Your horse on stall rest has finally been given the green light for hand walking. Now what?! Even the most steady-Eddie of boom proof horses can lose its marbles. Here are some ideas you can use at the beginning of the stall rest and hand walking to aid in horse and human safety.
1. Limit Carbohydrate Intake:
Work with your primary care veterinarian to develop a low-carb, high fiber diet. Feeding mature hay with less digestible fibers may be an excellent choice.
2. Keep A Routine:
If you ride every day at 4 pm, take them out of the stall every day at 4 pm. Even if they aren’t ready for hand walking, you can groom or bathe them. Keeping a routine promotes stability and reduces stress.
3. Stall Enrichment:
Introduce various cleaver toys and treats into the stall to keep the mind and body busy. i.e., Freeze fresh fruit in blocks of ice or tack grooming brushes to stall walls.
4. Slow Feeder:
Using a slow feeder, a horse can graze all day while remaining occupied, and reducing the risk of overeating.
5. Optical Course:
Once your back to hand-walking, devise an in-hand optical course tailored to physical ability to keep a horse engaged and learning. It’s sure to be more exciting than continually walking the perimeter of an arena.
6. Equine Message & Stretching:
Consider learning equine massage and stretching techniques. Employing these techniques will relieve muscle tension and stiffness, reduce pain and spasm, and improve joint flexibility and range of motion.
7. Chiropractic Care:
Chiropractic adjustments can prove beneficial, particularly for horses on extended stall rest. Adjustments assists in restoring normal motion, improving flexibility, stimulating nerve reflexes, and reducing pain.
8. Give Them A Pet:
Consider letting the horse share its stall with a chicken or tiny goat. Many horses will do very well with a stall mate and who couldn’t use a best friend.
9. Pharmaceutical Assistant:
Sometimes, we are better safe than sorry. If you are concerned about your or your horse’s safety, as you being hand-waling, talk with your veterinarian regarding medication to ease the horse’s anxiety.
Take away message. Make a purposeful plan to keep your horse fit mentally and physically during stall rest. It very likely will improve the transitions from hand walking to lounging, to riding.
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