Coping with Stall Rest: Keeping Your Horse Happy and Healthy
Stall rest can be a challenging time for both horses and their owners. It often involves restricting a horse's movement and can lead to physical, mental, and emotional consequences. However, there are ways to help alleviate the boredom and maintain your horse's well-being during this period. In this blog post, we will explore various activities and suggestions to keep your horse occupied and content while on stall rest.
1. Stall Toys:
Stall toys are an excellent way to engage your horse mentally and physically. There are a variety of toys available that can keep your horse entertained. Consider providing toys such as treat balls with healthy treats or slow feed hay balls. These toys encourage your horse to work for their food and provide mental stimulation.
2. Scratch Pads and Hanging Toys:
Horses enjoy scratching and rubbing against different surfaces. Install scratch pads in your horse's stall or use hanging toys that they can interact with. These toys can provide relief and keep them entertained during stall rest. Additionally, hanging toys with different textures and shapes can help alleviate boredom.
3. Slow Feed Hay Nets:
Using a slow feed hay net is an excellent way to extend the time your horse takes to eat. It promotes natural grazing behavior and prevents them from consuming their hay too quickly. Slow feed hay nets are available in various designs, allowing you to choose one that suits your horse's needs.
4. Small Paddock Turnout (if veterinarian approved):
If your veterinarian approves, consider providing limited turnout in a small paddock or controlled environment. This can give your horse the opportunity to stretch their legs, breathe fresh air, and enjoy a change of scenery. Remember to follow your vet's recommendations regarding the duration and frequency of small paddock turnout during stall rest.
5. Icelicks with Fruit and Veggies:
Icelicks are frozen treats that can keep your horse occupied for longer periods. Consider using icelicks infused with fruits and vegetables, providing both a tasty and refreshing snack. Not only does it help alleviate boredom, but it can also provide additional nutrients and hydration. Try using a splash of Gatorade to flavor your icelick.
6. Coined Carrots and Foraging:
Foraging activities can stimulate your horse's natural instincts and keep them engaged mentally. Hide small pieces of carrots or other horse-safe treats within their hay to encourage your horse to search and forage. This mimics their natural grazing behavior, providing mental stimulation and keeping them occupied.
Grooming is an essential part of a horse's routine and can be particularly beneficial during stall rest. Not only does it promote a healthy skin and coat, but it also stimulates their brain and connects them to their bodies. Thorough and proper grooming stimulates blood flow, loosens fascia, and spreads the skin's natural oils over your horse's coat, making them gleam. Spend time brushing your horse, removing any dirt or debris, and using gentle massage-like motions to enhance the grooming experience. See more.
Stall rest can be a challenging time for horses and their owners. However, by implementing a variety of activities and providing mental and physical stimulation, you can help alleviate the negative consequences associated with stall rest. Remember to consult with your veterinarian to ensure the activities are suitable for your horse's specific needs. By keeping your horse happy, healthy, and occupied, you can help them navigate stall rest more comfortably and promote their overall well-being.