One week down.
And we seem to be surviving. I`m still sane, and Otis seems settled into this routine.
Here are a few things that I`ve established in our new routine.
- I`ve cut Otis`s feed down to two small feeds, which are just enough to put his turmeric and supplements into, so he hopefully doesn`t get unmanageable and energetic.
- Otis isn`t greedy so usually has a haybar, but in order to entertain him for longer during the day and to keep his stable a bit tidier, I`ve invested in some elim-a-nets which are very small holed haynets. This will mean it takes Otis longer to eat so should benefit his digestive system. Hay can trigger a stable-cough, so I`ve been dampening his hay. I don`t think it is beneficial to soak his hay, given the extra work involved, because he isn`t greedy or overweight.
- Otis weighs 600kgs and because of his box rest he needs 2% of his bodyweight in feed every day. None will come from his grazing, so I need to provide him with 12kgs of feed per day. His hard feed is minimal, so he needs 11-12kgs of hay per day. This is actually quite a reasonably sized haynet morning and night. As there is usually a little hay left at the bottom of the net each time I`m happy with his rations.
- I hadn`t actually ordered my winter bedding ration so I hurriedly did it on Monday morning. I`ve changed Otis from shavings to wood pellets and am very impressed with the bed. It`s drier, less odourous, far easier to muck out, and more stable so the bed isn’t scattered everywhere.
- We`ve established our routine. In the morning I arrive, remove his rug and tie him up outside his stable while I muck out. Once the stable is done I give him a quick groom, pick out his feet and then put his day rug on. When he goes back in, he has his breakfast. In the evening I either skip out with him in the box, or if the yard is quieter he comes back out again. Once his rug is changed he has his dinner. I`ve got it down to a fine art now, managing to put him to bed yesterday in a mere eleven minutes. In the morning I try to spend a bit of time bonding with him.
- I`ve put my favourite rug on Otis at night for the moment. It was one of the first rugs I bought him, and reminds me of a mint chocolate ice cream. During the day he has a summer sheet on. Changing the rugs prevents rubbing and gives him chance to scratch any itchy spots.
- I dug out the treat ball, but haven`t used it yet. He seems quite happy without it at the moment, so I’m waiting until boredom kicks in and then I can introduce it.
- It`s quite a walk to some grass from Otis`s stable, and as the idea of box rest is to limit activity, I`m compensating by taking him out to graze in hand every couple of days. He doesn’t seem that interested in the grass though, and marches straight back into his stable.
- I`ve also got a plan for me. Box rest is hard work and you can end up wearing yourself out with early morning muck outs and evening skip outs. If a horse has a wound you usually feel you can`t miss a shift because no one else knows how to tend to the wound like you do. Plus you want to be the first to know about any changes to the injury. I`m lucky with Otis in that there`s nothing to actually treat so I don`t need to worry about that, but it`s still important for me to have a break. I`ve enlisted the help of Otis`s chauffeur to do a morning shift on the weekends, which will allow me to have a bit of a lie in and hopefully catch up on some sleep.
So yes, we`ve got into our routine, and hopefully the next five weeks will fly past.