Who gives their horses the winter off?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Mayelix, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Mayelix

    Mayelix Senior Member

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    Contemplating giving my horse the winter off for a variety of reasons...not enough time, not enough daylight, not enough days when the ring isn't frozen

    I've never done this before. When do you start work again? What kind of timeline do you set to getting him/her back in shape? I'd like to be able to show when it gets warmer but am worried about not getting him to that point physically in time.

    Just curious what people do and how they make it work.

    Or do you think it'd be better to just ride when I'm able to throughout the winter?
     
  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    I don't think it's great to just let them completely off, but I don't think it's a train wreck either. If they're fully schooled why not you know? I don't think you're going to lose much ground that can't be made up easily if the weather is horrible in my opinion.
     
  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    If the training is not progressive and the horse has reached his limit and is in a 'maintenance mode' and winter's not too long, it would be far less of a problem, but for dressage, I wouldn't. Never did. Too much time, training and fitness lost doing that. And progress in training is 99% about fitness.

    It would take at least as much time to get the fitness and training of the horse back to what it was. One would not make any progress.

    Say, 'winter' is from December to May. 5 months. Half the year.

    It would take 6 months to get back what was lost, and there's one month for training 'new' stuff. And then it would be time for winter again.

    But once one got past first level, even attempting to do this would start to fall apart, because the horse would lose so much condition that he wouldn't be getting back what was lost, within the time given.

    Typically, the dressage horse that is progressing, is supposed to 'coast' most of the summer show season. The whole show season is supposed to be easy for the horse. The most intense training goes on in the winter.

    This is in the context of moving a dressage horse up 10 levels (one levels a year if real lucky), and given that most people only live 85 years...LOL.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
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  4. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    The event horses I've worked with all had winters off unless they were going to Ocala or even Aiken (because recently it's become the thing to do...)

    Before that the reiners too.

    Light riding happened, mostly just horse camping and trails and fun off season activities. Turnout as much as possible (many 24x7). They seemed to come back fresh and eager, but it's 12 off and 12 back on minimum to get the general fitness back. Longer if the horse is performing at a very high level or has old injuries.
     
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  5. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Yeah. I was assuming also that she didn't mean six months only in the worst of it.
     
  6. NBChoice

    NBChoice Senior Member

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    Last year was the first year I gave Sublime some time off during the winter. I had never done it before since I don't train them nearly as hard as they can handle throughout the rest of the year. But we were running into some trouble, so I decided we both needed a break. I think I only gave him a month or two off.
    This year no one is off, but I am not working them as often as during the summer. We have had a few bitterly cold snaps recently, and that just decreases my motivation. I am wanting to start up again this coming weekend with a more consistent program for my two so that I can get prepared for show season.
    It is very common in the Saddlebred world for the show horses to have their shoes pulled and turned out throughout the winter as a break after show season.
     
  7. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    Our Natuonals is in September, when we return the horses have hind shoes pulled and are off for a couple of months to be a horse. We start light work in December and start to train again in January to be ready for our first pointed show in April.
     
  8. windblown

    windblown Senior Member

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    This is basically what I do. Mine had light riding through the fall and started more serious work in December. One could go to a show tomorrow and be on point. The other, eh. I'm wishing I hadn't given him that much time off. It was my first time giving him a substantial break, and probably my last, lol.
     
  9. TheSnowLeopard

    TheSnowLeopard Senior Member

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    What discipline do you do and what age is your horse? Those two factors will help us a lot.
     
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  10. Suzanneszoo

    Suzanneszoo Senior Member

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    Nope, never.

    Loose too much ground when you take that much time off. A week when it's really atrocious outside? Certainly, but we work on other things on those days. Like, ground manners when I feed you.:)

    I live in the upper Midwest. If we gave the winter off, my horse would be out of training 6 months out of the year.
     

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