How Much Does Schedule Matter to Your Horse?

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Have you ever noticed how horses inherently know when it’s time to be fed, or how they will let you know if you’re late in turning them out? Horses are certainly schedule-oriented, some more than others. Here’s how you can use a horse’s schedule dependence to your advantage.

Use Schedule to Settle In

If you’ve looked at horses for sale and have bought a new horse, a regular schedule can help that horse to better settle in to his new agistment. While your horse will have undergone great amounts of change, establishing an initial schedule in terms of when he is fed, turned out, and brought back inside can help him to settle in. Regularly grooming and spending time with your horse can also introduce the idea that you will be a regular presence in his life.

Schedule Rides and Training Sessions Carefully

When you know your horse is subjected to a schedule, you should consider that schedule in timing your rides or training sessions. If your horse is often fed at 5:00, then scheduling a ride for 4:45 will mean that you’ll probably be dealing with an unfocused and antsy (and hungry) horse. It’s best to plan rides and training for times when you know that your horse will be relaxed and not expecting a new activity. Having a sense of the busier times at the agistment can also allow you to plan your training sessions so that you and your horse can both focus when things are quiet.

Keep Variety in a Horse’s Schedule

Though it might be tempting to let your horse continuously run on a repetitive schedule, allowing a horse to become too dependent on a schedule can cause problems. For instance, horses who always expect to be fed at a certain time will mean that you’ll have to keep that schedule, too. When changes occur to a horse’s schedule, a horse may react negatively, or may be stressed because of the changes.

While a schedule can help to keep a horse calm and confident, it’s a good idea to build variety into the horse’s schedule. Vary feeding times by an hour so that your horse is a little more flexible. Change up your routines on occasion so that your horse can deal with the changes that may occur if another person needs to care for him.

Schedules can be beneficial for horses, and many horses thrive on them. Just be sure that your new horse doesn’t get too set in his schedule, and that the schedule doesn’t become restrictive.

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