Hi, my horse is recovering from a major colic operation (had ceacum colic), my vet recommended that he is off-work for 3 months (we are in week 6 now). He is staying in a small paddock and is taken for a brisk walk for 20 minutes 2x a day. What type of inhand work/exercises can I do with him to prevent him from becoming bored? He is not a very active/playful horse, (me neither!!!), but I have noted that he is becoming quite irritated when we go for our daily walks. (I am aware of the fact that I will have to start all over with his training program once the 3month rest period is over, but I will ask questions about that as we get closer to the time). So, I am really in need for a few exercises that we can do to keep things interesting....
Hey Bells. Hope your horse is feeling ok and that he will be alright! What I would do with him now is focus on loads of groundwork exercises with him. They will reinforce your trust and your bond, yet are not taxing physically. Have a look at some of the less demanding TTeam exercises, as well Parelli horsemanship as a fun way of doing great thngs with him. Build obstacle courses for him, polework mazes and all manner of little 'tests' and then lead him over it all. Steretches are also a great way of keeping him supple and keen without taxing him too much.
Build toys for him to nibble on in his stable - like sawing a big branch (with no leaves on, and make sure it it not a toxic tree for him!) and then stick treats like apples, carrots, bread and such all over the big branches. Prop up in a corner of his stable and that will keep him busy for ages. We used to use Mulberry tree branches.
Now is a great time to just have fun with him and build on your relationship! Enjoy it and let us know if you need more ideas!
By the way - just remember not to do anything with him that might stretch and tear open his stiches - he is after all still recovering!