I’ve been really struggling with recovering from some bruised ribs – three weeks seems like it should be plenty of time to mend, but apparently no one told my ribs that. 😉
There are so many things I need to be doing, both horse care and horse training related, but I’m only able to do the basics of keeping them fed and healthy, and even that still is requiring a lot of help from my family.
I know I’m not the only one who struggles with something like this. We all go through seasons when our horses have to take a back seat. Maybe it’s our own health, or the health of a loved one. Maybe it’s a new job, or a big project, or a move. Any number of life events can take our focus off regular training with our horses.
And that’s okay.
Your horse doesn’t mind. As long as they have food and friends and the freedom to do horsey things together, they’re happy.
Your training won’t be set back. Your horse will remember everything you’ve worked on, and they’ll even think about it while they’re off. I’ve often found that after a winter layoff my horses come back in the spring with a more solid understanding of what we were working on in the fall.
They might lose fitness, but you can minimize that by allowing them as much turnout with their herd as possible, and muscle memory will mean that they will recover their previous fitness more quickly when they return to work.
And they’ll have time to heal any niggling injuries you might not even know about, and destress and really relax if they’ve had a busy show or training season. Time to just “be a horse” is invaluable.
Take the time, and don’t feel badly. Just be with your horse if you have a chance, and don’t feel guilty that you aren’t “working” on anything.
There is always another day, another year, another show. You’re doing what you need to right now, and your horse, and your goals, will be there when you’re ready.
3 thoughts on “Downtime is okay.”
It took me awhile, but I’m finally in the place where I can accept the fact that I just don’t have it in me to work with my horses very much. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and clinical depression. All made worse by the pandemic. Also, my family is growing through marriages and grand babies, so my priorities have changed. I’ve spent way too much time berating myself for not living up to my misplaced expectations. I’ve recently just started sitting with the Mini herd and hugging on my Big herd at the end of the day. Interestingly, since doing this a couple of my rescues have become more interested in me and more inclined to offer a touch of the nose to my hand. One of them actually poked me the other day for a pet. This is after 3 yrs of trying to “reach” them. I’m elated when they all gather round impatiently waiting for their turn with mama. Thanks for the professional affirmation that horses are okay just being horses.
I so understand this, both the wanting to work with them and downtime helping. I only have two minis but with working full time, helping another friend part time, and just life getting in the way I can really only devote training time to the horse I’m competing this year.
Because of this, my mare has had a year off from driving. We have grooming sessions, done a little ground work and playing in the arena, but that is about it. When I hitched her for a short drive the other weekend she was SO much more relaxed and comfortable than she had been a year ago.
Time off is good for all of us! I hope you’re back up to 100% soon
I agree that it is okay to give yourself some slack and give the horses some down time. Just be their buddy, with that a firm mind set that you must still mind me and behave and enjoying the communicating with them and not always demanding of them.
I have had to deal with health issues this summer, so I am happy of my accomplishments that I achieved in the spring.
There are other days to continue were you and your horse left off, and they will remember .
Enjoy the time to watch them run and play with their buddies, I always have found it fascinating and learn how they communicate with each other.