Some eventers prescribe pretty heavily on the winter vacation for their horses. Shoes get pulled, clipping gets put off, and horses get thrown into fields to be wild beasts for a while. This year, May got a bit of a mini version of that. The occasional light ride and, due to her fierce love affair with the round bale, a LOT of turnout.
However, this vacation wasn’t really for May. Does she feel great with a bit of a break? Totally. Would she probably have felt as good if we just did a lot of easy, stretchy work a couple of times a week for a while? Probably. And she’d be a bit fitter.
But… this break was for me. I love my horse. I love riding. And I love eventing. But last time, temps dropped into the 20s before the sun went down, the world of KY was covered in INCHES of mud, and I didn’t want to go to the barn. So I didn’t. May got an extra day off.
As eventers, we often put our own needs (mentally and physically) behind those of our horses. And while that is all well and good, sometimes, it’s ok to take a step back. To reevaluate what we need to be happy and healthy in this sport and in life, and to change course a bit.
Now though, I am starting to lift my eyes up from my feet and looking a bit more ahead. We have a couple of early shows on the calendar that I am INCREDIBLY excited for. We are going back to Spring Bay (aka Storm Bay/Snow Bay) in early April, but at the Beginner Novice level this year. Pray for good footing people!
Then, we have a bit of a lull before our second show of the year, IEA. I have volunteered at this show for the past couple of years and just absolutely love it. The whole set up should suit May really well.
So for now, it’s time to get back at it. I need to make a schedule regarding our annual soundness check up and I need to get on a local saddle fitter’s calendar to reflock and replace the billets on my county. And May and I need to get back into the fitness game. My goal is for her to be Novice fit for her first BN… which means a lot more time in the saddle for me.
What about you? Do you give your horse (and yourself) any kind of break during the off season?