Thursday 10th of June 2021

Optimising your horse’s health whilst on box rest

Hearing the words “Box Rest” brings a sense of dread and disappointment as you come to terms with your Precious One turning in to a complete loon on their rest period.

Once the words have sunk in, there are important factors to think about to ensure your horse’s optimum wellbeing during recovery.


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.


We have also been using Absorbine’s HOOFLEX Frog & Sole Care, which helps soothe the hoof and eliminates odours caused by bacteria and fungi. The clear liquid formula penetrates the frog and sole tissue and will not sting, stain, or dry the hoof.  It helps promote normal healing and does not kill live tissue. 355ml Squeeze Bottle. RRP (Inc. VAT) £14.42

In order to support the optimum circulation in our pony’s legs, we have been using Back on Track’s Scandic PK Leg Wraps, which feature their unique Welltex® fabric lining with infused ceramic particles that reflect infrared waves. The specially ribbed fabric allows a snug fit without bulkiness and the stretchable terry outer ensures a simple application and helps avoid slippage whilst bandaging. The Scandic Pads are produced in various sizes and are ideal for exercise, transport or box rest and now come in White as well as Black and are sold in pairs. Sizes: 30 x 40cm, 40 x 40cm, 50 x 50cm. RRP (Inc. VAT) £60.00

If, like us, you are counting down the days until the vet gives your horse the green light, we have every sympathy. We wish your horse a speedy recovery and very much hope you are both out having fun again soon.

Take a look at our pick of toys and licks to provide relief from boredom during box rest HERE

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