tried a jolly ball and they won't touch it so I gave them to my dogs...they love them...LOL!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Looks like they're having fun and will get the hang of kicking it sooner or later. You might want to start a "soccer" little league for them! If they ever pop that one I was wondering how a basketball would work? They seem to be pretty tough and big enough.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Tina - I like your knotted jeans idea. I've got two pair that are starting to rip in a bad place to have a vent. Also, Lytha did leave you a message on your last comment. You'll have to dig in old posts. I can't remember which one it was where that conversation took place.

GHM - I looked at basketballs and soccer balls, but everything is so expensive nowadays. I'd have to pick one up from a garage sale or thrift store. I know my son gave one of his basketballs to the horses years ago, but I don't remember them playing with it. I think it was too heavy and they couldn't grip it with their teeth. But it should work fine for kicking.

achieve1dream said...

I love these pictures!!! I want one of those horse balls too but I can't pay that price!! Yikes!

I think horses yawn for lots of reasons. The mare I used to have would yawn constantly if we were out riding and stopped to talk to someone for too long. It's like how some horses paw when asked to stand still for a long time. She would yawn when asked to stand still but the funny thing is she pawed when she wanted food.

Chrome definitely yawns in anticipation for food! I think that's the only time he yawns.