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April 5, 2008

Horse in Quarantine

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Hi Cherry,

My horse is a OTT TB he is 7 yrs old, I just adopted him. Obviously we have a lot of stuff to do, eventually. Right now he is in quarantine at his new stable, he has about a week left, and then he will be out of "horsey prison." There is no where I can let him go and run, play, roll, etc. Do you know a way I can get his mind off it and perhaps calmdown a little.

I know he is in a new environment, and he isn't around other horses yet but, he will be. I have a small area 20'x20' that Ican walk him in, on a lead, because there is no fencing. But, because of all his excess energy he is getting a little nutty. Lunging isn't areal option because he has only done it a handful of times and there are rocks. His stall is 16x10, I feel for him and I know he needs to run and play but he just can't at the moment. Do you know how I can alleviate our problem a little?

He isn't getting grain, just a grass/alfalfa mix of hay and some supplements (biotin, and phsyllium) mixed with a wheat bran and water. At the rescue he was a lot calmer and easy to handle, right now I feel a little overwhelmed. I visited with him for about a month before deciding to go ahead and get him.

Do I just need to tuff it out? Or do you have any ideas? Thank you so much for your time.

Bethany in Las Vegas

 

Hi Bethany,

Often horses in a rescue situation are calm as they might be undernourished or parasite ridden or have some other cause that makes them somewhat subdued. Once they are adopted and good care begins, the start "feeling their oats" even if they are not actually being fed grain! So yours is a typical scenario.

Here are some suggestions. I know you might not be able to do all of these things since you are not in charge of his quarantine facilities, but nonetheless here are some ideas given the limitations you outline.

First, feed him grass hay only. The alfalfa is giving him extra energy which he doesn't need right now in 100% confinement.

Then double check that he isn't receiving any grain, and consider taking him off the supplements and bran you indicate until you get him home.

Hang a stall ball or a couple of plastic milk jugs over his stall for him to play with - hang them high enough so that he can just bat them around with his muzzle but not really be able to grab onto them.

Only walk him for exercise if you feel confident doing so. It sounds like he is getting to be a handful, so perhaps in this regard, you should just hold off and as you say "tough it out" for a few more days.

But in the meantime, do take him out so you can give him a thorough grooming since he can't roll or interact with other horses.

I hope you found something helpful in this answer but feel free to write again with more questions or to let me know how you are making out with him.

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