By Lizzie Hopkinson
It is very difficult when our horses are on box rest. One of the main things I notice about getting older, is that time goes much more quickly. Six weeks as a child was an incredibly long period of time, and I remember the days passing in agonising slowness while my pony was on box rest. Nowadays, as an adult, I can cope better with periods of difficulty.
The first step is acceptance. There is no point raging about whatever happened to get you to this point, nor wishing it hadn’t happened. The quicker we accept our position the quicker we can adapt to our new scenario and find solutions to the problems that will inevitably arise.
For example, if your horse is on box rest and needs trickle feeding during the day, while you are at work. Consider different options, ask around your yard, someone may do you a favour in return for something else. There may be someone you can pay to pop in and look after your horse. If you are too busy being angry about your situation you won’t manage to find a solution.
Make the best of it. You might love riding your horse best of all, but time spent walking out with him, massaging or grooming him is all part of the relationship that we build with our horses. You never know it may strengthen your relationship with him. If you aren’t confident with massaging your horse, take this opportunity to learn a new skill. Horse Massage for Horse Owners book and DVD was produced for people who wanted help learning to massage their horses. Just walking with your horse even for 10 minutes will have a beneficial effect on fitness, your horse’s and yours!
Time will pass. Annoying but true. Don’t think about 6 weeks of box rest, just tackle one day at a time, or one week at a time. As with many things, breaking the challenge down into bite sized chunks will help us to deal with it. A day on box rest is far less daunting than 6 weeks, and before you know those days stack up into weeks and weeks into months. Time is a great healer, and time does always pass, and as long as you follow the advice of the professionals that you trust to care for your horse, your period of inactivity will pass and soon you will be able to ride again. Take the time to do stretches and mobilisation with your horse which will help his core strength. This will help him out when you start riding him again. And spend some time concentrating on your core strength so that you can hold yourself up when you get back on, which will help your horse out while he is getting fit again. Just remember to bring your horse back into work gradually, so that you don’t end up back at square one!
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