On box rest your horse will obviously be much less active and will, therefore, use far less energy. Challenges presented by box rest include the lack of movement. Moving around naturally encourages bowel movements, whereas standing still for prolonged periods of time can increase the risk of problems such as colic due to gas build-up or digestive impactions.

Maintaining a slow and gradual intake of food over the day is important for digestive health. Prolonged periods without food can lead to problems such as gastric ulcers or colic.

All concentrated feed should be fed wet/soaked and daily intake should be split into several meals throughout the day rather than one large meal morning and night.

Reducing or removing cereal-based feeds from the diet straight away and increasing the amount of fibre that is fed is very important.

Regular walks out to grass if it is safe for both you and your horse to do so – Grass is both easier to digest and has a much higher water content than hay or haylage, so taking a horse off grass suddenly and replacing this with hay or haylage means you increase the amount of indigestible fibre in their diet.

Adding in chopped fibre feeds which are based on grass, or supplying your horse with freshly picked grass each day can help to ease the transition from grazing to box rest.

To make up for the lost water intake, wetting the hay and providing plenty of fresh water is very important to help prevent further problems such as impaction colic.

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