On Stall Rest and Low Spirits

Q: What can I do to keep my horse's spirits up while he’s on stall rest? Rather than becoming agitated, he seems depressed. How can I keep him stimulated, keep his brain working, and avoid depression?

via e-mail

A: For a horse that is depressed when stall-bound, you can consider every one of the recommendations outlined above for the overactive, aggressive horse. But first and foremost, again be sure the horse is not painful, either from the primary reason for stall rest, or from such issues as gastric ulcers, founder, and gas colic that are common secondary conditions to confinement.

About the Author

Sue McDonnell, PhD, Certified AAB

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

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