Enrich your horse’s environment with object exploration

Lacey tried to stuff a Christmas ornament up her nostril the other day. Then when she couldn’t quite inhale the little soldier up her flared Arabian nose she tried the other nostril. She was so dedicated to this pursuit that the soldier nearly disappeared with each sniff. This was her way of exploring the little wooden guy. She also nibbled him a little with her lips, but apparently he smelled far better than he tasted because she kept returning to check him out further with her nose.

Danna would occasionally walk around with Lacey and was asking her if she might like to try walking between two narrow barrels, but Lacey continued to return to the soldier in the sand. And why not? He was interesting.

Danna and I both watched as Lacey was fascinated by the ornament. Perhaps his scent told a story of where he had been or maybe his red paint smelled awesome. (You can get to know Lacey and Danna a bit better in the attached video of another session).


If he had been on a table at a party I might have picked him up and admired his uniform with my eyes or explored the texture of his sanded wood surface with my fingers. It’s natural to be curious and when we explore an object we are awakening our senses and certain parts of our brain.

Giving Lacey the opportunity to explore an object completely on her own terms enriched her environment, put her brain in seeking mode and built her confidence about the world around her.

You can do this with your own horses by placing interesting objects in their environment and allowing them to explore them. The Christmas ornament happened to be in the arena while Danna and Lacey were interacting.

Through no effort on our part the soldier enriched the lesson and enhanced the arena to provide interest and entertainment for Lacey. Note that we didn’t put the soldier up her nose to get her accustomed to it. She did that all on her own. He was lying in the sand amongst a few other ornaments because I was too lazy to clean up after Christmas!



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