When not performing regular work, horses require steady exercise at regular periods during the intervals; if this be neglected, the horse becomes "soft," fat, and is predisposed to disease. In addition to exercise, as already mentioned, less food, especially grain, should be given, than during hard work. The best time for exercise will depend upon circumstances; the early morning is usually preferred by grooms, but to this there are objections; in the first place, sufficient time is not allowed, especially if the groom is not an early riser; in the second place, cleaning out the stable is not thoroughly done before starting; in the third place, in winter the mornings are cold and dark; and in the fourth place, the horse may not have had time to consume his morning feed before he is taken out.
For these reasons, it is preferable to have the horse exercised after breakfast.
The amount of exercise must depend upon the condition of the horse, upon the kind of work he has to perform, and other circumstances. Walking is, perhaps, better than any other exercise for the majority of horses, and two hours a day should be the minimum allowed. If the weather is cold, or if the horses are in gross condition, clothing should be worn.