One quick visit from the vet and it’s box rest for your beloved horse. Instead of preparing for early mornings at the stable, you’re now preparing your horse for confinement in hopes of treating an injury or preventing the onset of one. Whether this period of box rest lasts a few weeks or a few months, here are some tips to ensure you and your horse are adequately prepared.
Daily Interaction: Interacting with your horse is important during these periods of rest. While you can’t necessarily spend time riding your horse, quality time, in general, is very beneficial. Once you have completed the necessary tasks around the stable like organizing your tack box, sitting with your horse simply shows you care about them. If the situation permits, place your horse around other horses as this interaction is also greatly beneficial.
Grooming Sessions: While taking the time to visit your horse, use this time to groom them. Box rest can oftentimes frustrate horses. The calm and repetitive actions of grooming can ease their anxiety while also promoting circulation. With so many grooming brushes to choose from, check out some of our favorites.
Diet Adjustments: A change in your horse’s routine means an inevitable change in their diet. As your horse is confined to their stable, they won’t have the opportunity to move around, so carb intake should be decreased to avoid any unnecessary weight gain. Keeping your horse’s gut moving is important too. Standing still for long periods of time can heighten the risk of colic due to digestive impactions, so ensuring your horse’s diet is rich in fiber will keep things moving internally while they’re on box rest.
Offer Enrichment: It’s no secret that your horse will get bored during their period of box rest. Horses who are used to roaming free will likely find frustration being cooped up in the stable. While your main goal is limiting your horse’s movement, you’ll also want to keep them content, so make sure you offer different items within their stable to keep them busy. Items such as feed balls, licks, and haynets will keep your horse busy without promoting excessive movement. Simply switching them out with a different style every so often will keep your horse engaged.
Box rest isn’t easy for you or your horse as daily routines are changed and there’s a lot more work involved. Either way, this period of rest is important and in the long run, very beneficial. Following these tips will ensure you and your horse are adequately prepared.