Box or stable rest is something that many horses will have to endure at some point in their lives.
If a horse has suffered a bone fracture, serious injury or is recovering from surgery or illness, then, to avoid risking further injuries, he or she must be kept quiet and not be allowed to move around.
Some horses don't like to be kept in for long periods of time and box rest can be particularly stressful for them.
If the horse is agitated or depressed this can slow down the healing process, and in extreme cases can make the difference between whether the horse has the will to fight on against the odds.
Herbs can assist a horse or pony during periods of box or stable rest in two ways.
Firstly, the appropriate herbs can be given to help the healing process.
Secondly, if the horse becomes agitated during its confinement, on release, herbs can be given to help calm him.
Popular herbs for use during box rest include Chamomile, Valerian root, Meadowsweet,, Hawthorn berries, Vervain, Clivers and Apple Cider Vinegar
A way to help horses to relax cope with the stress of box rest can be to try herbal remedies such as essential oils or Bach Flower Remedies. These remedies are reported by many owners to help keep horses calm during their confinement and also when first turned out.
In particular Bach Flower Remedies Rescue Remedy, Gentian and Oak can help in this instance.
Bach Flower Remedies can be added to the horse's drinking water or given directly to the horse each day.
Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and neroli oils can help to reduce nervous tension and anxiety during box rest and on the day of turnout.
These can help the horse owner and handler as well!
Use the oils, correctly diluted, on yourself and on the horse when you are handling it in the stable during the confinement.
Lavender oil was often used in the past by the old fashioned stallion men to help calm agitated stallions. They would attach a piece of cotton cloth with a few drops of lavender oil on it to the stallion's headcollar.
There are now commercially prepared herbal supplements specially formulated from the quality plant extracts to aid your horse during box rest.
These are designed to be easily assimilated by the horse's digestive system and help to maintain a relaxed nervous system.
They will also often contain herbs that will support and maintain the digestive, musculo-skeletal, circulatory and lymphatic systems of the horse.
Many horse owners run into problems when the time comes to turn the horse out after a long period of box rest, or when they try to walk a horse that has spent many weeks confined to its stable.
At this point they find they are dealing with a demon on four legs - or two as the case may be!
The horse is usually so over excited and full of enthusiasm to be out again that he is difficult and may be even dangerous to lead, and tends to tear around the paddock undoing much of the good the box rest has done.
Herbs such as chamomile, vervain and valerian will calm the horse in preparation for the big day!