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Stall Rest and the Stall Walking Horse?

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  • Stall Rest and the Stall Walking Horse?

    I posted another thread about my mare's suspensory injury. As a result of this she is going to be on stall rest for a while.

    Luckily for me she is being a very good patient so far. She is fine with being in the barn alone and I've been keeping her occupied with unlimited hay as well as hay cubes twice a day.

    She also has a dutch door where she can look out and see the other horses in the field.

    Under normal circumstances she walks her stall a bit when she is in. Which is why I keep her turned out as much as possible.

    However, now that she is in all the time she is trashing the stall like crazy. To the point I am having to practically strip it every night.

    She walks in a big circle so much that you can see the track down to the stall mats. This also pushes all the bedding against the walls/in the corners, and grinds the manure to tiny bits.

    She's not acting stressed, screaming for the other horses, or running in circles - she just takes a mouthfull of hay and walks slowly around the stall while she's chewing. Then rinse and repeat.

    Two things about this bother me:
    1. I don't think it's great for the leg that is injured.
    2. It's going to cost me an arm and a leg (plus my sanity) to keep having to strip and replace bedding daily. Shavings are not cheap this year!

    Is there anything you have tried for this issue that works? Should I rearrange things in the stall? Use different bedding? Tie her to the wall? (just kidding! )


  • #2
    I feel your frustration.
    I have a resting horse at present too.
    And really I honestly ask myself if boxrest is good for some but not at all helpful to others.
    When boxed, he's walking circles, spinning on his hinds, restless etc., like you say what good does that do.
    Instead I put him in a small paddock and as long as the paddock has grass, he's quitely grazing, no spinning on his legs, doing tight circles etc. Imo way more healing vs when stalled walking circles.

    Whilst for some injuries I know boxrest is the norm, I still question how much more damaging small paddock rest truly is provided the horse stays quiet.


    • #3
      Mine was stall walking for a bit when he got put on stall rest (for a suspensory issue as well). I put him on SmartCalm Ultra pellets and he's been very good. However, before I tried that route, I did discuss his stall walking with my vets and they suggested building him a small (12'x24') paddock so he wouldn't end up hurting himself in his stall. I never ended up doing that since he calmed down, though in hindsight it would have been beneficial anyway since he's displaying complications from DJD from the stall rest

      I would watch her weight on the unlimited hay--my guy is definitely gaining on stall rest. Something like a small-hole hay feeder would make the hay last longer without stuffing her belly on the stall rest.

      I would also see if she's interested in toys. I hung some in my pony's stall and he played with them for a minute and then looked at me like I was stupid. However, I can see how they might be beneficial for some horses!

      Best of luck with your mare's recovery.
      "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


      • #4
        Communicate with your vet about this. If quiet stall rest is required, your vet may want to put your horse on a long acting tranquilizer.

        A small paddock will only work if the horse will stay quiet while outside.

        Layups tend to do better if there are other horses or companion animals in stalls next to them that they can see.

        Some people place their horses in layup barns because there are other layed up horses that are inside 24/7, and with all the care activity going on around them, the horse has activity to help keep it's mind occupied.

        Suspensory injuries tend to heal best when the tendon is under minimal use and strain.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks everyone!

          I actually do have the means to make a small grass paddock but I am waiting until the vet comes next week to discuss with her and get approval.

          My mare is being extremely quiet about the whole thing. She's not spinning or jumping up and down - just slowly circling while she eats (and destroying the stall).

          I was actually thinking about hanging a hay net outside the dutch door (like racing barns do). I'm not sure about stall toys - she's a pretty mellow (late teens) girl and doesn't seem impressed with anything but food.

          And I hope she DOES gain weight with all the extra food. She's a hard keep and still has not gained everything back from when she got sick over the winter.


          • #6


            • #7
              My horse was way quieter in an outdoor stall. You could try a 14x14 outside paddock or tiny paddock.


              • #8
                Oh, I hear you! My horse was on stall / paddock rest for a few weeks... she went into season right when I brought her in, and proceeded to DESTROY her stall nighly.

                Same as yours, she wasn't frantic, or hurting herself, she was just making SUCH A MESS Seriously, I wanted to cry when I came to clear her stall every evening.

                Like you, I was basically having to totally strip her stall every night, not only was it a ton of work, but I can't afford $14 a day in shavings!!

                Any way, I found that pellets worked better then shavings when it came to absorbing, and picking super ground up manure. I wouldn't wet the pellets, just put them in there dry, she would wet them for me

                The smaller particles of the pellets, along with one of those fine tooth forks made cleaning the stall a bit easier. Cleaning twice a day helped as well (finally BO took pitty on me and picked the stall a few times a day which helped a lot!! (poop wasn't laying around enough to get so trampled).

                Good luck!
                APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                • #9
                  Busy Snacker. http://www.busyhorse.com/busysnacker.html

                  It saved my horse when he was on 3 months of stall rest. He had to really work to get the hay out and he could not tear it up no matter how hard he tried. I also drove out twice/day and meticulously cleaned out his stall and hand grazed him, as long as I kept him right outside the barn without walking too much.

                  That was after surgery for ocd lesions on both stifles. Don't even ask me what we did after he tore (and then retore) his suspensory.


                  • #10
                    ace first. yes, stall walking is not good for the injured horse. Also, it represents a worried horse which can cause ulcers. Talk to your vet about an ace dosage per day.
                    If the ace is not doing the job, ask your vet about reserpine. But I'd go there second.
                    Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Balls are helpful too.
                    "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."


                    • #11
                      You could try straw bedding. It is a lot cheaper and it isn't too hard to clean.


                      • #12
                        Do they sell the super fine shavings where you are at? It's called "mini flake" or "quick pick" out here. If the horse is trampling her poop into small pieces, it's much easier to pick out the poop using the mini flake and you don't waste much of it. I find it doesn't absorb urine as well as regular shavings though but it won't create a puddle or anything if you bed the mini flake pretty well. As for pushing the shavings aside, it happens. My horse doesn't stall walk that much but every day I find his shavings pushed aside along the walls. I always figure he did this when he rolled. Every day I just rake them back in the middle and it's not that big of a deal. However I am very OCD when it comes to cleaning his stall so I know just how much it sucks when the poop is trampled into small pieces. My horse does this to his poop as well and rolls on it and pushes shavings over the poop piles so they are hidden. I spend so much time cleaning his stall, but I definitely don't waste as much shavings using the mini flake when sifting through the trampled poop.

                        My horse is currently on a stall rest right now too. It sucks!
                        Owned by an Oldenburg