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Giving The Show Horse Time Off

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  • Giving The Show Horse Time Off

    Has anyone ever given their show hunter "time off"? My daughter is leaving for college and can't take her horse this year. I had hoped to lease him, but nothing has materialized. I'm so worried about keeping him in condition. Any advice?

  • #2
    I've heard that its just fine to turn your horse out for a year or so. He'll enjoy the free time to relax!

    I've asked this question in the context of being pregnant and unable to ride (high risk preg). Most people have agreed that my boy will be just fine till I'm ready to ride again. Just be sure to bring him back into shape slowly (don't just jump into jumping courses!!!).

    One really important thing is to turn him out in a situation that is safe (no barbed wire, if there is a herd he needs to be introduced slowly and with a buddy). I have a friend with 120 acres who takes retirees, and she always buddies new horses for a few days in a paddock before turning them out into the herd situation.
    * Sunny * Ella (2006 filly) * Tank (2008 colt)*


    • #3
      Depends on a few things...what are the plans for next year, when would daughter be home to start re-conditioning him for show season, how old, what temperament?

      I don't know if I'd be too keen on kicking an older show horse out to pasture for an extended length of time...much harder to recondition. And I've known horses that tried to kill themselves when turned out - they were just much happier with a "job".

      We always give our show horses the month of October to hack or flat lightly or even just chill in the pasture for a few weeks. Our season is jammed full since our circuits only run til beginning of September and beginning of November so our horses usually need sometime to let down.

      ETA....at first I thought this thread was going to be about giving time off DURING the season and I was all ready to jump on a tangent about how people need to put the needs of their horse above their own wants. This is my absolute pet peeve...I don't care if you've planned to show every show all season long; if Dobbin needs a break - he GETS a break.
      \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River


      • #4
        Is there someone that could ride him occassionally?

        My horse has had an unintended four - going on five months off and he is actually really enjoying his time off. His attitude is great and he's not stiff - which he was occasionally when we were in regular work.

        We relocated out of Los Angeles to the low Sierra mountains and my horse moved from his show barn work schedule to lots of turn out. We are trying to buy a house/horse set up that is a "short sale" and the bank is VERY slow. We're four months into it so far with no commitments from the bank on anything (frustrating!) -so my horse is hanging out at our rental property and we're going for hacks. We occasionally haul over to the equestrian center to work in the ring and he feels great!

        Will your daughter want to ride when she is home on vacation and in the summer? If so, find somene at her old barn who will help get him out and ride him occassionally. I think you will find that he not only enjoys the break but thrives on it!


        • #5
          Certainly time off is a good thing depending on the age of the horse for starters, If your daughter is going to want to ride while home from college etc.

          If the hunter is older he really should be kept in work consistanty, older horses need to work or their get older quickly.

          If your daughter plans to ride when home she will not be able to go back where she left off, leaving her with not so much extensive riding when she comes home.

          Is there anyone around to hack him a couple times a week? A break from jumping it self is great - saves the horse another round of jumps in his life but consistant hacking may be key for all.


          • #6
            In the old days it was SOP to turn our show and race horses out for 2 to 3 months every year , Sadly this is why today so many horses are not useable by their early to mid teens. A horse can stay fairly conditioned with proper turnout.. large pastures with suitable heard mates .. but I don't recomend 24/7 in most cases for a horse that isn't fully retired. They can become awfully cranky when put back in a stall after a year outside.. If you can keep them in basically the same routine, Stall at night / grooming ect.. they will accept the occasional home for the holidays ride much better. and be much easier to bring back in spring


            • Original Poster

              I believe in hacking just to keep a horse in shape. He is 11 and I think it's best if he's kept in a consistent schedule while she is gone. We keep him at home, so unfortunately, this probably means I need to move him to the trainers to keep him going.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mamare View Post
                I believe in hacking just to keep a horse in shape. He is 11 and I think it's best if he's kept in a consistent schedule while she is gone. We keep him at home, so unfortunately, this probably means I need to move him to the trainers to keep him going.
                Why don't you hack him
                \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Czar View Post
                  Why don't you hack him
                  My mother used to take my horse on road hacks (she had no previous experience riding) and LOVED it
                  Hunters should be galloping - George Morris


                  • #10
                    When I went abroad for 9 months at the end of high school, I turned my 9 year old jumper mare out. She had a 6 month vacation at another barn that more pasture space, then returned a couple of months before me so my trainer could slowly bring her back to work. She came back wonderfully, and I think the time off was good for her soundness (just to give her body a break from the pounding of jumping) and her mind. We often sent horses out for a month or two at a time to get a break from showing, and while I don't think 6 months of vacation was necessary for my mare, it certainly didn't hurt her. Just make sure he has adequate turnout and that he's brought back to work slowly.


                    • Original Poster

                      Czar - I think that will be what has to be done! I haven't ridden in years, but he is quiet and sweet. That's probably my answer to the empty nest syndrome/keep nice show horse going. Who knows, maybe it is meant to be????

                      Of course I wouldn't just turn him out. He'd have his regular field, his regular stall and I am a great groom. Now I just have to shake off the cobwebs and get back in the saddle!


                      • #12
                        Go for it!

                        We'll all cheer you on!
                        \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River


                        • Original Poster

                          Okay - I'm goint to keep you all posted. If you want to see this nice horse I HAVE to ride, check out www.photobucket.com/Protocol_2009.

                          Please, please send your jingles to this old mother!


                          • #14
                            aww he's such a cutie! I'm sure you'll have fun!

                            My Mom took over my old show horse when he retired and she trail rides him mostly but she'll hop on and ride my new show horse when I'm gone for an extended period of time and school him dressage Moms that can ride are the greatest
                            No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                            For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                            www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


                            • #15
                              I would agree with every other poster here that says that YOU, the mother and most likely the bill payer, should hack and trail ride him.

                              Many horses simply cannot adapt from a busy show schedule to merely sitting in a field for a year. It certainly is not fair to do this to your hunter and then expect him to go straight back to a training/showing program once your daughter returns home, although I know you know better than that. I suggest your keep him in a small program with no showing.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Mamare View Post
                                Okay - I'm goint to keep you all posted. If you want to see this nice horse I HAVE to ride, check out www.photobucket.com/Protocol_2009.
                                Oh you poor thing!
                                Hunters should be galloping - George Morris


                                • #17
                                  What a beautimous beastie.

                                  And who knows, she may have trouble getting him back from you
                                  \"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.\" Anne of Green Gables


                                  • #18
                                    I second

                                    What beesknees said! Shouldn't be much of a hardship.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      You are all so supportive! I'll let you know how it goes.


                                      • #20
                                        I saw where you had him advertised for lease and thought to myself what a cutie he was. Too bad you are on the wrong coast for me! I think you will have fun with him though!