Box rest: how you can make it that little bit easier for your horse

If your horse has started a long stint of box rest and your not sure he’s coping well being alone, what can you do to help him? We asked Julia Dungworth, an international event rider who’s competed up to CCI**** level, what she does when her horses are confined to the stable.

Julia says...

Box rest can be really tricky if your horse is used to going out. Especially if it’s required in the height of summer when he’s fit and all of his friends are being turned out on a daily basis.

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However, the thing to remember is that being on box rest is often harder for you than it is for your horse.

If your horse gets stressed when his mates leave his eyesight, the key thing for him will be having company.

It completely depends on your circumstances but sometimes even small animals like chickens can be enough to calm a stressed horse who’s confined to a stable so he can watch them just wandering around. 

Chickens aside, is there anyone on the yard whose horse could act as a nanny? Or perhaps a Shetland or donkey who could become a temporary next-door neighbour? It’s worth asking around.

Failing that, see if you can stable your horse within eyesight of some action, like a busy area of the yard or the outdoor arena. In addition, consider his diet – he won’t need the energy he’d need while in work so speak to an equine nutritionist for advice.

If all else fails consider a ‘turnip on a string’ stable toy to give him stimulation.

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