Originally Posted by Brighteyes
So, do you guys take the winters off from competing/conditioning? I've considered letting my two slide and legging them back up in the spring... How long does it take for a horse to "lose fitness"? How long can you lay off a horse without having to "start over"?
I think that depends on the horse, its fitness/activity level before the break, and its living situation.
We routinely give the horses time off, both after competitions and after the season. My general rule of thumb is 2 weeks for every 50 miles of competition during the season. Then after the season is over, they generally get 4-6 weeks totally off, depending on the weather and the plan for the following season. One thing I have heard from multiple people who have been competing for many, many years is the value of rest.
Our horses are turned out 24/7 so are able to move around at their whim. I think a horse that is stalled or confined to a small pen loses condition much faster than a horse in a pasture (just ask Dream
), esp the cardio component.