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disastercupcake 10-26-2013 08:41 PM

Does your horse get time off?
I recently started 2nd shift. While that might at first seem like a bad thing, I'm off during the day, and have many more daylight hours to spend on my hobby (horses!).

Well since I started, I've been working my 6 year old about double hard as he's ever been worked. He's improved immensely in that short time. Usually, I don't ride all that much in the winter, or well, its really just pleasure riding in the snow.

Should I give him a break over the winter, or at least tone down the training program? I feel like it could be a great time for training, but at the same moment, he's been working hard all spring, summer and fall for me. Thoughts?

spirit88 10-26-2013 09:20 PM

My horses always get some time off from working over the winter months. Really depends though if not to icey or cold we ride all year long.

We do cut back on the days we ride instead of 6 days we ride only 4 in winter.My horse tends to get really fat so the more hes worked the better.

DancingArabian 10-26-2013 10:14 PM

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My horse gets one day a week off completely from work - because I go to dance class. In the winter, sometimes he'll get more because it's just cold and I just don't wanna.

He doesn't get extended time off of work though.

Horses don't really think of time off like we do. While I do think he should definitely have some regular time to just be a horse, he doesn't think of it in the way of "well I've been working for six months already so I really need a month off". He's probably used to the routine and if he's working well with the status quo, why change it so much? If you think he needs some time off, give him a day off a week, or maybe add in an extra day of just 'fun' stuff like hand walking/grazing and things where you just focus on correction if needed but otherwise don't ask much?

MyBoyPuck 10-26-2013 10:31 PM

I also work second shift and get to ride in the daytime. I have a very hard time keeping myself from going to the barn. Luckily it's 40 minutes away and my occasionally needs to be cleaned and apparently I have to actually go to a store and buy food to eat. I try to give my horse 2 days off a week, and try to make them days after he has jumped or otherwise work really hard. In the winter, he does better with more work. I think it's mostly because it's cold and he's got so much more energy to expend. You're gonna love riding when the sun's up while everyone else is stuck in their stuffy offices.

Kayty 10-26-2013 11:09 PM

Yep absolutely I give my horses time off. I get 6 weeks of holiday/year, so my horses get holiday time too. It is good for them to have a few weeks of being able to hang out in a paddock and relax. Mine certainly get a lot of benefit from having a little time off.

Brighteyes 10-26-2013 11:21 PM

Oh yeah. I give my horse at least a six week vacation at the end of the ride season. We compete about every other/every three weeks during show season, so she gets all that time off in-between trips.

I'm throwing around giving her a six-month vacation during my first semester in college. She's been worked hard since she was four-years-old, and now she's almost eight. She hasn't been a horse in so long. No shows, no stress, no conditioning.

smrobs 10-26-2013 11:24 PM

I'm of the same mind as DancingArabian. While I believe a horse should get a day off at least once a week if they are being worked hard, they don't need extended vacations. The more you ride them and work them (without over-working them and frying their brain, of course) the faster they learn and the better broke they are.

As anyone who's ridden a horse in a feedlot or on a ranch. 30 days ridden in that type of environment where the days are 8+ hours long and they get one day off a week, the horses stay happy and they learn so much faster. After a month doing that, your horse will have more handle, more training, and more exposure than most other horses would after 8-12 months of 45 minute-4 day a week training.

Now, all that aside, most of mine actually get the winter...and most of the summer....and spring and fall off because I simply don't have time LOL. Before, I was too busy with client horses and now I have a job where all I really have time for is a short (1-2 hour) pleasure ride a few times a week.

disastercupcake 10-26-2013 11:59 PM

Thanks everyone for your input :)

I think it's important to have time off too, but I think I will probably make it in the dead of winter... no one wants to work outside then anyways.

Paintlover1965 10-27-2013 12:32 AM

My crew usually get one or two days off per week. We mostly hack out on the trail so it's never too stressful anyways. I can usually gauge how much work they need to be happy on any given day. We ride even in the cold weather.

BarrelRacingLvr 10-27-2013 11:35 AM

Yes mine get a few weeks off after our last I need that time off as well. But they get rode throughout the winter months to keep them in shape and tuned up, we have races in March so they don't get a lot of time off.

My guys get in a routine and work great, it throws them off and they get so bored if they have too much time off.

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