Stall Rest = Equine Jail
By John J. Hanover, DVM
All too often an injury or surgery requires a horse to be put on
“stall rest” to promote healing and/or prevent further damage.
Horses were designed to be herd animals while walking and grazing
for 20 hours a day. It should be no surprise the stress and problems
stall rest can lead to.
Vices, such as cribbing and stall weaving may develop to relieve
boredom. The lack of exercise can lead to circulation problems
(swollen legs and poor blood flow to the hooves), digestive problems
(colic), and weight gain. Some horses build up so much energy they
“explode” in the stall or when taken out for a walk.
Here are some tips to help:
- Reduce their feed, especially “hot” grains, and control
- Feed hay in a net or manger to slow down their eating. This
helps prevent boredom, weight gain and colic.
- Provide extra bedding and water.
- Monitor the ventilation and temperature.
- Supply toys or a pet, such as a goat, to keep them busy.
- Rotate other horses to stay in for company.
- Take them for many walks daily if allowed.
- Use leg wraps and products (oral and topical) to help with
- Consider calming agents, such as essential oils, herbs,
Stress Busters cookies, and drugs if needed.
This tip was brought to you by John J. Hanover, DVM and KAM
Animal Services, home of Cookies with a Clue, the cookie that's
really a supplement with all the ingredients your horse needs to
stay happy and healthy. Chubbies are the perfect daily addition for
the overweight horse. Check them out at
For more information on essential oils to reduce stress, such as
Peace & Calming, Valerian, and Lavender, please visit