Horses with a purpose are used to hard training and routine like humans and they won’t completely just “let down.”
I think it’s important to still give them some attention and sense of routine. Some horses may just like being left alone, in which case is really easy to let them be and not worry about them. For horses that are more demanding / human dependent, or who will start pacing the fence line out in the paddock as soon as you turn your back are the ones we all struggle with the most.
My top tips would be to only turn out as much as they’re used to at the start and maybe progress to longer if you can, or maybe even try turning out with a friendly horse to keep company. Horses that like and need a job are best to still do some sort of controlled exercising even if it’s every other day.
Alternate what you do with them so that they’re not always out hacking or just going in the school. You could even use this time to polish up on your ground work (eg horsemanship, stable management). Something enough to keep their brains thinking.
You can try giving them treat balls or hanging toys to keep them entertained in their stables.
Feeding wise, they get as much forage as they need, I like to cut their hard feeds a little but not so much that they start to lose condition. We feed our horses Baileys and even with cutting down on their feeds I’ll always give them a low starch diet to keep them looking and feeling good and Performance Balancer which helps keep their top line too. Of course, with any changes you want to be aware of any Tying up or Laminitis!
Any routine is changeable, and all horses adapt differently but if they’re happy then we’re happy. 🙂
Coriander Cousins – Groom for 5* event rider Chris Burton
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