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Oxer 08-19-2012 10:30 PM

Concerns about vacationing
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I have had my gelding in full training now most of the show season. He is ridden 6 days a week and jumped 2 of those days. He is currently at his most fit. My concern is that I am leaving for New York (sunday the 26th) and will not be back until the following Sunday. With that being said, my team is going to a big "A" show from Wednesday to Sunday. Which means anyone that may have been riding my horse while i am away, i.e. my trainer and/or the assistant trainers, will be gone! I am very concerned that not only will he go nuts sitting in his stall from Wednesday to Sunday, but that he will also regress in his training and his fitness. What do ya'll think?
My boyfriend (not a horse person) is confident enough to lead him to the turn out and let him run around in there for a while... but i'm not super keen on that simply because he isn't able to wrap his legs or deal with a thrown shoe, in the event that my horse goes nuts in the turn out!
What do you folks do when you go away? This is the first time I will be away from him since i bought him. So i'm a wee bit concerned :-(. hahah!

~*~anebel~*~ 08-19-2012 11:14 PM

When I'm away for more than about 4 days I will usually trailer my horse to my coach's place and put him in training so he is getting ridden (he is at PSG level dressage, competing at CDIs so also very fit). For less than that though I would probably just leave him out in his field. He is used to 24/7 turnout, does not throw shoes or need to be booted/wrapped and thrives living outside, being able to exercise himself. And his field is a hill so moving about he still does some strengthening.
This fall I am going to Holland for 2.5 weeks and I don't know if my coach will be able to take my horse. In the case that she can't I will likely just have the barn staff bring him in at night, out during the day. There is no one at my barn/city that I will let ride him. If I am lucky I might be able to convince someone to bring him in late (ie 8pm as opposed to barn turn in time at 2pm). And then at least he will have someone looking at him every day.

Were I in your situation, and if my BF was confident enough to handle my horse, I would take up his offer on turning the horse out. Start turning the horse out for an hour or so a day about a week before you leave, then your coach or whoever can ride him Monday Tuesday, and your BF can turn him out for a bit on those days too. Then by W/Th/F/S he should be used to the turnout, and tired from being ridden. IMO he probably doesn't need to be wrapped up like a Christmas gift, and simply leaving some rubber bell boots on him 24/7 so your BF doesn't have to deal with them, or teaching him to put bells/no turns on would alleviate a lot of the shoe-pulling worry. If he can gallop around jumping without killing himself, I think he will be fine in a 1/2 acre turnout pen, any smaller and I think your worries are justified, but a decent sized pen he should be fine.

Good luck and have fun on your trip!

Oxer 08-19-2012 11:43 PM

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I did put him in rubber bells recently in an effort to keep him from throwing shoes... which he's notorious for doing in the turn out!
I have been having the boyfriend get him out, walk him around the property, and handle him in some basic ways (hoof picking, grooming, backing up, etc)
My biggest concern was simply that all this hard work that i and my trainer have put in these last few months, will go to crap because he's just going to get basic turn out. What about feeding? He will still get his bucket every morning as per the usual, however i was thinking about putting him on free choice hay while i'm away, also in an effort to give him something to do while he's stuck in a stall. What do you think?

~*~anebel~*~ 08-20-2012 12:03 AM

From what it sounds like, he's used to being in a stall 22 hours a day already with no turnout, so what's another 2 hours? Keeping feed as much the same will keep the horse from being stressed. If you are really concerned, haynets work well to slow the horse's eating.

IMO it's better to have a mentally happier horse that's getting put outside as much as possible than to worry about the horse pulling a shoe. It's not going to wreck anything, really, if you are really unlucky you might miss a show. Oh well. If the horse is pulling that many shoes, has your farrier tried to fix anything? Have you tried a different farrier? I know that some horses just don't hold shoes well but mine is out 24/7 un-booted and has correctional shoes with lateral/extended flares (ie easy removal tabs) on the fronts and has not ever pulled a shoe with my current farrier. IMO also, 4 days of "basic turnout" are not going to wreck a horse. Yes maybe you'll have to skip jumping for a week to get him back in the groove, but again, oh well. As long as it's not habitual for the horse to get 4 days in a row off of training, his fitness will not be impacted greatly.

What's your coach's opinion?

DancingArabian 08-20-2012 09:14 AM

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Just my opinion but if your horse "goes nuts" to the point that he might hurt himself when turned out, he's probably not getting enough turnout. Horses are meant to be outside, not in a stall.
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LadyDreamer 08-20-2012 10:17 AM

Ask your trainer what is the best for your horse. A weeks vacation (for him) with no work is not going to ruin all of your hard work. Your trainer should have the best advice for you since she works with him daily too. Ask to see what she would do.

Will there be stablehands or grooms there that can take care of turn out, and possibly wrapping his legs for you? Who is caring for the horses when everyone is gone? Are they able enough to do anything for you?
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gypsygirl 08-20-2012 11:33 AM

a week off wont hurt him a bit. it takes about a month for a horse to start losing muscle, so no worries !

i agree with the above poster that your horse needs more turnout. i would have your bf turn him out as much as possible while you are away.

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