Have you ever walked into the barn in the morning, only to discover that one of your horses got out of its stall during the night? Could you have sworn that you latched that stall door? You may well have. If your horse is anything like this Belgian mare, then you might have an escape artist horse on your hands.
Watch this talented Belgian mare as she works the latch on her stall door. She seems to know exactly what she's doing, and she escapes in record time. Clearly, this is something that she's done before, and she seems quite pleased with her earned freedom.
If your horse is an escape artist, then it's up to you to take some extra precautions to make sure that he stays safely contained. A loose horse can get into grain and other substances which will threaten his health. A loose horse can also be at risk of wandering off, getting lost, or even getting hit by a car. It's not a situation that you ever want to have.
According to Jennifer Williams, PhD, of Equus, there are a number of ways that you can keep your escape artist safely contained. For a start, try to avoid stalling an escape artist in a Dutch door stall where the horse can reach the latches. If all you have available are Dutch doors, then consider closing the top door or installing a shelf above the latches so that the horse can't reach them. You can also reinforce the latches or purchase horse-proof latches which are more difficult (though rarely impossible) for a horse to operate.
It's also important to think about why your horse is trying so hard to escape. Horses may try to get out of their stalls for a variety of reasons including boredom, hunger, and even loneliness. If you can pinpoint just why your horse is trying to escape, you can make some adjustments to help make your horse more comfortable and content to stay in his stall.
Owning an escape artist can be a challenge, and you'll certainly get creative in devising ways to keep your horse contained.