Our profile rider Nathalie talks about how she takes care of her young horses during this period and stresses the importance of rest.
My young horses and rest
Rest periods for young horses are extremely important and should be prioritised. This is because rest can be crucial to their physical and mental development. I adapt the rest periods of young horses partly according to the competition, but mainly according to the individual. For example, if your young horse is going to qualify and compete in Falsterbo, they should have a quieter period a few weeks before but then a longer full rest afterwards. It is important to choose your competitions, you can't be at everything.
My own young horses are extremely diverse in their need for rest. 6-year-old Lane 8 gets periodic rest for 1-2 weeks where she is ridden low intensity with lots of step and work from the ground, mixed with full days of rest. This is because she finds it mentally difficult not to be activated for an extended period of time. When I choose to give her rest in this way, it is to think long-term and sustainable. If she is completely crazy in the pasture and the box, I risk her getting injured. A horse with so much energy just standing and charging is not mentally well. In the long run, that's a risk of creating bad behavior.
A horse with so much energy just standing and charging is not mentally well.
Energy, my green 5 year old, on the other hand, will get a month of total rest and then a month of low-intensity riding. She has a calmer psyche and is able to rest for longer periods of time. As she came into the job of riding full time only a few months ago, it is extremely important for her body to recover. This is because her body has started to work in a new way and is building new muscles. Mentally it is also very important as she needs time to digest all the new information and impressions.
In the situation we all find ourselves in, I believe that rest must come first. Since we don't know whether the competitions will start in two weeks, two months or next year, we cannot drag out the training of the young horses. I hope that the competitions this year will be adapted to the current situation that has affected us all. If you feel stressed about the possibility of the SM having young horse classes and you want to be there, you can rest now and calmly still have your young horse ready. For me, the most important thing is that the young horses feel alert, fresh and ready for the task when the time comes. I'd rather miss a few young horse competitions myself now as my goal is to have Grand Prix horses in a few years.
For me, the most important thing is that the young horses feel alert, fresh and ready for the task when the time comes.