Turning away for winter , can we discuss ??

denisextilly

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May 4, 2009
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Ok,we have just backed Spirit and have done a couple of little hacks out on him :biggrin: My question is I hear alot about people turning them away for the winter.Should I do this ? if so please could you tell me the reasons for it :unsure:.
Please give your opinions and ideas as I really would like to make an informed decision :help:
Thankyou in advance :wink:
 

Skippys Mum

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My boy has been turned away every winter now since he was backed - its down to a 6 week holiday now but at first it was months. Every single time, I've got a better boy back. He just seems to get a chance to mature and he comes back fresh and keen and not stale. Its been the making of him:D

Oh, he's 7 now btw!
 

Vicki100

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Jun 12, 2009
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Ive always wondered this to denisextilly.

I backed my boy last summer, i decided not to turn him away from work completley.

I still rode/lunged at least once a week, which is hardly a big workload lol :giggle:

Hes the kind of pony that gets lazy and 'pretends' to forget everything if i let him have a long amount of time off, so i wont be doing it this winter either :happy:
 

sjames86

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Nov 25, 2009
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i am interested in this too as I need to know what to do with Chico is i decide not to sell him (i am still deciding!).

Can someone explain how not riding them for a few months helps them? Dont they forget what to do?
 

popularfurball

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I dont know, I just thought it was because they have so much "new stuff" to learn and take in, that turning them away gives them serious TO and allows them to grow up and take on board what they have learnt?
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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it gives them a chance to mature mentally and physically and just have a bit of a break, and also given the weather and limited daylight, they get a chance to chill and relax, rather than you having to ride a very fresh young pony who is ready to explode, particularly if you are on a yard where they are not given much turnout.

the turnout situation is the key thing, if they are mainly stabled, then you might want to do a bit of work with them loose in the school so they can burn off energy. but if they can either be out 24.7 or in at night, then giving them time off for 3-4 months over the winter rarely does them any harm.
 

denisextilly

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Hmmm, would I have to start all over again though come spring or will he remember ?Or could I semi turn him away and just do a little bit like vikki100 ?:frown::unsure:
 

Libbyo

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I turn away. NOt necessarily over winter, but when required. I find they learn then the learning stagnates. That that stage I give them a break for a few weeks, and then resume. Ive found so far that it works and they remember their learned stuff. Its a bit like giving kids school holidays I guess.
 

Roxy's Mum

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I guess you could think of it being similar to when you were in school.

You spend the majority of the year learning and being taught stuff. It can be hard work, a bit scary, a bit stressful. Similar with a horse. Maybe say you ride 3 times a week from spring through to autumn - the horse will be learning a lot, having fun out on hacks but also having to engage themselves in mental and physical challenges, no matter how big or trivial it may seem to us, for the horse it can be quite different.

I guess turning away for winter, especially for a youngster, can be a bit like the school holidays. A chance to just have some space, let everything sink in for a bit. Horses a slower thinkers than we are and it takes a while for things to sink in when they're being taught - but they won't forget. I bet you'd be surprised!
 

nat17

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The usual practice of turning away for the winter is for 3 year old's. You would break them in Spring/Summer of 3rd Year, then turn away for the winter, and bring back into work on the 4th year. Then they start their working life properly. It gives a young horse chance to absorb what you have taught it.

It tends to benefit horses in training for something, being broken or recovering from something. You would not start all over again, you would just go through the basics to begin with, they don't forget anything as such, just maybe a little rusty. Some Hunters tend to end their season and then be turned away for the summer instead, then get worked again and start to get fit for hunting season.

You could turn him away and ride once week, its not rule as such, if he's turned away you cant do anything with them. Good point on the turnout though, if your horse is stabled a lot you may need to offer some work.
 

sjames86

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what should i do with Chico.
He has been backed and riding for 5 weeks. Being ridden for 30 minutes 6 days a week, 7th day he gets a rest.
He is stabled overnight and turned out everyday.
When should i think about reducing his training?
 

devonlass

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As mentioned it is usual practice for 3 year olds,they are backed and do simple training then are turned away to grow up mentally and physically,ready to be brought back into work properlay as a 4 year old.

I see huge benefits with it TBH,they don't forget things,they might need a brief refresher when brought back into work,but usually pick it up again quickly.Sometimes training for a young horse can be confusing and hard work,it takes a fair bit out of them and they can if pushed too hard too soon become sour and develop problems with behaviour.Turning away gives them a chance to chill,not to have to think about stuff too much,and generally be a horse,rather than someones hobby or leisure time.

They usually come back refreshed and keener to be educated.I guess it's like people when they are pushed too hard and pressured they become resentful and frustrated with the whole thing.
That's not to say that you can't do anything with them if you still wanted to,and even if do some ridden work then that should be fine and can still be incorporated with being turned away,IMO anyway.I guess it's about balance,as long as they have enough time to relax and not have to think about too much,then doing some stuff they enjoy shouldn't be a problem,it varies with every horse obviously,but most don't mind doing some low key easy stuff.

There is also the element of the time of year,I find turning away in winter useful from my own POV (and I do it with my horses whatever their age for at least some of the winter).I don't have facilites so doing any work is difficult,and TBH quite stressful.Taking the pressure off me to work them helps me relax and enjoy them more,and so in turn stops my stress transferring to them,which particualrly with youngsters is hugely important.If they sense you are worried or stressed then they will be too.

Sorry that was longwinded,and is only my opinion of course,but hope it was of some help:smile:
 

nat17

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what should i do with Chico.
He has been backed and riding for 5 weeks. Being ridden for 30 minutes 6 days a week, 7th day he gets a rest.
He is stabled overnight and turned out everyday.
When should i think about reducing his training?

You will get many opinions but me personally would work him as you have till October, then reduce slowly through to xmas, then let him have Jan/Feb/March off, start slowly in April again. Only my opinion though.

I gave Sam (4 yo) December,Jan, Feb,March off, mainly for same reasons as Devonlass. Came back into work the same as he left it:happy:
 

Elly Koopman

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It also comes down to practicality - as there aren't the hours during winter to ride out, and the weather can be against for schooling in outdoor arenas so it's easier to turn away over winter. When I started, my aunt said it was also to do with backing 3yr olds, but whearas older horses would maybe be hunted, the 3yr olds weren't ready so then got sent away.

Nugz got turned away from August 2009 till MArch this year and it certainly helped him. Unfortunate I can't go for more than about 4 days without doing something with him before he starts becoming a terror, so not sure what I'll do this winter (he's 4)...!
 

Jane&Ziggy

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For what it's worth, I believe that the UK is the only country in the world where it is considered usual to turn horses away. Everywhere else goes on working them continuously (at varying workloads of course).

I have no knowledge to add but could see the benefits from the rider perspective of not having to hack it through the winter! :wink:
 
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