"I don't think it's a service for horses to be beating the heat and the flies. That
goes for being turned out when it's excessively wet, cold and windy. If you're giving them
a break, they need a place that's comfortable and peaceful. Turnout is good when it's a
positive experience for horses," Kulak says.
The New York and Florida resident says it's best to combine turnout with riding.
"Vacation to a horse can mean a modified training regime and schedule. Standing in a
stall day after day is not a vacation to a horse. Do anything you can to minimize the
stress in their lives, but maximize their need for freedom to roll, buck and play. That
improves their physical and mental outlook on life. It's a very pleasant break for a horse."
Minimize the amount of training you do. Walk on a loose rein in a pleasant countryside
with good footing, Kulak says. But don't get carried away with time off. "I certainly am not
a believer in giving a sound horse two or three months off at a time," she explains.
Feed a higher-quality forage and less concentrate or grain during vacation, Kulak
counsels. "High-quality hay is very important, with a minimal amount of grain added for
that horse's body type and work level.
"If you are reducing the amount of output from a horse, that horse should be on
pasture more, and the feed adjusted accordingly. Gradually reduce grain over a week,"
Another point Kulak stresses is that good-quality hay reduces the boredom factor of
a stalled horse.
"We like to have something in front of horses all the time. If you're in a situation
where horses can have forage or hay 24-hours a day, that's very important. Horses were
meant to be eating 22 hours a day. We try to make them conform to our lifestyle and
schedules, and that's not really ideal," she says.
Resting a horse also means you still play close attention to equine maintenance,
including grooming and shoeing. Regular deworming must be continued, as well as proper