The rest and recovery process for the horses (how and for how long):
“Rest and recovery time really depends on the horse and its age. Generally, for horses up to 8-9 years old, we try to give them a 2-month winter break from competition. In any case, they don’t compete for 2 to 3 months, to then start back in the spring on outdoor trails and tracks.
For slightly older horses, or those with more set routines, like Twenty, I know that she shouldn’t rest for too long. We avoid 2 to 3-month breaks from competition and instead take just a few weeks, say 5 or 6 weeks, without competing. That said, she has to keep up the training to be sound in mind and body. She’s the kind of mare that needs it.
Often, with older horses, we have to manage them differently and try to find the right number of weeks in and out of competition that suits each horse. That’s also why it’s important to have several horses to give them a break, let them rest and to compete in the right number of events so that they are competitive.
Then, for me, when it comes to maintaining horses, it’s their mindset that counts. Is the horse happy? Does it want to work? That’s why it’s key to try to vary their work-outs, change their routines and habits and not do the same exercises in the same place (dressage ring or covered arena). You can also try making up games with them to make the training more fun so that they enjoy working with you.”