“Box Rest” – the words that no horse owner wants to hear! Owning is horse can be full of highs, with hours of entertainment from yard work to competition success. However, owning a horse also keeps you grounded. We all know that you can from winning everything one month to falling off or going lame before you’ve even started the next month.
The winter can also be a tricky time as many horses have restricted turnout and spend more time inside hiding from sideways rain or snow. THEx have put together some ideas for keeping you and your horse sane on box rest or during the winter months.
- Feed your horse according to the amount of work they are receiving. Reduce concentrated and increase the fibre content of your horses diet.
- Hang haynets in different places around your horses stable. Consider putting hay in a corner unit or on the floor for a more natural feeding method. Also doubling up haynets or using haynets with smaller holes will keep your horse occupied for longer. Soaking your horses hay can also encourage the intake of fluids.
- Looking into toys for the horses “boredom breakers” – for example a treat ball full of non-heating treats can keep your horse entertained.
- Hang up different vegetable treats such a swedes or turnips on a piece of baler twine.
- Add cut up pieces of apple to your horses water – they will enjoy apple bobbing whilst it also encourages your horse to stay hydrated.
- If possible add a mirror to your horses stable, this can be an effective way to reduce anxiety. It can also help to stop stable vices such as weaving or box walking.
- Make sure you groom your horse or use a massage pad – your horse will love the extra attention and spending time with you.
- Turn on the radio in the yard and let your horse enjoy some music and company.
- If your horse is still in work try and exercise daily and keep a variety of work from hacking, lunging, jumping and flatwork. If your horse is on box rest, and on the vets advice, grazing your horse in hand for a few minutes each day can keep both their body and mind happy.