Spinoff from okay to let your horse eat after working him?
I read the "Okay to feed your horse after working him" thread and it occurred to me that I could not remember the last time I brought one of my horses back to the barn from a ride hot and blowing, so much so that I thought that I might need to restrict access to his food. I have not boarded in a busy training barn for a long time, so I think I might be out of touch with how much work people are really doing with their horses and I may have gotten lenient in how much work I expect out of my horse.
For those of you that do bring your horse back from a ride still hot and, maybe even blowing, what are you doing with them while you are riding? By that I mean, jump schooling, conditioning work for cross country or fox hunting, trail riding, dressage work, reining patterns, practicing barrels? For how long are you working them and what is your routine? For me, a typical ride in the summer might be a half hour of flat work and maybe a 30 minute hack around the fields or just an hour hacking around the fields w-t-c (the horse obviously might be sweaty when we get back, but not "hot" or blowing). In the winter, if the outdoor arena footing is okay, I might get in a half hour flat school at night and on the weekend or if the footing is bad in the outdoor, we ride around the fields, which could include trotting and cantering. If they come back wet in the winter, its melted snow, not sweat, lol!
I suspect that I am may be a bit easy on my horse....
I don't think I ever brought my horse into the barn hot and blowing. Sure, he may be hot and blowing after cross country, or jump schooling, even after an intense 45-min dressage lesson, but my horse is always cooled down by walking several minutes until his respiration rate is back to normal. Only then he is taken to the barn or the trailer.
"Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"
My routine is very similar to yours, ex racer. A 30 min flat work routine with a 20 min warm up hack before we go in the ring followed by about a 10 minute hack out. My horse is never really hot unless its summer time and not really ever blowing. I do hack out twice a week or so upa mountain and ask my horse to trot most of the way up. She's blowing after that but recovers quickly on the way back. Maybe I'm taking it easy on her. Who knows? I think if our routine was intense, I wouldn't ride as much. After working all day, Im there for enjoyment and relaxing.
Mine never comes back to the barn hot/blowing. Even if its a longer or more intense workout (whether dressage or jumping), I always make sure he goes through a cool down period until respiration is normal and he's cool. He doesn't sweat too much in the winter, but if he's still a little sweaty, he gets his cooler. In the summer, he gets hosed off. He may get hay (and always water) after a workout, but I always wait a bit before feeding grain. He's actually not that hard of a keeper for a TB so he doesn't get too much grain, but I don't take chances.
The hardest thing my horses do is interval sessions, which have built in warmup/cool downs so I never DISMOUNT with a horse hot/blowing after one of those sessions.
However, occasionally a ride will end with a very hot and tired horse if there was a schooling issue that needed to be addressed and part of the reward for doing it right was me getting off. I figure if I've put the screws to a horse in a difficult school and he's done the work properly he deserves my ass off his back and a nice cold shower and hand-walking, not a 20 minute hack.
Also at shows after XC I will often get back to the trailer or stabling with quite a hot horse, so the appropriate care still applies.
In other words, although it's not a normal routine to bring a blowing, hot horse back to the barn, it does happen from time to time and I don't think it marks a bad horseman.
I have about an 8 minute hack through the woods to get to the ring where I school; don't have a ring at my barn & use a neighbor's. That walk there & back works as a warm up & cool down for my guys, they might be damp but are always cool when I get back to the barn. I used to have a mare that was prone to tying up when I was a kid, so I've been conditioned to finish every ride with a good walk session.
~ A true friend knows all there is to know about you and still likes you. -E. Hubbard
I RARELY bring a horse in blowing, though, occasionally, on really humid summer mornings, my horse may still be puffing by the time we get back to the barn after a gallop set (usually a 10 minute walk...though, he's a dork and bounces around a lot!). He may be HOT, however, and I want to get his tack off and cold water on ASAP. Usually in that case, we hack back, strip down, hose and scrape, then walk some more (maybe stopping at his stall for a pee and drink). Repeat until he's cool.
We rarely return to the barn truly hot (with maybe the exception of a very hot summer day). I either go for a hack, walk around while chatting, or hand walk for a few minutes. Every now and then, like dw, I'll jump off quickly after a particularly good, but tough, school, but, unless we're in the indoor, it is still a little bit of a walk back home.
I also wanted to add that sometimes you NEED to get back to the barn with a hot, blowing horse so you can start the cooling off process. I don't like to wait terribly long to get cold water on a really hot horse...10 minutes is about as long as I'm comfortable with.
I do work my horse pretty hard, though, especially in the summer. Even if I only school for 30 minutes, it is usually pretty intense.