All too often an injury or surgery requires a horse to be put on “stall rest” to promote healing and/or prevent further damage. Horses were designed to be herd animals while walking and grazing for 20 hours a day. It should be no surprise the stress and problems stall rest can lead to.
Vices, such as cribbing and stall weaving, may develop to relieve boredom. The lack of exercise can lead to circulation problems (swollen legs and poor blood flow to the hooves), digestive problems (colic), and weight gain. Some horses build up so much energy they “explode” in the stall or when taken out for a walk.
Here are some tips to help:
- Reduce their feed, especially “hot” grains, and control their calories.
- Feed hay in a net or manger to slow down their eating. This helps prevent boredom, weight gain and colic.
- Provide extra bedding and water.
- Monitor the ventilation and temperature.
- Supply toys or a pet, such as a goat, to keep them busy.
- Rotate other horses to stay in for company.
- Take them for many walks daily if allowed.
- Use leg wraps and products (oral and topical) to help with any swelling.
- Consider calming agents, such as essential oils, herbs, Stress Busters cookies, and drugs if needed.
This tip was brought to you by John J. Hanover, DVM and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” (KELC) FREE webinars, which will take place twice a month from January through June of 2011. To kick things off KAM will have a networking webinar on December 6th at 7pm CST. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to sign up for this webinar. The KELC FREE webinar will conclude with a question and answer session, so be ready with your nutrition questions.