OTTB on stall rest!! HELP!

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  • angusmum Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    Hi Everyone,

    I need a massive brainstorm on boredom busters and exercises! I have a 3 year old OTTB, unfortunately large, gelding, with a very mild bow on the right front. He is on stall rest for 4 months. He’s new to me, but seems to be fairly level headed and calm. I have ridden and kept horses for 30+ years. We are working on the art of ground manners and cross ties, which seem to be coming along quite well. I have a week by week exercise schedule for rehab, but it is meant for a finished show horse not a green kid off the track. As of about 3 weeks ago he was in training to race again. Come March, we are supposed to walk for 40 min, 4 weeks later add in 5 min trot, and then by the end of the summer slow cantering and low jumps. I know this isn’t written for my kid. I’ll of course consult with my vet and have them re-ultrasound the leg as advised, but I know many of you have dealt with OTTBs, starting them, bowed tendon injuries, stall rest, etc. So any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I want to make this as positive as possible, for both of us.

    peteandsam peteandsam
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 3

    Booooo stall rest 🙁 my horse just came off 4.5 months, so i feel your pain. Is it warm where you are? if it is, grass is going to be a lifesaver. My horse was out of his mind hand walking, so we spent a lot of time outside hand grazing. he was calmer this way. My horse’s favorite toy was a milk carton with some grain in it hanging in his stall. I put it close to his feed bin so he figured out how to get the bits of grain to fall into the bucket instead of onto the floor. I also used the time to teach him how to do some carrot stretches and how to “smile.” anything that made him use his brain helped. And honestly, dont be afraid to use drugs. My horse was super quiet and level headed, but on stall rest he was borderline dangerous and had panic attacks in his stall. we put him on reserpine and he was much happier. good luck 🙂

    3 Phases, 2 Hearts, 1 Passion. Eventing.

    angusmum Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    Thanks so much! Those are exactly the types of advice and tips I need. It sounds like you have been where I am! I have already hung a version of the milk jug over his corner grain feeder to bop around for plain oats. I tried some hand grazing, but he wasn’t that keen. I have had him less than 1 week, so the great suburban outdoors is still sooooo scaaaaary. Hand walking on garbage day was fun. The walking is getting better, and I hope he continues to wind down. Your advice about drugs or calming supplements is also good. I’ve had abused horses in the past, and once I got them on some calming supplements it really helped, and for such a big green horse, safety is totally a priority. I have fears of him starting weaving or cribbing to deal with anxiety. I have a cribber, so that is not a deal breaker for me, but if I can prevent it, I would be much happier. Thanks again for your tips and advice.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 5

    My two top suggestions would be
    1. Linda Tellington-Jones body work (books available at libraries or stores and she has a website)

    2. Clicker training – backing, vertical & lateral flexion, side passing, lowering head, accepting bit, head down, pick up feet, etc. Lots of books available on what/how/when to use clicker training.
    My mare loved to use her hoof to play a child’s toy piano, blow into toy musical instruments, and play with jingle bells on a hay string. She liked to push a ball with her nose back to me, or lightly nudge a ball to me.

    And the usual suggestions:
    Try feeding smaller meals more frequently – several hay nets safely placed or slow feeder (wooden box type)
    Treat dispenser
    Central stall so your horse can be (see) in the middle of barn activities – open door & put up escape guard so he can really hang out with you
    More grooming time
    Jolly ball, tether balls, hanging stuffed toys (if your horse won’t tear them apart)
    Jug tied up safely so they can nose it and dispense their own horse treats or grain
    Baby rings on a rubber stall guard to push back and forth
    Himalayan Rock Salt on a rope
    Cut up favorite fruits and vegetables and hide them in the hay
    Horse safe mirror

    Hope he heals well! Have fun and enjoy the extra time you get to spend with him.

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