5 Tips to Help Your Horse Survive Box Rest

Spread the love

Box rest is not a fun time for both you and your horse, but they’re necessary when your horse needs to recover from illness, heal from injury, be protected from harsh weather, or beat down the chances of an infection.

The duration for box rest may vary from days, weeks, or even months sometimes, but this depends on the reason for the box rest. During box rest, some horses may find it difficult and even suffer from behavioral problems like cribbing and weaving. They may also suffer from respiratory problems.

So, these are a few ways to help your horse survive box rest:

  1. Transition slowly from hay to grass

Unlike hay, which does not have as much water content and is not as digestible, the grass is easier to digest and has higher water content. Suddenly transitioning from grass to hay may be problematic for your horse, because you may end up increasing how much indigestible fiber goes in their diet.

If your horse is not as efficient when it comes to digestion, this may especially be an issue. Instead, transition slowly to grass that has been freshly picked grass or haylage, which is believed to be a lot more digestible.

  1. Keep gut moving

Box rest means physical inactivity, which may affect bowel movement. Movement naturally enhances bowel movement, but a lack of movement may increase the risk of issues like colic, which may be caused by digestive difficulties, or gas build-up.

  1. Take Out Often

Usually, a veterinary doctor will advise that during box rest, you walk your horse around. You should not let your horse stand all day in one room with little movement or physical stimulation. Try walking your horse(s) around every day. This is a necessary exercise, albeit a light one, and it also helps keep your horse mentally stimulated.

  1. Give Them Attention

With your horse in box rest, it is unlikely that your horse will get some attention or social company with other horses. It is also not a good idea to move your horse to a place where he can watch other horses, even though he cannot partake. It can frustrate him and lead to behavior problems.

Try to keep him company instead because he will most likely crave some attention and company unless he does not like the company of humans.

Just like humans, your horse also wants some love, so don’t forget to show this.

  1. Try Stable Toys

Boredom is a real thing even for horses, and it is important that during the period of their box rest, you find ways for your horse to combat this. One way is to provide him with stable toys. You could try rubber balls or food toys. Not all horses will be interested in these toys, but it is worth trying. Your horse may fancy it.

If that does not work, try a stable mirror. According to some studies, a stable mirror may reduce box walking and weaving.

Overall, make sure box rest for your horse does not become grueling as it can turn into a disaster pretty fast. Try out different things until you find what works.


About Irene Michaels

Over the past 25 years I have taken on the roles of a producer, publisher, insider journalist and fundraiser. My artistic interests began early in my teens working as a model and a dancer throughout the U.S. I formed my first modeling agency before I was twenty. While modeling I secured a re-occurring role in the popular daytime TV series General Hospital. Read more...

0 comments to " 5 Tips to Help Your Horse Survive Box Rest "
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *