As an observer of horse health I often wonder about the idea of box rest for horses. The reason being is that while I know it is imperative in some cases if the horse is seriously lame or compromised, there are many times that it is advocated and the consequence is that the horse actually becomes worse.
As a Bowen therapist it just does not add up. As therapists we recognise that injuries are usually caused by people or animals “overdoing it”. But, if the body just stops then so does circulation and the lymphatic system becomes less effective. The result is generally stiffness and the body becomes less effective at healing.
As far as our human clients are concerned we advocate gentle movement even if the person is having huge difficulty moving, we just ask the person to walk around the room, or get up and make a cup of tea at least once every 30 minutes-in fact any gentle movement is good. It assists the body to heal more efficiently and to start the serious business of repair-immobility sets up all kinds of problems,as anyone who has had a prolonged illness will testify with the result of feeling weak and dizzy when you do get out of bed.
Yes, sometimes bed rest (or box rest) is is the only way to get better, especially when there is a serious illness or you have had flu or some kind of severe sickness, but as far as lameness in horses is concerned I do think the idea of stopping a horse from moving can be more debilitating than the original injury.
There are additional concerns that go with this territory the main one being the problem of the horse returning to his field; after a week inside a stable horses tend to go stir crazy (not surprisingly) and are apt to go galloping around as soon as they get back into a larger space …..and yes, re injuring as they do so; wouldn’t it be better (and whats more) less stressful for the horse if the recommendation was to be regular gentle movement? This would prevent tension and stiffness AND boredom building up to such proportions that they add to the original problem.
Is it not time for this advice to change?