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Your best box rest tips

Discussion in 'Ringside Chat' started by Mary Poppins, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    I am preparing for at least 3 months box rest with Ben and wondered if anyone has got any tips?

    He is moving into a new stable on a different part of the yard where he will have company for most of the day, and at least 8 other horses at night. He can also see out to his normal turnout field.

    He will have a shavings bed with rubber matting. I plan to skip out in the mornings and then do a full muck out each evening. He will have hay 3 times a day and a small feed morning and evening.

    In the first 2 weeks he must not leave his stable at alI. I am not sure yet if he will have to be cross tied, I hope not. What can I do to keep him occupied? Obviously grooming and spending time with him. I don’t want to try a treat ball initially as he has to stay as still as possible. How an Earth do you keep a horse still and happy for 2 weeks?
     
  2. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    None of my 3 do box rest but just in case it helps my OH tells me that in the army horse barracks they leave the radio on for the horses to keep them contented
     
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  3. chunky monkey

    chunky monkey Well-Known Member

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    Yes radio is a good idea. I actually have a radio on all the time in my sheep and cow shed.
    If he's not supposed to move would the vets not supply some form of sedation or calmer that you could add to his feed to make him a little drowsy.
    Rather than a treat ball which I agree would make him move about. Could you fix something stationery to the wall. Thinking about swede. Also a fixed lick. Full of sugar but mine love horselyx. You can get a fixture to attach to the wall to stand them in. In your position i would rather they had a stationary lick full of sugar. Than fret and pace in a stable.
     
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  5. Flipo's Mum

    Flipo's Mum Heavy owner of a Heavy

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    Yup radio definitely. I got a wee dab one for £10 off eBay which was the bomb!
    Rubber mats and shavings should definitely keep things easier to manage for your time as well and his comfort. I ended up getting a largish trug tub and a poop scoop set which made skipping out in the morning really easy rather than karting a wheel barrow about.
    If and when you can give him a treat ball, I pushed back the shavings bed during the day but left a channel down one side for pee and poo so that he could play with the ball. Treats were those baileys high fibre cubes. Suitable for laminitics.
    Apple juice in water trough and watery fast fibre for tea as flipo refused to drink and was hardly eating for the first couple of weeks and there was a risk of colic with him stood still too much.
    I tried every food possible and had him on sugar beet and treacle as well as horselyx. I also hid those grass blocks in his hay which he loved and carrots and apples in his hay as well. All weight management stuff went out the window in the first month because he was so depressed after two weeks at the vet hospital.
    Alternative to a treat ball when he’s able, is a football in a haynet and lace carrots through the net and hang it from the roof. Flipo loved this and could stand in one position for ages ducking and pushing it around trying to get st them. He hardy moved and that was important for him with his injury to his hoof.
    Other than that I guess at the start it will be very important to keep him in a routine. I think this is what saved flipo from going mental. When you can get him out in hand, i wasn’t told not to do this unless the weather was completely dry but I quickly learned that I had to do it rain or shine twice a day. He lived for those in hand grazing sessions. Initially he was on bridle and lunge line but towards the end he went out without head collar and walked back in himself as he knew what it was all about.
    I think the other thing you need to remember is whatever the vets advise, it will probably be the most perfect of scenarios. Sometimes we can’t fulfill everything the vets instruct. I was told to keep flipo’s wound clean and open to the air. Within 24hrs we realised that wasn’t going to be possible as shavings got into the wound and were difficult to extract. I wasn’t allowed a straw bed as it was too dusty so my solution was to make him wear tights.
    I made him a boot for going out in bad weather and eventually we had a small pen in a field for our grazing sessions.

    When we settled into our routine it looked something like this -
    6.30am - headcoller on, out for grass
    7am - back in, feed (made up previous night) and the incentive to return to the stable, while he ate, skip out. Pull up bed, treat ball in, radio in, leave him to it.
    6pm - headcollar on, out for grass
    7pm - back in, feed, skip out, clean out wound (always a fight with this one), pull bed back down, add football in haynet, make up feeds etc for next day, radio off and lights out.
    Flipo was on his own during the day but lucky to have next door neighbours at night. I was knackered by the end of 7 months but it was worth it. We had some ups and downs but we got through it and so will you.
     
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  6. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    During the day the radio is on in the barn but it goes off at night. In the horse barracks is it on all the time? I could buy a small radio to put into his stable if that would help.
     
  7. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    Sugar is a big no for him unfortunately. I would quite literally give him anything to keep him happy (this reminds me of when my son was in hospital and he had jelly and coco pops mixed together for dinner!). I did buy a swede yesterday but need to think about how to attach it to the wall.

    The surgeon didn’t mention giving him any kind of sedation but I will ask about it. He does get very strong and bolshy on box rest. After 2 weeks if all goes well, he can start to be walked in hand for 5 minutes per day gradually building up. I am not sure if in addition to 5 minutes walking he is allowed to have some in-hand grazing as well. There are lots of questions I still need to ask. Thanks for your advice.
     
  8. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much, it is great to hear from someone who has gone through it all before me.

    As I have kids to get to school I will have to get to the yard by 5.30am every day to skip out and check him. Last time he was on box rest he colicked on the 3rd day as he wouldn’t touch his water. I tried everything to make him drink with very little success. I am going to try to get a metal water bucket to see if this makes the water more like his field. He has wet hay and has a wet sloppy feed with speedibeat already.

    I will then pop by at lunchtime to feed more hay and give him a good groom, and then come back about 7pm for night time hay and more mucking out. It is going to cost a fortune in bedding which I hadn’t considered. Plus petrol I guess.

    I will have to learn to care for his dressings. They said they will show me this in the hospital.

    I agree routine is important for everyone. I have kids, schoolruns, work and a college course to juggle around him. Life is going to be busy for the next few months for sure! He will definitely be happier when he can grass walk but he gets so strong and pulls me everywhere. I will have huge arm muscles at the end of all this!

    Thanks for the advice, it is really helpful and something I will refer back to.
     
  9. mystiquemalaika

    mystiquemalaika Well-Known Member

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    Chamomile or valerian can help some horses stay quieter. Obviously doesn't work for all but I've had success with both over the years with different horses.

    3 leadropes plaited and hung with carrots, pieces of grass, hay etc wedged in the plait make a great horse kebab.

    A mirror can help some horses, if he has company all the time not an issue.

    Hiding grass/carrots through haynets.

    Flipos mum has given great advice. Once in a routine I find they do adjust and often surprise us with how well they cope.

    Good luck with it all.
     
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  10. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    Bo spent 3 months on box rest for his stifle and he was not the calm happy-to-be-in type, apple bobbing in his water bucket used to keep him amused for ages, and I would hide carrots in his hay nets, I also left a radio on for him and used a few hay nets with different size holes to keep him busy. He escaped twice (limbo'd under his stall-guard while I was pottering about) and perfected canter pirouettes in the stable once he felt better, I found giving him chamomile tea just as effective at keeping him calm as the ACP the vets had me giving him (30 twice a day!). Even with the less than perfect box rest he only did 3 months box rest when we were expecting 6 months, we were lucky.

    If I had to do it again now I would definitely invest in a stable mirror having seen how much my friends horse used hers when she was on box rest. When Jess was confined she really appreciated getting bunches of branches to pick leaves off of, I also gave her a whole lettuce in a bucket to roll around and munch.
     
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  11. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    Mirrors work too apparantly for making them feel like they've got company.
    will check with my OH ref radio times;)
     
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  12. Silvia

    Silvia Active Member

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    You could also start doing clicker Training with him to give him something to think about. There are many tricks that can be done without moving much. Like teaching them to touch a target, shake their head yes or no, kick a ball back with their nose... It might even help with leading him once he is allowed out for a walk
     
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  13. Skib

    Skib Well-Known Member

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    Enlist a second person or several other people to visit and groom. During the periods when you are not there. I helped out on a livery yard where people sent valuable competition horses for box rest, and one of my jobs was to go into the box and give an extra groom in the afternoon - not for grooming purposes, more social company and talking to the horse. But I did walk round the horse, and if necessary ask them to step away from the door. So I could go in and out safely. I am not sure how stationary you need them. When maisie was on box rest I visited her too - You dont have to feed them or groom. Just talk and be there.
     
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  14. Cortrasna

    Cortrasna Grumpy old nag

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    It might be worth trying getting the water for him from the actual water container in his field...sounds mad especially if it is water from the same source as you are giving him fresh in his stable. when Solly was on box rest he stopped drinking until my brother suggested just scooping a bucket of water out of the field trough for him - that worked a treat, his theory is they are just so generally peed off that they refuse anything that doens't remotely smell like what they are used to and I guess water sitting outside in a tub probably does smell different to water straight from a tap?
     
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  15. lauren123

    lauren123 Well-Known Member

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    Ahh box rest!!!
    We found having routine to be massive help.
    Bresking up his hay ibto smaller rations so he isnt bored. Radio is a good one. Clicker training,grooming mirrors can help. Sox has the hay blocks from Equi cant remeber the name. Low is sugar so perfect for him. Also if he gets any hard feed splitting them up into as many feeds to break up the day if you can.
     
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  16. Trewsers

    Trewsers Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good advice - some of the things that are working for us are the munch blocks / forage bricks. I believe they are suitable for good doers and just have dried herbs and grass in. Storm loves them now and again and they do keep her happy. I have her on valerian cordial - the Lincoln one. She doesn't know it's in her food so it must not taste nasty! I swear it works, when I took her off it she was a lot more mareish and stressy. Anyway, sure it can't hurt.
    I find giving her tiny meals regularly helps too - we have now in our arsenal of feeds, speedi beet, healthy hooves, allen and page fast fibre, graze on, hi fi cubes.......it's the variety she enjoys. Also a tip from Horse and Rider magazine was to offer up different herbs. It might be worth having a google to see what you can safely offer, things like parsely and mint. Offer a bit and see what he likes and then sprinkle some with his feed (assuming you will be feeding to give meds?)
    Luckily for me, I work from home so every hour until about nine at night I go and do something with her, either a brush or special scratches - and skip out and just be there. She has company - I think that's so important for their heads.
    Another thing I do is go foraging for her, snippets of grass, rose hips etc. She likes to snuffle about for them, I just leave a pile on the floor where there isn't bedding.

    You will get through it, it is hard going at first - and appreciate when you have work and family commitments it is going to be tricky fitting it all in. I think skibs thoughts are similar to my own, that a bit of company - human works wonders too. Just something to alleviate boredom.
    Lick wise, I bought a pony lick, with vits and such in, nobody wants it! She won't go near it and even the Zi man who will try anything gave it up. So not sure on those!
     
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  17. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all, so many good ideas to try. I will let you know how we get on.
     
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