What is Stall Walking?:
Stall walking is also known as box walking. When a horse stall walks it will either continuously walk around the perimeter of its stall or it may walk back and forth from one wall to the other. A horse that is outdoors may 'fence walk' from boredom or frustration as well. The horse may also kick the walls and paw or dig.
Why Do Horses Stall Walk?:
Boredom and frustration are the main causes of stall walking. A horse may be bored or frustrated because it is kept separate from other horses, it's feed is restricted, or it's kept in a stall for prolonged periods. Fence walking usually occurs when a horse is kept separated from feed or herd mates. Stall walking may be a frustrated flight response.
What are the Effects of Stall Walking?:
A horse who habitually stall walks may be difficult to keep in healthy condition. Nervous stall walking burns a lot of energy and while a horse is stall walking it is not eating. Stall walking may also be damaging to flooring, especially dirt floors, and a fence walker will quickly wear ruts along fence lines. There is a chance the horse could hurt itself as it repeatedly paces, kicks or paws.
How Can Stall Walking be Stopped or Prevented?:
Stall walking may be difficult to stop if the horse must have stall rest, must be kept separated (such as a stallion) or is on a restricted diet. To prevent stall walking you could try putting safe toys in the stall and hanging clean plastic bottles from the ceiling. The toys may be enough to distract the horse. Others may only see toys as obstacles to walk over or around.
A horse turned out with companions will be happier and less likely to stall walk or develop other vices.