One of our ponies suffered a terrible flesh wound on her leg whilst in the field and has been on box rest for 5 weeks, with another 4 to go (hopefully!) She’s allowed a little walk morning and night but most aren’t that lucky to get a proper leg stretch and enjoy some fresh air. We spoke to Clare Barfoot, Registered Equine Nutritionist, at WINERGY to ensure our pony’s diet and respiratory health were at the optimum level whilst being stabled,
A high fibre diet is key to maintaining digestive health and for horses on box rest or during recovery, forage should account for 70-100% of diet. Wherever possible, ad-lib forage is ideal. However, for good-doers it may be necessary to restrict forage intake to prevent excess weight gain. If this is the case, restrictions should not be made to less than 1.5% of the horse’s bodyweight (7-8 kg for a 500 kg horse).
A balanced diet is essential for any horse and for those able to maintain weight on forage alone, a balancer is the ideal way to ensure optimum nutrition without excess calories. Balancers also include essential antioxidants such as vitamin E, C and selenium, which may be useful in reducing oxidative damage which can occur with inflammation at the site of an injury.
For many horses, inactivity reduces energy requirements and therefore a low energy, maintenance diet is sufficient. Select feeds high in fibre and low in starch to help maintain digestive health and prevent excitability.
Every stabled horse is at risk of lung irritation and with this in mind, box rest can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO), formerly known as COPD. We’ve been adding Winergy Ventil-ate (available in 2.8kg and 8.4kg tub sizes) to her feed, which includes a blend of plant derived antioxidants from broccoli and spinach alongside high levels of vitamin C and E. The form of vitamin C has been proven to increase the level found in the lung lining fluid. It also contains garlic, rosemary, nutmeg and grapeseed oil all traditionally used to support lung health.
For specific advice on feeding your horse or pony on box rest or during recovery please call the WINERGY® Care-Line on 01908 576 277.