At some point when owning a horse you may go through a time period where your horse needs to be put on stall rest. Your horse could be put on stall rest after an injury, surgery, or show fatigue. If he is used to getting worked daily or turned out daily, it may be a big change for him to be cooped up in his stall all day. I pulled together a few tips to help you both stay sane during stall rest.
- Location, location, location. If your horse is in his stall all day, keep him in a stall in a high traffic area and not in the corner of the barn. If he’s in a high traffic area he can watch what’s going on around him. Ask everyone in the barn just to stop and say hi to him so that he isn’t lonely. Along with being in a good location, give him a stall where he can see other horses, or one where he may have a window to see outside. Once again this gives him something to do while he’s in his stall.
- Keep him on a schedule. Take him out a few times a day to groom him. Many horses find this relaxing. Check with your vet, and see if he can go on short walks or can be hand grazed. Bringing him outside a few times a day for short periods of time instead of being outside for one long period of time. Breaking up his day in the stall will help him tremendously.
- Try out some stall toys to entertain your horse. There are lots of toys at tack shops that you can take advantage of. A slow feeder/treat dispenser can occupy a horse for horse. Some of you may even add large sized stuffed animals attached to their stall door. No matter what toys you decide on, be sure that there is no way that the horse can injure itself by playing with it. If you tie up a toy or stuffed animal, double-check that there are no loops where a horse could potential get their hoof caught in.
- Keep his mind stimulated. This would be a great time to teach him a few tricks. Many trainers like to use a clicker to train their horses. Work with him for five minutes, several times a day to teach him some simple tricks.
Stall rest doesn’t have to be a nightmare for both of you. Always check with your vet on what your horse can and cannot do. The most important thing is that your horse is comfortable in his stall while on stall rest. Having a mattress system with memory form and a waterproof topcover would be the perfect way for your horse to spend lots of time in the stall. The SmartStall™ system will make him comfortable while he recuperates in his stall!