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Who to keep / Who to send?

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  • Who to keep / Who to send?

    Every winter I send 2 horses to a friend's facility so that I can keep riding (he has an indoor) and to rest my pastures after re-seeding. For the winter, I keep 2 in my front pasture with a large run-in shed and a round bale of hay to keep my winter barn chores to a minimum.

    One of the 2 that will go to the indoor facility will be my daughter's pony so she can keep riding through the winter too. It's also easier to manage her diet there because she as to be muzzled.

    I had initially planned to take my half-arab so that I could start working with him. He is/was a saddleseat horse, and I'm planning on transitioning him to dressage. He has benefitted greatly from a couple of months of tunout and minimal work to let his muscling relax (he's very hollow backed a high headed). I think a few more months of turnout and relaxation may benefit him though. I've talked to several who have attempted similar rehabs, and all of them said it's important to let them relax before you start retraining so you aren't fighting the muscle memory as much.

    The other horse I could take is my trail horse. The indoor place does have nice trails as well. The only issue there is that his hocks are fusing and he would not be getting 24/7 turnout at the indoor facility. He would be getting limited turnout. My farrier thinks it would be beneficial for me to ride him more than I have been, to help the fusion process along. If I take him to the indoor facility I will be able to keep him in work, and make use of the trails. I admit I don't ride him as much as I probably should, but he does gimp until he gets warmed up. It seems to bother me more than it bothers him. And even though the vet, farrier and pretty much everyone who knows about fusing hocks says to keep riding, it nags at me to feel that hitch under saddle. Would he be better off at home not being ridden but turned out 24/7, or at the facility where he got limited turnout but ridden on a regular basis? Which is going to help the hocks fuse faster?

    So, anyone want to weigh in? At this point I am thinking my best option might be to take the trail horse for November and see how it goes, then I can always switch and take the half-arab in January or February?
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Just bumping this up, hoping for some thoughts. It's almost time to take 2 to the winter boarding facility and I'm still undecided on who should go.

    The half-arab that I'm transitioning from saddleseat to dressage. He's the one I was planning on taking, but I'm sort of thinking he may benefit from more time off over the winter to continue to erase muscle memory. Also, he came from a training situation in July where he was ridden in a small indoor. If I board him, he will mostly be ridden in a similar small indoor. I think he could benefit from some more outside riding (without a rail to constantly lean on!). Of my 3 horses he needs the most work (he's very well trained as far as a saddleseat horse, but I want to get rid of the unnatural high head and hollow back so I have a lot of work to do).

    I'm leaning more and more towards taking my trail horse. My trail riding buddy lives conveniently across the street from this boarding facility. I could ride across the road to her place so we could trail ride through the fall/winter. I could also trail ride him solo through the trails on the farm. Unfortunately his hocks are fusing. I have him on 24/7 turnout at home but that is not an option at the boarding place. He's my favorite (easiest!) horse to ride, but I'm not sure how he will fare with limited turnout. If I keep him there I planned on trying surpass and some other things to keep him more comfortable, and it will be easier to wrap/medicate/hose etc. if he is in a stall at nights, so there are positives too I guess.

    A 3rd option that I hadn't totally considered is taking my old TB. He's been in and out of work through the years and I've been considering putting him back in work so I can take him for some dressage lessons this winter. Of all my horses he is the best trained and best suited for dressage physically. Mentally is a whole 'nother issue, but he has been boarded at this place before and does well there. He's only an OK trail horse...better with a buddy, not so much solo. I wouldn't ride him across the road, but I could hand walk him over and probably ride him with my friend across the street. He can be a difficult ride at times or a very easy ride (never in between though! ).

    So, who would you take?

    Comment


    • #3
      I liked your idea of taking your trail horse for a bit, and then switching to either the half-Arab or your TB in January or so.

      Then you could trail ride with your friend in the fall/before the weather gets too bad, and you can also get a sense of how being not on 24/7 turnout effects him (helps vs hurts).

      Comment


      • #4
        from what you said you should take the trail horse. It sounds like it's hugely beneficial to him.
        The other guy sounds like he would benefit more from staying home for a bit longer and relax that hollow back by putting his head down grazing
        Originally posted by BigMama1
        Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
        GNU Terry Prachett

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        • #5
          Another vote for trail horse. Nothing quite like a brisk, bundled up Thanksgiving morning trail ride :-) take advantage of the trails and riding buddy! And if the horse is missing his turnout, switch him out with either the one on rest or the tb- but id look into the compatibility of your schedule and dressage lessons in the winter months. Don't know if that might be an issue or not, but a consideration before you decide.

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