Giving horses a day off?

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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Generally, people tend to give their horse a day off per week. I’m interested to know how you find your horse when you ride him/her after their day off.

I enjoy my days off with Ben – he generally has one a week. I spend ages grooming him and often take him for a little in hand walk around. However, the next day when I get on him again, he is always more difficult. If I try and school after a day off, it takes me ages to get him back to where we were, and if I try and hack him alone he becomes nappy. When I ride him everyday, he is much better and seems happier. When he had a week off, it took me at least a week to get him back into the swing of things. He is a horse who loves his routine and I’m wondering if it actually in his best interests to give him a day off or just keep riding him every day. He doesn’t work particularly hard and we try to vary our activities so we do a mixture of schooling, jumping and hacking each week.

Do you all give your horses a day off? If so, why do you do this and how to you find your horse after a day off? He is refreshed and raring to go (which is surely the point of giving a day off), or are they more resistant?
 

juliecwuk

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Mar 2, 2006
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tbh i vary each week, depends on the weather/work.

Some weeks if weather is good and i am quiet with work, i ride everyday for 2-3 weeks straight. I vary our riding a lot though, and sometimes go for a small walk, other days a 2 hour hack with lots of canters, other days schooling for just 20 mins...etc etc.

Is Moet any different? tbh no, i do not notice anything drastically different...although i do notice that on the days i am not riding her, but perhaps riding one of the others she does pine at the fence line staring at me hoping for my attention, its rather sweet!
 

tiga

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Oct 29, 2007
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I am like Julie - don't have any particular schedule although Izzy is always worked at least 6 days a week.

He will often be ridden/worked for 3 weeks without a day off. He enjoys his work and is happiest doing a lot of different things.

I find if I have not done any fast work for a couple of days and we go up onto the Downs he might be a bit more eager for a gallop but don't really notice any difference after a day off.

If I haven't jumped for a while he will be very excited jumping.

I think if you have a varied workload then it doesn't matter if they have a day off or not. The way I look at it, if you school them for 40 minutes on a light day, they have at least 22 hours in the rest of the day to chill, sleep, eat, play, groom.
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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Hum-hard one because the cob has only been backed four weeks, so not really working to have a day off not.
However i will usually give two days of not doing. So no groundwork, riding or leading out. She is just gone 4 and our half hour sessions i feel is plenty.

What is she like when i next do something-refreshed but the same.
 

Kite_Rider

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Oh dear... I almost daren't post my reply.. we are very lax with our 'work' I only manage to ride four days a week at best! We only really hack and do a bit of riding in the school if it's hammering down, I can't say we school because Belle doesn't know how I don't think, she's only ever hacked as far as I know and as it's something both of us enjoy that's what we do most... it makes not one jot of difference to her if she has a week off or one day though.
I just don't have time to do more even though I know I should because she needs to get some weight off. Now I feel like a really bad owner :-( but she is very loved and cared for.
 

eml

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Apr 29, 2002
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We don't work our TBs/competition horses every day.

One of the problems they have coming out of racing is that they are 'routined'. As we want them to be able to compete at any time of day and cope with change we do what everyone tells you not to do and don't give them a fixed routine. We have found they are generally better with serious work every second day rather than daily but equally expect them to work daily if we ask, just not at a fixed time!

The RS horses work on demand, usually two hours a day but sometimes they will not work for a week (like this week when most people have gone on holiday!) They may come out a little sharper but are still mannerly. I do however insist that every RS horse has one day a week just to be a horse and not work
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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Like Kite Rider I struggle at the moment to give Ziggy a day on, never mind a day off! He is working 3 days a week, tops.

He is noticeably more "schooled" (ha ha) when he is ridden often, but his manners and general behaviour don't change, perhaps because he lives out 24/7 so doesn't store up energy for when he is out with me.
 

bitsnpieces

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Aug 22, 2007
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My girls vary quite a bit, Puz is being brought up to fitness so tends to only get one day a week off. Inca's work varies as she can get very stuck in her routines, so I try to move things about a bit to stop her getting attached to only doing things at a certain time of day or only being asked to work x hard, I try to only ask her for a demanding effort a few times a week and we have two days a week where she only has a short light session, she usually has a day off - maybe two if it's been a busy week.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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I hate giving Storm a day off!!!lol, purely selfish....................having said that; she is still porky and she NEEDS to be ridden every day! In fact, I feel guilty atm if I don't ride her twice a day! We've cut her food down to the minimum really, so it is up to me to get the rest off her with good riding!!!!

I am lucky because I have our pair at home - and tend to live and breathe them. I often spend a LOT of time grooming, tweaking and playing nowadays. Chloe is an amazing horse. Even though she isn't ridden, she does a fantastic job of keeping my Storm company! She is so lovely to watch - I spend hours gazing at her in admiration! We play together in the school too and Mr T loves to take her for a walk around when I ride Storm. We hope to all hack out together (Mr T on foot of course with Chloe) at some point.
I think it is nice when you don't have the horses at home and they are on a yard to take a day off riding - because it is lovely not to be pressured into grabbing a place in the school etc!!
For me, it isn't all about the riding (though I do get grumpy if I don't ride, simply because I enjoy it so much atm) I like to think I have a good combo.
 

sjp1

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Sep 14, 2009
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I think it very much depends what sort of work they are doing. Like yesterday, we were out for nearly six hours. I woke up feeling stiff and tired, as did YO, so figured actually as the horses were the ones doing the work, they probably felt the same, so they had a day off.

Tobes has a few days off during every week because I work full time and I get tired! If I didn't work full time, I see no reason why a horse hacking out for an hour or a couple of hours shouldn't work six days out of seven. I think everyone - animal or human, needs a day to themselves a week.
 
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