Just like running barrels tends to be seasonal depending on your location and association, it seems to be the same for my blog! Winter time isn't as crazy, evenings when it is dark and to cold by 7-8 I am in the house and actually have time for the blogs. That got me to thinking though, do you put your horse on the back-burner during the winter? If so, do you have a spring get into shape routine to keep your horse happy and performing their best? In the south I am very fortunate to not have negative degree weather, and I am actually close to some indoor arenas for rainy season. I teach lessons, obviously, so that makes me have to mess with alot of the horses when I don't really care to do more then feed and clean, but a lesson horse is different then performance horses. Barrel horses have the rep for being high strung, that gets worse in winter alot of times. Sometimes you don't want to have to do a training session, or deal with high-strung, and the less you ride the worse that gets and the more prone to injury they are. Something I do alot with my hyper boy is as much turn out time with his pasture mates as possible, usually 9-10 in the morning until around 5:30 in the evening. Also, my horses have 12x24 stalls so they are not confined even inside. But that still isn't riding, when I ride him, circles are my friends, as are trail rides, and I constantly "mess with" him. I do not mean pick on or handle, I mean keeping his brain working, turning into panels, serpentines, turning tires after working barrels, throwing ropes, anything to make him pay attention. Time off is an excellent thing, but I also believe that horses are made to be active and work, otherwise they start showing out. Set down one day and draw out a weekly goal, maybe it is only riding your horse bareback twice a week or for a total workout time of an hour, or possibly lunging. My biggest downfall is after lessons, cleaning 8 stalls and the 100 million little things that life with horses throw my way, I don't care to ride, so find a friend, or someone that wants to ride with you, and make it a set thing. Sometimes you have to make time and force yourself to do things, but many times the benefit is beyond worth it.