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horse on stall rest w/ handwalking and is misbehaving- looking for ground exerciese

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  • horse on stall rest w/ handwalking and is misbehaving- looking for ground exerciese

    Hi everyone!

    My mare has been on stall rest for a month now due to a suspensory injury. It is getting re-ultrasounded in about 3 weeks. I've been able to handwalk her everyday, starting at 10 mins and working up to 25. She has been very good, really quiet in her stall and when walking, I count myself lucky that she's been so good.
    But here is my complant: we have a long paved driveway perfect for walking the recovering horse. My mare walks quite well down the driveway but then when we turn around to come back she just wants to eat grass (and also not go back into the barn). She will pull sideways to get to the grass and when I ask her to walk forward, she just stops. I have tried walking her with a dressage whip, tap her on the butt and she throws her head up and wants to back up. This gets worse once we're at the entrance to the barn, it's such a struggle to get her to go forward. And I can't say I blame her, she'd much rather be running around with her buddies outside than standing around a barn. Walking in the arena she's fine but ideally I'd like her to get some sunshine and fresh air, and the pavement is great.

    Here's my question: I'm thinking it would helo if instead of just walking back and forth, I made it like "work." I've been doing simple things like walking super slow and picking up and pace to halting to backing up a few steps.. it has her paying a bit more attention to me. Do you guys have any exercise ideas like this that I can do during our 15-20 mins of just walking? Thanks!

  • #2
    Walk halt transitions? We just walked around and around the big pasture, with lots of drugs (per the vet, for our safety) on board. Absolutely no lateral steps with the suspensory, again per my vet. Perhaps you could try 15 min of focused grazing and then try walking after she has a bit of grass on board.

    Good luck and lots of hugs-I have been there.
    RIP Mydan Mydandy+
    RIP Barichello


    • #3
      Definitely walk halt transitions when YOU ask for them. Walk on the road, and only allow grazing when you're done. Using a dressage whip is great, and if used correctly, dobbin shouldn't back up when tapped on the bum
      Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
      White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

      Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


      • #4
        Is there a reason you're not allowing him to graze a bit?


        • #5
          Since she is recuperating from an injury, is there a problem with letting her eat? I mean, she is stuck in the stall all day and there is all that grass this time of year?

          She'll move around as she grazes and get a good neck and back stretch out of it too.

          I used to hand graze mine when she was laid up..she liked it and it did absolutely no harm to her manners. Good for the brain of a lay up too.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            I agree that just giving her some time to relax and graze could solve this problem.

            With regard to keeping their minds busy when they're on stall rest, though, I've found clicker training to be FANTASTIC. It doesn't require anything out of line with a rehab program, and I've found it really engages their brain and makes them think. I don't use clicker training much, but I will definitely pull it out and teach a few tricks during rehabs


            • #7
              Ask your vet about saddle walking. I had one suspensory injury in my years as a horse owner and I was allowed to ride during the "hand" walking phase - provided I did no more than what I would have done had I actually hand walked. Both of us enjoyed it more than hand walking.

              Another horse I had absolutely had to be walked in his bridle during hand walking phases of injuries if I expected him to behave. A chain didn't work, his bit did. Don't ask me why.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I do let her graze, I get her out everyday to eat grass for about 10 mins at a time. She's a draft cross so she loves her food! The problem is all she wants to do is graze and not walk. Lately I have to make sure someone is around to help encourage her from behind to go back into the barn when we're finished grazing because she just stands there and won't move.
                I will defintely try walking her with her bridle on, that might work. It may at least get her mind into "work mode" and she may pay more attention to me. I will also ask my vet about undersaddle walking, that's a good idea. Thanks again!


                • #9
                  I always just take the horse out to graze and try to estimate the actual time walking in between. It's really good for their overall well-being to be able to relax and eat grass, in addition to getting the walk in.
                  She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!


                  • #10
                    I'm having a very similar issue, so I really appreciate the advice here. My TB gelding bowed a tendon (LF) in a pasture scuffle, and additinally received a deep laceration to the same leg. Between letting the cut heal and some set backs we've been on stall rest for about 2 months!

                    He's been getting handwalked and allowed to graze during this time, but he quite literally throws a tantrum (spinning and kicking out... thankfully not at me, just kicking out) when its time to stop eating and start walking. Its been getting really ugly the past two weeks. I tried walking with grazing breaks, and each time I take him away from the grass, he gets more and more pissy. Grumpatopamous, but I would be too if I was inside all day and unable to socialze and eat with my buddies.

                    So anyhow, thanks to those who suggested doing the walking in his bridle... I thought about it for half a second about a week ago and dismissed it, but I will try it this weekend and see how it goes.
                    I have Higher Standards... do you?
                    Apalachicola Native (Alfie), '02 TB Gelding,
                    Wild Man of Borneo (Hank), '03 Redtick coonhound,
                    Augustus McRae (Gus), '01 Bluetick coonhound


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RedHorses View Post

                      Another horse I had absolutely had to be walked in his bridle during hand walking phases of injuries if I expected him to behave. A chain didn't work, his bit did. Don't ask me why.
                      I have one of these horses. I tried the bridle on a whim one day, and lo and behold, he was a perfect gentleman while wearing the bridle!


                      • Original Poster

                        Well I haven't taken my mare outside again yet because there hasn't really been anyone at the barn with me (feel more comfortable having someone there just in case) but we've been walking in the arena everyday. Yesterday and today we walked quickly, then slowly, then grandma-paced walk, then halts, and mixed everything up and after just a few minutes of changing pace, I tossed the lead rope over her neck and my mare just followed my around. She was super! I think tomorrow I will take her out with her bridle and do the same thing.
                        Buffyblue, I do like the idea of just letting her wander and graze. As long as someone is around to help encourage her back into the barn afterwards, I think I'll do that too.
                        Thanks again everyone!


                        • #13
                          My vet recommended the addition of grazing into her hand-walks, actually. It makes your time walking her a lot longer, but that's a good thing too. Try to pick a quiet time of day and use a lead with a chain if you think she's going to resist coming back into the barn. You don't want her getting loose and undoing all the healing that's already happened.
                          She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!


                          • #14
                            For those who do try hand walking in a bridle!!! Be aware that bridle leather and stitching do not tolerate the abuse that halter leather does. Hand walking with a chain, or a chain through the mouth, as rough as it sounds, is far preferable to a trashed bridle and a loose horse.

                            Have hand walked some real hooligans!
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                            • #15
                              True merrygoround, but the point with some horses is that they don't act up while wearing the bridle. At all. Mine didn't. I used a leadrope with an extra double ended snap to attach to both bit rings, but while bridled the caprioles just didn't happen.


                              • #16
                                May allow a little grazing, getting fresh air during the 2nd round going down the drive ....but she must walk back correctly. She just knows the routine and does look forward to "jail-bed" time for next 23 hrs....

                                Is it ok to keep her out of the stall, just hanging.... That fresh air is so healthy. Also, carry a few treats to get her focus on forward.... Carrot and stick.....

                                After all, she is being good, reward Her with a little more 'out' time, if you have the time


                                • #17
                                  I have had several horses on stall rest/handwalking over the years. The walking is always much more successful if it follows a good hand-graze.
                                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"