Tips for rehabbing horses in confinement
Being stabled for long periods of time can rapidly increase levels of boredom for your horse. If left unstimulated their health can decline and they can develop behavioural issues due to stress and agitation. Some common behavioural issues caused from prolonged refinement include:
- Box walking (pictured below)
Horses are very intelligent creatures and thrive on intellectual stimulation. There are many different styles of toys, treats and slow feeders on the market to keep your horse entertained for hours on end. You can pick up a variety of toys up from you local produce or tack shop.
Horses are heard animals and rely on companionship in the wild. Having a companion horse or pony that can be put in the stable next door offers great social perks and reduces anxiety levels.
Not only do horses enjoy each others company they also enjoy spending time with their human. It is very important that you maintain a regular grooming schedule. Your horse should be groomed at least once per day. A good grooming session increases blood flow to the skin's surface, massages large muscle groups. It also strengthens your partnership and trust between one another. Grooming your horse daily gives you time to observe your horses behaviour, so that you can be alert if anything seems 'out of the ordinary'.
These are a fantastic way to allow for a longer, more continual supply of forage. Additional boredom and stress that horses may endure whilst on box rest can lead to stomach ulcers. When slow feeders are kept full, they allow the horse to graze whenever they wish, thereby encouraging the horse to eat less and still have free access to forage, preventing the horse from gorging and gaining weight. It also reduces hay wastage and stables mess.
Treat dispensing balls are a great way to stimulate your horse. If the ball is hanging from the ceiling your horse will have to play with it in order to access the treats. This is an easy and cheap way to keep your horses entertained for hours.
Studies have shown that playing calming music in the stables can encourage horses to relax. It also masks loud, out door sounds that keep horses hyper-vigilan. If you're looking for a style that fits this criteria, classical or country music played at a low volume will have a positive effect and help calm horses while they're resting, eating and being groomed.
It is important to frequently check on your stabled patient to ensure they are in no discomfort and have free access to fresh clean water and roughage. Keeping your horse stabled for prolonged duration not only causes agitation for the horse, but yourself as the owner may be experiencing worry or anxiety. Have peace of mind with our Equine Eye Camera. This way you can keep eyes on your horse around the clock and monitor their behaviour from the comfort of your home.*
This image of 'mare and foal in the stable' is sourced from Jess, one of our Equine Eye customers:
*We have a lot of people ask if the Equine Eye can be used as a stable cam - it can if your stables are close enough to your house to pick up your home wifi, but generally is designed as a horse float cam that hot spots directly to your phone.