Poll Recap: Does the Time Change Affect Your Horse Schedule?

Poll Recap: Does the Time Change Affect Your Horse Schedule?

Of the 702 respondents, 293 (42%) said they ride less when the clocks fall back to standard time because it’s dark when they get home in the evening.

Photo: iStock

For horse owners living in areas that observe daylight saving time, falling back to standard time in November can be less than pleasant. The hours of daylight you have to complete horse chores get substantially shorter you're faced with having to accomplish some tasks in the dark. 

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers how their horse schedules change when the clocks fall back to standard time. More than 700 people responded and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 702 respondents, 293 (42%) said they ride less because it’s dark when they get home in the evening. Another 182 individuals (26%) change their schedule to accommodate riding during the daylight or have a flexible schedule, and 149 respondents (21%) said they have a lit area or arena to work their horse. Only 20 readers (3%) said they don’t live in an area with a time change. The remaining 58 respondents (8%) listed other ways their horse schedule changes after the time change.

Poll Results

Photo: TheHorse.com

Additionally, more than 50 people commented about how the time change affects their horse time:

Some people commented on their riding schedules:

  • “My horse schedule is based on the sun, not the clock. The day starts when there's light.”
  • “The timing doesn't change; I just ride in the dark. I have high-visibility gear to ride at night.”
  • “I ride before I do my stable chores because I can do them after dark.”
  • “I ride only on weekends around mid-day, so there is always plenty of daylight riding time.”
  • “I just ride when I can (which is most days).”
  • “I ride in the morning.”

Others shared how they adjust their schedules as the daylight hours decrease:

  • “I ride for short periods of time and usually bareback, so I can ride several horses fast in winter.”
  • “I go to work an hour earlier, get home an hour earlier, but the day is too short for riding by early December.”
  • “Shorter rides mid-day due to the colder weather and less time to ride.”
  • “I only ride on weekends once the time changes.”
  • “I can only ride on weekends when the time changes. I hate it!”
  • “I have no indoor arena to work out in during the winter months, so my riding falls to once a week.”
  • “I just get a flashlight and ride around my paddock in the dark.”
  • “I have to rush home to get to the barn in time to do chores before I lose the light.”
  • “All activities take place earlier in the day.”

Some said the time change has no effect on their horse schedules:

  • “I'm retired, so I can ride whenever the mood hits me. I count my blessings.”
  • “I'm retired, so I can ride whenever I want. Nice!”
  • “Don't change my schedule at all. Ride before work regardless.”
  • “It doesn’t change. I am able to ride during the day.”
  • “I ride in the morning most days so it doesn’t affect my riding time!”
  • “I am homeschooled so I don't need to worry about time changes. I can ride whenever I want!”
  • “Because of job, can only ride on weekends. No change.”
  • “I’m retired. I ride when I want.”

A few commented that they don’t ride horses during this time of year:

  • “I never ride them, so it doesn't make a difference.”
  • “By the time the clocks change we are in single to minus digits here. We don't ride after mid-October.”
  • “I don't ride at all in the winter. It's too cold.”
  • “I don't ride when the time sets back so I put my horses on time off until next spring.”

And others left general comments:

  • “The daylight doesn't affect my riding schedule as much as it does feeding and turnout.”
  • “I do not have an arena!”
  • “The cold and snow affects riding more than time change.”
  • “Quality horse time comes on the weekends for me.”
  • “Feed when the sun rises and when it sets. It makes for happier horses!”
  • “I ride less, but that's got more to do with the fact that it's colder outside then the time change.”
  • “Regardless of the time change I drive to the barn in the winter at the same time and frequency.”
  • “Arizona, no time change. But I do try to ride mid-day in winter because of the shorter days.”

Learn how light impacts horses, whether or not a change from day turnout to nightly turnout can cause sleep problems in horses, get your horse property ready for winter with this checklist, and more tips on preparing your horses and farm for winter all at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: have you ever had acupuncture done for your horse? Vote now and tell us about your experience at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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