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.
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!
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?