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wild_spot 08-26-2012 06:02 AM

Putting a pastured horse on to 24/7 stall rest?
Some might know, I am currently in another state working and my gelding back home has torn his DDFT. The ultrasound showed it was already begginning to heal, and he was only showing minimal swelling and intermittent lameness. We have no stall facilities so we decided to try and see how he went on just paddock rest. We split him out of the group and put him with my quiet mare in an adjacent paddock, and according to my dad it was all going as well as could be expected.

However I got a call from my best friend today who keeps her horses with mine - He is going downhill. The swelling is increasing and his lamness is quite noticeable at the trot. Basically I don't think I have any option but to look for somewhere to get him on stall rest.

I have had him 11 years and he has been a pasture horse that entire time. When we compete, if he is stalled for two nights or more, he starts to stock up.

How do I transition him into, and manage him (Well, advise he be managed) on stall rest? He is going to hate it, poor fella, and because we don't have stalls he is going to have to move somwhere away from all his mates as well.

Feed wise, I have never had to deal with feeding a horse that wasn't on grass. He is a fatty on grass so is minimaly fed. I assume the best bet would be meadow/grass hay in a slow feeder haynet or similar so he is digesting something all the time, and then a concentrate to top up his vits/mins? If he is normally a good doer, would you guess a ration balancer would be sufficient or is the loss of 24/7 grazing that big a deal that I will have to supplement some fat as well?

Legs wise, what is the best way to manage stocking up in the long term? This is going to be at least two months. When he first was diagnosed I bought him the back on track quick wraps to try and combat the swelling. Dad wasn't to enthused and said they kept slipping down, but they were on in thr paddock so it may be different in a stall. I could get another pair so he has them for all four feet, I guess this would be less labour intensive on the carer than full wraps?

Mentally - I am resigned that he is probably going to be bored out of his brain and a bit loopy. Any good toys anyone can suggest that don't involve huge amounts of sugar?

Also, I have never ever had to hand the care of any of my horses over to someone else, let alone when I won't be there to inspect the facility. Luckily the horse area at home is pretty close knit and most agistment places either have a good rep or don't; However what sort of questions do I need to ask? What are some common things that go wrong with this kind of situation?

Any help greatly appreciated, it SUCKS having to try and deal with this from far away.

walkinthewalk 08-26-2012 08:19 AM

Turning him in the paddock, with a babysitter, was the best approach IMHO:-)

BUT my question: Has anyone been poulticing wrapping the leg???

Due to a really bad trim by a well-schooled and expensive farrier, I am currently nursing my foundered horse back to health from torn ligaments and sesamoiditis in both front legs.

He comes in at night to a stall with mats and shavings.

He goes out every day in the half acre side yard, beside the barn, with my 26 yo Arab who, like your mare, is a great babysitter.

I wash, clay poultice and wrap his front legs twice a day. After the clay poultice goes on, I vet wrap, then quilt, then put the standing leg wraps on.

He also wears trail riding boots, with home made Lily pads in them, ALL DAY while he's outside. The boots & pads were originally for bringing relief from the founder but it seems they have also served to help reduce stress on the torn ligaments.

He has made progress since all this happened on July 19th but it has been grueling/cumbersome/time consuming/frustrating work. And it will continue until "Who Knows When"

He does not have any swelling or heat in his legs. The lumps in his fetlock joints were double the size of a golf ball but already have reduced by about 50%; they do have some heat in them but nothing like before.

I said all that to say, if your horse isn't at least being wrapped every day, that might be why he's not healing like he should be --- there's nothing being done to help relieve the pressure of 1,000 pounds walking around on those damaged tendons.

My vet is a leg specialist and death against stall rest, except under the most life-threatening of conditions but, the horse needs a lot closer monitoring and attention when they're not on stall rest.

If whomever is watching your horse does not have that kind of time, it puts the horse in the predicament of really extending the healing time and perhaps never healing up to 100%:-(

I am so sorry you are so far away and have to depend on others. As far as what can go wrong in the new situation? They won't watch him close enough, until the day comes that he is REALLY three-legged-lame and somebody casually says "ohhh, I think we should call the owner----".

Getting back to your horses original set up at your parents' home:

The horse would need two sets of standing leg wraps, two pairs of leg quilts and, if only one leg is involved, probably one roll of vet wrap would last two days. Plus the clay poultice.

IF your parents were willing to spend the $$$ on those supplies, is it possible your best friend (whose horse is at your parents) might be willing to wash his legs, poultice and wrap him every day?

It's supposed to be done twice daily but maybe that could be stretched to once a day if you use the "Sore-No-More" with arnica. I put it on my arthritis hands and wrap them with vet wrap when it's time to trim my horses.

Sore-No-More isn't at all offensive and won't burn the horse's skin.

And, last but not least, it would go without saying: ask the vet's opinion on all that first; I'm just sayin' what my vet told me to do:-)

After I've said all that, I am waiting for you to come and say he IS already being poultice and wrapped. To which my reply would be the vet really needs to see him:?

Whatever decision is made, good luck for a healthy outcome:-)

natisha 08-26-2012 09:23 AM

Try to find a barn that has horses kept in a lot if not all the time. Many show barns are like that or a rehab facility. Even stall sized outside pens would do & may even be better. He'll do best transitioning to stall living if other horses stay in too & he can see them & activities going on.
As you're not there find a friend or hire someone to over see his care to your vets instructions. Ask for frequent updates including pictures.

I had a horse on almost 9 months of stall rest. She was at a Saddlebred show barn & though she was used to going out she did fine. We opened her stall into the end of an aisle which we blocked off. We put down mats in the aisle & she stood there with a hay bag, watching the goings-on. Full recovery.
Good luck, I know it's not easy.

wild_spot 08-26-2012 05:42 PM

Unfortunately no he isn't being wrapped and poulticed. If I were there then that is what I would be doing, but my dad isn't a horsey person except for through me, and the two others who have horses with him aren't experienced in wrapping at all. My compromise was to buy the quick wraps, however as Ientipned dad said they have been slipping down so I don't think they have been on every night like I wanted. Dad is fantastic with the horses and loves this horse to death but he is getting old and is a very stuck in his ways farmer, and has a habit of playing things down and 'she'll be right' - hence why I think gettin him somewhere where I am paying for his care by a professional might be a better option.

I sent off an email last night to two places nearby who do full board. I have met both owners and as far as I know they have good reputations. I'll see what they say.

I would love to keep him at home with his friends, I just don't think he will get the care ge really needs until I get home in the start of November. Once I get home, we have a yard with a shelter attached that he could come into at night and out again with Lucy during the day. That isn't an option now though as it is winter and the yard is just mud, and the fences weren't made for permanent living so I would need to upgrade them. If I were home that would be a good solution I think.
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Chevaux 08-26-2012 06:13 PM

Wild Spot, this is what I can add to the conversation (if it helps at all and gives you another option):

I had a OTTB. He was retired by his former owners (neighbours across the road from me - excellent people - gave him to me) because he injured a tendon during one of his races. He was to have stall and paddock rest. However, since his friends were out in the pasture, he paced and fussed constantly and was putting way too much stress on the leg. So, his owners turned him out in the pasture. After he got back into the pasture with his buddies, he plodded along behind the herd at his own speed and didn't over exert himself. He eventually healed to be good for me to use for trail riding.

So, I guess, the moral of this story is that if you think he'll be happier and quiet, and the herd is a civil group, he may do all right if he's in the pasture.

wild_spot 08-26-2012 07:26 PM

Thanks for your story. That was my hope, that separated from the bullies and in with my mare who is generally quiet he would take it easy. However for whatever reason he is gettig worse in this set up :( I don't know if it is just the lack of actual care (I.e No wrapping/poulticeing) or if it is the paddock rest itself. If I was home I would be wrapping him twice a day and keeping him in the paddock to see if he improved, but I just think its too much to ask my friends or dad to do. I might advertise and see of I can find someone I can pay to come out and feed, poultice and wrap him even once a day.
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Chevaux 08-26-2012 07:34 PM

Best of luck to you. Keep us updated.

wild_spot 08-27-2012 12:23 AM

I received an email back from one of the boarding facilities. This place is amazing, absolutely beautiful. The owner is a dressage rider who has been running boarding places in the area for a log time.

Hi Lauren,

Yes we can accommodate this style of agistment.

Our normal full board rate is $33 / day.

Given your horse would be here for a while and you would not be using the facilities as such we could do it for $26 / day inclusive of GST.

This would include full stable cleaning and feed. Rugging and un rugging as necessary.
I do have slightly larger mare and foal size boxes which are good for the rehab horses.

We have brought back a few of these injuries with success. I had an eventer that did a grade 4 tendon. He came back after 12 months box rest into a rehab program for a further 6 months. He was competing back it his old level 2 years after the injury. Never had a problem with the leg since.

Another one completely severed it's tendon and tendon sheath. It was in a cast for 12 months and again rehabbed back to full work and was competing at the 18 month time frame.

With rehab work we used a walker extensively to gradually build up strength.

Unfortunately you have to be cruel to be kind and having them boxed for so long drives everyone mad but it is necessary to ensure a full recovery.

Call if you wish to discuss


I took out the names obviously. Does this sound ok to you more experienced boarders? If I think it might suit I will send my dad and best mate out to have a look at the place and ask any more questions before I make a decision. $700+ a month, seriously going to put a dent in my savings lol! Oh well.
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Chevaux 08-27-2012 12:38 AM

Who handles nursing the leg?

wild_spot 08-27-2012 09:15 PM

This is the reply from the above place re. Care for the leg.

Good morning Lauren,

We can do some level of care, eg wrapping and unwrapping of bandages, poultice etc. As you can appreciate that takes time, hence there would be a charge.

I would need an idea of frequency with regards to additional care. Also specifically what style of bandaging your after. Whether is a straight compression style using bandages or if it is still cotton wool and Elastoplast given it's early stage. In the past we have stretched the time out between Elastoplast changes to every 3rd or 4th day. Basically it can be tailored to suit you and your vet.

Feed: Most horses here get Lucerne hay, and a hard feed consisting of Ambos pellets (14% or 18% depending on the horse) Lucerne Chaff and Oaten or wheaten chaff is also mixed through. Any additional supplements must be provided by the owner. We basically have a big shelf with everyone's additives on it and add them at their request. '
Your father is more than welcome to come and have a look this weekend. If he gives me a call on the day I will make sure I am available to show him the facilities and the box we have in mind.

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