Should a horse have a day off? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-31-2008, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Should a horse have a day off?

I just got my horse (no name yet) last Thursday. I have rode him everyday for a week now. We dont do anything intense, just walk, trot,canter around the arena, getting him to bend and circles. No lesson yet. Im wondering if he needs a day off or can he be riden daily?

The owners before me recommended I turn him out before riding so he can get his bucks out, and when I rode him once before I bought him he seemed a lot more hyper. I turned him out the first time before I rode him but havnt since cause he just doesnt need it. Now I just hop on and warm him up. During the warm up he is super slow, can barely keep him in a trot, but once we canter he is ready to go, but not in a hyper way. He is very nice and calm and giving when being riden. But im wondering if they didnt ride him as often as they said and thats why he was hyper before, or if it is because im riding him daily.

Should he have a day off?

Also one quick question. I posted before about him behaving badly being fly sprayed/groomed and tacked up. When I take the advice of others and tap him on the shoulder lightly, or even just go to push him away, he seems to get even more pissed like he might lunge at me. Is this normal? It just makes his behavior esculate.

Thanks for any information!
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-31-2008, 11:45 PM
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Definitely. I always give Boo days off from constant work.

Keeps him focused I think, and less bored. lol.

WHATS REALITY?
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-31-2008, 11:47 PM
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I usually give my horses a day off. If you are doing really light work, then I don't really see the need if you're looking at whether or not they'll have the energy. I just do it to give the horse a break. Let them have a full day of rest. If you're doing more involved work that requires more physical strength then I say definitely give the horse a break.

Valerie
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-01-2008, 12:12 AM
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Nigel gets days off once a week, but his day off usually consists of a light hack, without canter, or turnout and handwalk. My horse only works an hour or so a day, so I don't see the big deal. If he gets back from a horseshow or intense schooling or something, then he'll get the day off with just a turnout so he can stretch and such.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-01-2008, 03:18 AM
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Yes definatly give him a day off once in a while. It's just like with us working. We love a day off usually to just laze around and then when we go back to work we are refreshed and ready to go so he will too!

Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-01-2008, 05:09 AM
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Instead of a day off maybe take him for a nice relaxed trail ride, a change of scenery is just as good :) This is what I try to do with my boys, even though the weather has been forcing days off! :S
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-01-2008, 08:03 AM
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We all need some down time. I ride every day but each horse is only ridden 4 or 5 days per week. They are turned out 24/7 in the mean while.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-01-2008, 08:53 AM
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The first year I had Arrow, I rode 6 days a week at times, and once 10 days in a row. But I've always had trouble keeping weight on him. Just this summer, I've been giving him more downtime. I think it's keeping him mentally fresh, too. If I ride 5 days in a row, sometimes I give him two days off in a row. More often I ride 3 days, 1 day off, 2 days, 1 day off. I've started trailering off property more, making the rides longer, and cutting back to 4 days some weeks: same hours/miles per week as before, but fewer actual days. I think it's helping. I still SEE him 6 or 7 days a week--I'll go to the barn just to groom, or just to groom and handgraze.

We need to know how you're keeping him. How much stall and turnout? Arrow's turned out 24/7 9 months out of the year and in a stall at night only January-March.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-01-2008, 08:58 AM
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I ask about turnout because you mentioned turning out before riding. I've never lunged a horse as a warmup, I just get on and go. But I've never kept a horse in a stall, either.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-01-2008, 05:35 PM
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"I posted before about him behaving badly being fly sprayed/groomed and tacked up. When I take the advice of others and tap him on the shoulder lightly, or even just go to push him away, he seems to get even more pissed like he might lunge at me. Is this normal? It just makes his behavior esculate. "

No, it is not normal and it will get worse if you don't stop it now. Don't just tap him on the shoulder... if he is in your space, or being disrespectful, snap a crop at him with a loud "NO". Back him up 20 steps immediately. Then pet him quietly.

You can't "push" a 1,000 lb horse... he will just laugh at you. He needs a sharp and loud NO. A whack on the shoulder with the crop will not hurt him (think of what his pasture mates do to him!), but it will suprise him and make him realize that you mean business. Whack NO and back up, back up, back up. Backing up is very humbling to a horse...
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