Should Horses Have A Day Off?

So my horse’s routine includes one lunge day, one hack day, and one day off – or at least that is what we aim for. Obviously with this horrid weather outside, it is a bit hit and miss as to whether the dream week has actually happened.I usually use Sunday as my day off! Hello lie-in.

I like to think that the lunge day provides the consistent connection – through side reins – that sometimes I cannot give because I am tired, or am concentrating on something else. The day off is for him to just be a horse, and the hack day is so we can both enjoy some freedom, but also keep his legs – tendons and muscles – toughening up. Also, who doesn’t love a good gallop.

There are some pros to routine, but I think that without a doubt, a day off is good. Reasons for, and against are below.

Day off: 

Pro #1: Rest day 

For your horse, it is a time to unwind, not be played around with by a human, and relax. You can use this time to clean the cupboards out, maybe spray down his stable, or clean your tack (God forbid), similarly, you might want to have a rest day and have a lie in!

Pro #2: Reload

Sometimes you can have an annoying time with your schooling – something didn’t quite go right, or you are frustrated by how far you have, or have not come in the last week. I would advise that you use your day off to reload, let both of you just recharge ready for the next week ahead.

Pro #3: Grazing 

Whether in the stable or field, a horse’s favourite thing to do is graze. Grazing is their natural habit. Allow them to do it sometimes, allow them to just be them, and just do what they love!

Day off:

Con #1: Some horses are so hard wired that they cannot unwind without causing damage to themselves, or others. Messing around in the stable and/or field.

Con #2: It is hard to fit it in on a tight schedule – this, I am afraid, is just an excuse – you can fit a day off in any time. The same way you can fit a duvet day in when it is raining!

Con #3: I am struggling… this may be because I think it should happen. Give me a nudge towards another negative if you think there is one below!Good planning, in my opinion, allows for a day off.

Get organising, get that day off.

What are your views? Should a horse have a day off or not? 


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