I’m terribly careful with my horses and their schedules. I’m a little bit of a nut about making sure they get down time, not just for their bodies, but also for their brains. They’re all individuals, of course, and some can handle more shows and more work than others. But in my time with Ella I’ve learned that while she’s a good girl and she’ll work hard for me, she’s at her best when she shows about once a month, and also only for a few months at a time.

I’ve also learned that she’s a nuisance in her down time—she stays polite for about five days, and then gets antsy, romping around in turnout, biting my staff, and then terribly lazy to ride. Average time I give her off? Two to three weeks. (That’s a lot of biting.)

But it’s worth it, because she’s so much better after her down time. She’s fresher through her body and looser through her back, but mostly she’s fresher in her mind. Ella’s at her best when she’s feisty.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!