Turning Away the Riding Club/Leisure Horse?

laceyfreckle

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2007
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Hmm, After reading a article in a horse mag recently about turning away most horses at some point in the year for 6-8 weeks I am considering doing this with Harvey. Piccolo will need to be turned away at some point this winter anyway so she can be brought back up into work aas a rising 4yr old in the spring.

So...Do you think turning away is beneficial?

Harvey had taken in a lot this last year and also competed well at riding club level in showing, dressage and SJ. We also do a lot of groundwork. He has been re-schooled quite a lot and his attitude has changed dramatically for the better.

Recently though I have felt a bit stagnated, not sure what to work on and competitions are over until next spring for us now. I am considering working on tidying up loose ends over the next few weeks so he is turned away after doing 'good' work where he feels he is getting everything right, gentle hacking for the last week and then turning him away with Piccolo from 17th Nov to 29th Dec, then at end of Dec bringing him in overnight and having him clipped and start training ready for the next year.

At the moment he is living out in a 200g rug and has a chaser/irish clip. He is keeping good weight and is on balancer, hi fi lite and a little bit of speedibeet By the time he is turned away his clip will have grown out, I'll stop his feed as he won't be working at all and give him adlib hay instead if the grass is lacking and will try no rug unless it's wet and cold and a rainsheet if he needs it.

It will mean he'll get 6 weeks to reflect....is that a good thing?

The alternative is to keep working him 4 times a week during the winter and have him stabled at night, clipped in irish/chaser and rugged. Prob is I've got a bit stale in what to do with him!

Pic will be turned away this winter regardless. If Boo ges too disapointed at having a 6 week break then she may get a riding lesson every two weeks lol.

What do you think? What do you do?
 

stressy

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Apr 22, 2009
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I personally wouldnt but thats because my horse would turn into a lil madam again! I think its down to the individual horse. mine needs to be worked to keep her in check, she had 5 days off a couple of weeks ago and when i went to ride her again she was a cow! Can also depend on age, if the horse is young- around 4 I would say a break would be beneficial, I would also say a horse who is esablished and knows his job would be fine to turn away for a bit- they do it with hunters and racehorses.
 

eml

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I don't think it matters either way. Turning away a fit competition horse (eg racing or 3day event fit) for a holiday is a bit different from the average horse. Indeed people these days do not do so much turn away even at that level as the season is so extended with arena eventing, all weather raciing etc.I certainly would turn away a growing youngster though.
 

volcy

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Nov 6, 2008
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My horse has just had a summer off, she was ridden by someone for the first few weeks I was away and then probably had about 3 months of no work so she just chilled in the field with the others. I was slightly concerned about getting back on her but actually she seems to have enjoyed her summer off and is responding well to getting back into work, and is going forward better than she used to (I thought this would revert back once she had settled into going out again but apparently not!) she had worked pretty hard just hacking etc but long rides from February when the snow improved right up until June when I went away so maybe she thought she had earned the break!

One of the people I share a field with turns her horse away from December until February to as she puts it "just be a horse" and she thinks it helps him, part of that is because she is limited for time in the winter but she wanted to give him some time off and this suited her the best.
 

Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
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Recently though I have felt a bit stagnated, not sure what to work on

I've been feeling like this in the last few weeks - we had a race on to get as much riding in to build up my horse's and my confidence. Now that the clocks are about to change I've lost my motivation and am concerned about going into the winter. Flipo has spent a lot of time in the school because of my fear of falling off. Having gone out a few times more recently, I can now see that he doesn't enjoy being in the school as much. This in turn is making me less motivated and I'm getting to a point where I'd like to stop all work in the school and just hack - but that's just too scary a prospect!
I think there will come a point where I won't be able to ride based purely on weather conditions - I don't trust him on icey ground so the really cold days will be a no no. I know he's not a horse that needs ridden every day. Indeed, he had two weeks off followed by a very slow walk for an hour and he choose to lie down half way round!
I'm not sure if I feel there's any truth to the suggestion that it gives them time to consolidate and think about what they've experienced but its convenient from my perspective on the weather and I hope that having a break from the school will help when we go back to it, newly motivated and ready for the spring. As for the negatives, all I'm aware of my confidence level and Flipo's expanding waistline. Hopefully he'll lose a bit over the winter, obviously not starving him though.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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I am thinking of giving Ziggy and Mattie a holiday around Christmas for a month. They will have two new field mates by then and their owner is thinking of giving her boys a month off too. It's more about convenience than anything else!
 

Midnight_Ashes

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I think it will do him good - a break is good! If he's not the sort to take to being out of work (as one of mine isn't) then a change is as good as a rest, so maybe just hack once or twice a week if he isn't happy out of work.
:)
 

Skippys Mum

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Arnie has managed at least a couple of months off every year since he's been ridden due to one thing or another (teeth, snow, work commitments).

Every single time he has come back better and fresher than he's gone away. I think he enjoys his wee holiday but he is keen to get going again:D.

He is still in at night though so still getting basic handling - he's not getting roughed off.
 

laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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I personally wouldnt but thats because my horse would turn into a lil madam again! I think its down to the individual horse. mine needs to be worked to keep her in check, she had 5 days off a couple of weeks ago and when i went to ride her again she was a cow! Can also depend on age, if the horse is young- around 4 I would say a break would be beneficial, I would also say a horse who is esablished and knows his job would be fine to turn away for a bit- they do it with hunters and racehorses.

This is one of my concerns as Harvey is a bit like yours. He is great if ridden around 4+ times a week, ok if ridden 2-3 and diabolicle if you only ride him once a week lol. Although saying that he never gets 'worse' then he is after 5-6 days if you know what I mean....if left for 2 weeks he is no worse then if left for 5 days. Normally I get the ants out of his pants by lunging or doing groundwork for the first 10 minutes (sometimes first day) if he hasn't been ridden for 5 days or more.

He's 13 so definitely not young but not old either.

.I certainly would turn away a growing youngster though.

Pic will definitely be turned away this year...she's only 3 at the moment and it will be nice to let her grow and bring her back in fresh next spring.

One of the people I share a field with turns her horse away from December until February to as she puts it "just be a horse"
.

This is kind of the reason I was thinking about it with Harvey. It's safe to say he doesn't actually realise he's a horse for the most part and can at times be a bit 'emotionally frail'. It's quite easy to overface him/make him dull so wondering if it might benefit him.

I can now see that he doesn't enjoy being in the school as much. This in turn is making me less motivated and I'm getting to a point where I'd like to stop all work in the school and just hack - but that's just too scary a prospect!
I'm not sure if I feel there's any truth to the suggestion that it gives them time to consolidate and think about what they've experienced but its convenient from my perspective on the weather and I hope that having a break from the school will help when we go back to it, newly motivated and ready for the spring. QUOTE]

Well Harvey and hacking is still a bit interesting.....he can be either 110% safe or 100% spooky lol. Autumn and winter he is spookier then in spring. However in the field (don't have a school) he is 110% in every way. In a way that doesn't help as it makes it hard to school with purpose. He's not boring to school but sometimes I get there and just wonder what to do today. It would give me more time to myself for a few weeks before kids break up for xmas.

I think it will do him good - a break is good! If he's not the sort to take to being out of work (as one of mine isn't) then a change is as good as a rest, so maybe just hack once or twice a week if he isn't happy out of work.
:)

Harvey is a bit 'all or nothing' I need to either decide to work him 4 times a week or to give him the time off .....he isn't really the sort to be ridden once a week or so. Hacking he is only 'behaved' in if he has been worked fairly hard that week. He does like hacking but can be a bit spooky/energetic if he's had not a lot of ridden work. All our hacking is mostly on roads as well.



He is still in at night though so still getting basic handling - he's not getting roughed off.

I think if i did do it then I would attempt to rough Harvey off but would bring him in at night if he wasn't coping, which is a possibility.
 

laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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Is Harvey the beautiful little dun pony? If I have got the right person, then he can come and live with me for his holidays :D

Nope, wrong pony lol.........He's the grumpy and occasionally affectionate chestnut one :wink:

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Midnight_Ashes

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Ah well you can keep him :tongue:

Who am I thinking of then? I think he's about 13hh and belongs to a slim lady with dark hair who usually (in her pics anyway) wears a dark blue body protector and is always very smiley?? I can picture the photo in my head but no idea who it is?!?
 
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laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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Ah well you can keep him :tongue:

Who am I thinking of then? I think he's about 13hh and belongs to a slim lady with dark hair who usually (in her pics anyway) wears a dark blue body protector and is always very smiley?? I can picture the photo in my head but no idea who it is?!?

Not sure who you're thinking of? Unless are you thinking of Vicki100 (think that's her name, and her dun pony that changes colour in winter...can't remember his name but I know who you mean I think, he;s only young too)

The fact you said the owner was slim made me know it wasn't me lol.
 

Flipo's Mum

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Ah well you can keep him :tongue:

Who am I thinking of then? I think he's about 13hh and belongs to a slim lady with dark hair who usually (in her pics anyway) wears a dark blue body protector and is always very smiley?? I can picture the photo in my head but no idea who it is?!?

Minkersmum? She's got a thing for the highland/haflinger/fjord types at her RS - and has a loan pony called Dylan. Could it be her - the clue has to be in the smiliness!
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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The average privately owned pleasure horse doesn't do enough work these days to need a holiday.

We used to turn the RS horses away if they got sour. A month away from people brought a smile back to their face.
 

fairlady

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Jul 14, 2007
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Well, I am not exactly planning on turning my two away, but am not planning on doing too much either................'fence sitter' lol.:mstickle:


They will still be handled daily and depending on Berties weight he may be lunged. If the Weather is nice and the wind in the right direction, he may be ridden by Lani, or I may do something with Sioned, or we may just go out for a walk and enjoy the Winter SUNSHINE, lol.

If however, if its dark, windy, wet or even worse, SNOW and I am pushed for time they will have
their needs met and I am not going to 'stress' about doing next to nought
with them:wink:

We are gonna chill and take the Winter in a 'relaxed' manner and sit it
out and wait for SPRING:giggle:
 
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Dark Storm

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Jan 4, 2009
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If it's anything like last winter, my horse will get enforced rest anyway.. once the frost arrives, the lane turns into an ice skating ring, and even turn out is dicey.. they ended up in the paddock behind the yard, as if was 10 yards away from the stable door.. I think he wasn't ridden for about 5 weeks, but for him, as he had a bad back at the time anyway, it actually did him a world of good, and he's come on in leaps and bounds since..
So, some times the weather comes between riding and horse, so maybe use these icy/snowy days to give your horse that rest :happy: maybe go sledging or skating instead.. just don't fall over!:giggle:
 
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