Having a horse on box rest can be extremely stressful for both horse and owner. It usually involves more cost through bedding and more time spent mucking out. It can be especially difficult if the horse was fit and in full work and injury has caused them to be on box rest. One minute they are being worked hard every day and the next they are asked to stand in a stable for 24 hours a day. It is therefore no wonder that some horses don’t settle straight away.
Top Feeding Tips
- If your horse was in hard work, they have probably been on a high starch diet. Substituting this with a high fibre, low protein diet will maintain good digestive health, whilst prolonging ‘chewing’ time, thus helping to keep the horse occupied and reduce the risk of stable vices forming.
- To help prolong fibre digestion, try double or triple netting your hay so the horse needs to work harder and takes longer over his fibre intake.
- Soaking hay to reduce the calorie content means not having to limit the amount of fibre fed. Hay may be soaked for several hours to reduce the soluble carbohydrate content and therefore the calories.
- Horse treats such as swedes can be hung from the ceiling and apples floating in water can also help to keep your horse occupied.
Recommended Blue Chip Products
Whilst your horse is on box rest it is recommended to feed a good quality horse feed balancer such as Blue Chip Original feed balancer, which contains the optimum level of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, many of which are in a bio-available organic form. Along with a comprehensive hoof and respiratory formula, Blue Chip Original feed balancer contains 17% more probiotic than any other feed balancer on the market. This EU – approved probiotic will help the beneficial bacteria in the gut to thrive, helping to improve any digestive upsets.
Some horses can quickly gain weight whilst on box rest if their feed isn’t monitored carefully. Should you find you horse is gaining too much weight, swap to a low calorie, low sugar, low starch horse diet feed balancer, such as Blue Chip Lami-light. This will ensure your horse is still getting the essential vitamins and mineral needed without encouraging weight gain.
When a horse is on box rest the recommended feeding amount for the horse can be reduced by 100g per day. For example, if the horse normally has 500g per day, this can be reduced to 400g per day to take into account that the horse is on box rest and doesn’t require as much feed.
Most horses may need a calmer whilst on box rest to help keep them relaxed whilst being stabled for long periods. Feed a natural horse calmer such as Blue Chip Karma, which includes a superior water soluble form of magnesium that can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Along with the generous levels of magnesium, Karma contains L-tryptophan, which is one of the building blocks for the production of serotonin, a hormone produced in the brain that helps to keep the horse in a settled and relaxed state.