The Horrors of Stall Rest or Feb. in Ohio


I used to own a boarding stable.  The words I dreaded to hear most were, 'My horse needs stall rest'.  Sometimes this request understandably came by way of vet's orders  due to an injury, other times it seemed just randomly spoken and pulled out of the air by the owner of a high strung nervous nelly kind of horse to regain some authority over their equine.  The horse quickly became miserable.

Horses by nature do not do well on extended stall rest.  They are herd animals and need to move around, run and socialize to be happy.  They need sun and fresh air.

I live in Ohio and it is Feb.  I can relate to those needs.  We have had continuous snow, fog and gray days on end.  Horses on stall rest often develop stall vices because the environment is not stimulating enough for them due to lack of movement and socializing.  Cribbing, wood chewing, stall walking, weaving are some common repetitive habits horses develop due to being confined.

People in Feb. also develop repetitive habits to relieve the boredom of being confined in small spaces indoors.  Facebook is one way people alleviate the stress of confinement.  Twitter is another common repetitive habit developed during times of boredom.  Why else would we be so interested in what someone just ate for dinner, reading someone's tweet as if the dog wrote it or the latest tweet about how to reach the masses and make millions while never leaving your house?  We are confined with the lack of a stimulating environment!  Just as the horse compulsively bobs his head up and down, back and forth as he weaves in his stall so do we humans relentlessly check up on our tweets, friends, and fans, retweeting and posting to profile, over and over again.

A common problem with stall rest in horses is the stalls need to be mucked much more frequently.  The manure piles up rather quickly.  Another correlation to the human version of poop accumulating is your e-mail inbox collecting spam from those people trying to make millions which periodically need to be cleared out and dumped.  It is good practice to recycle manure on the hay fields.  It is not good practice though to forward e-mails to your contact list.  This brings about more social isolation.

As an artist, I find inspiration in lighting and color.  Grey days just don't so it for me visually.  I either just want to sleep or I get cabin fever.  I do end up chewing unnecessarily in an attempt to fight boredom and stress... I also climb the walls...another more severe human form of stall walking.  Chewing out is another human version with an aggressive edge to it.

So what to do when faced with stall rest/Feb. in Ohio?  You must let time pass and wait for March.  Color can be seen again and the visual stimulation triggers the synapses to fire in your brain and you find relief.  The haze clears, you feel lighter on your feet, you laugh instead of growl.

The only known way around this waiting game is to bring fresh, lively art into your areas of confinement!   To see new, fresh, lively COLORFUL art go to http://www.horseartoneline/ or http://www.abstracthorseart.blogspot.com/  :)

I need to go update my facebook status now.

green pastures are coming!

Sue Steiner
equine and animal artist

new pet and horse blog at http://horsesandhealing.blogspot.com/

 
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