Every once in a while you have a horse which really needs something to play with, but trying to find something heavy-duty enough to stand up to serious horseplay, from teeth and hooves, is not easy. Someone was desperate for ideas recently for a very intelligent horse which needed a diversion, and I remembered my solution for one of mine who was on long box rest, wasn’t able to scratch herself, and needed something to rub against: a full-sized Lonsdale punch bag.
I found mine on ebay and it came with free postage, which was the deal-maker for me, because these are seriously heavy! If you’re not careful, the postage cost could make it a very expensive item.
Hanging it up is pretty much a 2-person job (and you need at least one of you to be very strong, to lift it high enough!) but once it’s up, that’s it. Obviously it needs to be hung high.. and if I had playful colts (for instance) I’d hang it even higher than in the picture, so there was no chance of a leg ever getting through the loops at the top, because they won’t break, which would be disastrous.
As long as it’s hung really safely, it is a really good distraction for a bored horse. The only thing is to keep an eye on exactly where it is when you’re mucking out, because if the horse shoves it and it gets you on the backswing, it could knock you over (says the voice of experience.) But it’s worth it, as something your horse can scratch itself against, shove around, and generally amuse itself with.
Mine hangs in the stable and most of my horses totally ignore it, but the odd one pays it some attention. If one is on box rest, they always go in the stable with the punchbag. I think it’s a good idea for pre-backing too, to get them used to having something up above them, but which is no cause for concern. Now I’ve got one, I wouldn’t be without it.