THE HORSE IN THE BOX
Obviously, a horse should be in the meadow as much as possible, but sometimes the box is necessary. This can be for different reasons such as immobilization following an injury, illness, reasons related to the weather... In these cases, you might as well optimize the means put in place for your welfare.
THE 3 PRIMARY NEEDS OF THE HORSE
To respect the horse's natural way of life and its welfare, 3 elements are essential:
He must have social contact
Being able to eat when he wants
Move around enough
If one of these points is not respected, it is possible that the horse will develop a malaise which can result in tics or even depression. You must therefore remain very attentive to your environment and to your behavior.
You should also know that the horse's digestive system is designed to be more efficient in movement. If it is undernourished, heartburn may develop. To meet its needs, a horse must have in addition to its rations 1 kg of hay for 100 kg of its body weight.
RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENT TICS
Tics are linked to stress or boredom. Many factors can trigger them such as frustration, lack of exit, confinement, a rapid and reduced diet, conflicts with its congeners or the presence of horses which also have tics ... The reasons are multiple but join one point: ill-being.
Some of them can be recognized as the air tic where the horse will open its mouth, contract the pharyngeal muscles and ingest or expel air with a characteristic noise. We also find the tic in the support which is similar to the tic in the air but with a horse that will lean with these upper incisors on a solid support (such as a door, feeder, etc.). The tic to the bear describes him swaying the horse from right to left, either from the head or from one front to the other.
These tics can have consequences, especially those related to the absorption of air that can promote the onset of colic. To learn more about colic, we invite you to consult this article: https://novostable.com/all-about-colic.
7 TIPS TO IMPROVE THE EVERYDAY OF YOUR HORSE
Have a box stuck to the box of one or two other horses! If he is surrounded he will have social contact with his peers and he will be able to communicate what is essential for him. Remember, horses live in herds, they are not solitary animals.
Let him live in a spacious environment. We agree, this point is sometimes complicated to set up depending on the location, your budget, etc ... We would all like to offer our horse a huge box but it is sometimes not possible. However, if your horse is in a box where it cannot move properly, be sure to take it out regularly and leave enough fodder for it so that it does not get bored.
A clean environment! It is not always easy to offer him a spacious box as we mentioned above, but a clean box is within everyone's reach. Your horse's bedding, whether it is straw, shavings, etc., should be cleaned daily and kept clean. Your horse will feel better, and a clean floor will keep his feet healthy.
It is best to feed him at a fixed time, a horse needs a feeding routine to feel good. Respecting defined schedules will reduce stress.
Unlimited hay and water to prevent boredom and heartburn. As we explained previously, if the horse is undernourished it will cause heartburn, but also tics which can lead to colic. Eating continuously will prevent him from creating acidity or having straw plugs that he can ingest if he runs out of forage.
Visit him every day. You have to be aware that having a horse is a big responsibility, even more than a horse in the box. You are his landmark and he awaits you. When you pay him his daily visits, don't hesitate to take him out, even for a little while. You can also quite simply let him loose to let him let off steam and play with him, this can only be good for his morale and will strengthen your bond.
Place games in his box. If you follow us on social networks we have offered games for the box: a block of ice with fruit, an apple necklace and a hanging ball. But there are many more, you can just hide carrots or apples in your hay! Nothing better to keep him entertained and avoid boredom.
To conclude, the box is not a natural environment adapted to the needs of the horse. This is why anything you can do for him will only be beneficial. Fighting against the boredom and discomfort of your companion is a priority for his welfare.