The Busy Buddy is a multi-function tool that proves itself useful to have around the barn.
The following horses and owners were gifted a Busy Buddy and asked to test it out over the course of a month. From clipping overstimulation to a mouthy yearling, here are some ways that horses testing the Busy Buddy made use of it around the barn.
Top Envoy is a 2 year old Thoroughbred gelding that will grab the lead rope and try to bite when he’s being haltered and led. Typical corrections on the racetrack could involve a lip chain, but his owner opted for putting a Busy Buddy on his halter as a permanent feature. Top Envoy accepts it like a bit when his halter is put on and he enjoys chewing and mouthing it, helping him become less mouthy towards his environment. Having the Busy Buddy also helps him stay more relaxed while being handled and decreases the likelihood of him escalating his behavior.
Skippy is a 25 year old Appaloosa/TB gelding that was getting agitated and nervous while his owner was body clipping him. After attempting to distract him with treats and some scratches from a helper, she put the Busy Buddy on in an effort to soothe him. As you can see in the video below, the horse instantly relaxed and stood still for the rest of his clip, without correction or need for a second handler.
Standing for the Farrier
Santiago is a 4 year old OTTB gelding that was recently purchased by his owner. They are in the process of working on manners and he will grab the cross ties and has trouble standing patiently for the farrier. With the addition of the Busy Buddy, his chewing energy was directed towards the latex tubing instead of the lead and cross ties, and he became more compliant with his feet while being shod.
Dean is a very busy and friendly 4 year old Paint gelding that gets into everything and doesn’t always want to stand still in the cross ties. His owner had their veterinarian out to take radiographs of his stifles, but he wouldn’t stand still long enough for them to get the image. Without a third person to entertain him at his head and hold him still, the vet recommended sedating him to be able to x-ray. His owner suggested trying the Busy Buddy first. With the Busy Buddy on, Dean stood for his radiographs and his owner was able to save time with recovery and money by avoiding sedation.
The Halter or Bridle version of the Busy Buddy can also be used while lunging as an aid to encourage the horse to stretch through their top line and expedite relaxation during a warm up. Testers have reported their horses begin to stretch and work through their back sooner into a lunge with the Busy Buddy on than without. Horses that typically like to buck and play on the lunge have also been more focused with the Busy Buddy which could be advantageous for less controlled spaces like show warm ups.
Dave is a 15 year old Belgian gelding who has moments where he gets worried and lacks confidence, especially during trailer loading practice. His owner tried the Busy Buddy during one of their loading practices and noticed he was more relaxed and did not escalate his behavior. It is usual for him to spook at least once, but he did not spook at all while wearing the Busy Buddy. He appeared alert but not as wide-eyed. She also noted that he was easily able to eat hay and treats while wearing the Busy Buddy.
Relaxation Tools for horses
I’m sure many of us could find even more applications around the barn for a relaxation tool like the Busy Buddy. Who wouldn’t take up any opportunity for a little extra relaxation for our horses? It’s impossible to keep a routine or environment exactly the same and as prey animals, horses have a natural instinct to experience arousal or anxiety about new experiences. The Busy Buddy is a convenient and non-invasive tool to add to your horse’s routine to assist with relaxation and manners.