Legging Up Your Horse Following a Break

Beth Sokohl on Buckharo and Kate Chadderton on Collection Pass out for an afternoon hack. Beth Sokohl on Buckharo and Kate Chadderton on Collection Pass out for an afternoon hack.

For me, Thanksgiving not only means bountiful amounts of delicious food, it also marks the end of most of my horses’ holidays.

After a 3-Day Event (or the end of the season), they get a break from riding and the opportunity to hang out and get fat (much like me!). Over time I’ve found that the Thoroughbred horses enjoy the routine of being in work and often want to come back in.

For the first week they only walk. If the weather is lovely they’ll go into the woods, if the weather is average they’ll hack around the farm, and if it’s snowing then it’s straight to the indoor. As I’ve said in the past, I’m a big proponent of walking on hard surfaces to aid soundness.

After the first week, I add in some trot basic trot work. Nothing too stressful on the horse, and I use the opportunity to work on my position.

By the third week we’re cantering and starting to do a few movements. In this time there’s nothing too stressful, it’s more about strengthening their bodies than fine tuning.

My horses normally start competing late January, and I find this routine helps get them where they need to be in time to be ready to compete.

Looking for more useful tips and tricks? Check out Kate Chadderton’s previous columns here.

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