Saddling in minus 20 degree Weather??? - Page 2

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Saddling in minus 20 degree Weather???

This is a discussion on Saddling in minus 20 degree Weather??? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    01-30-2010, 02:58 PM
Just got in the house . It was gorgous out there. If you are dressed properly it is no problem. Actually I got hot and removed my heavy gloves and put on my thin skin tight plastic ones.
It is still about minus 12 or about 10 F but the sun is very strong. There are pockets where you feel the heat.
I do a normal 10 mile loop but today at the far side of the loop the snowmobile trails heading north beckoned to me so I took them up. We headed north for 3 or 4 miles and then turned around a headed home. Home is still 9 or 10 miles away so I thought I better get going.
Tomorrow I will run the same trail again but this time I will not turn around as quickly.
I find winter riding the best, cool running temperatures, no bugs, no crops and the snowmobile trails run for thousands of miles.
Dressed properly you can escape the cold.
Rio was getting a little wet, his breath coated his neck in white frost, very pretty. I don't worry about breathing in the cold. I use to worry but spend decades running in cold and you find it doesn't harm a horse.
I did have a wet boy when I got back but I brushed against the hair and then blanketed and put out with a fresh bale of hay for him to eat.

Regardless of the temperature, the weather we will once agian make the run tomorrow as we do every weekend.

I prefer to run alone, while company is nice it forces me to compromise.
A few weeks ago a yound girl, 15, tall , lean , a supposedly good rider asked me to take her for a run. I supplies the horse and saddle and showed her how to hold the reins, she is an English rider and we had a fantastic run. She just sad back, lots of loose rein and let her horse work. He would alternate between the lope and the trot depending on how he was keeping up to my boy. We cut 1 hour out of my normal run time just because she could ride and keep up. Any rider forces me to slow down, to compromise.
I am really hoping the cold keeps a lady friend who often runs with me Sundays home where she should be and I get to run the hard packed snowmobile trails alone.

It is gorgous out there. Sunglass day for sure
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    01-30-2010, 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by churumbeque    
I hope you do not ride with a metal bit. It will freeze the corners of the horses mouths.

He does and it won't.
    01-30-2010, 03:03 PM
It doesn't get quite that cold here but I ride all winter. The best thing I have found is the wool gloves that are fingerless but have the mitten part that you can close over your fingers. When it is really cold I put a pair of light cotton gloves on first so my fingers are not totally exposed but I can still do what I need to.
    01-30-2010, 03:04 PM
I buy thermal riding gloves, they're kind of bulky but not so much that I can't move my fingers, and to seal the deal I use those hand warmer things that you stick in your gloves and they heat up. They're awesome.
I do that with my toes too, along with 3 or 4 wool socks.
I wear a pair of wool leggings, with a pair of fleece lined thermal riding breeches, and a warm pair of sweatpants over that.
I wear a long sleeve thermal shirt, a sweater, and my northface jacket, I only dress so lightly on top so I can move around easily, my upper body generally stays warm. I wear a hat until I ride.
I warm up my horses bit under some really warm water [then I dry it of course] or I blow it with the heat of a hair dryer. I don't like to ride to long in this weather because I lose feeling in my toes and such. I rode today it was 2 degrees out, I had to go into the lounge of the barn to switch from my bulky warm gloves to my thinner riding gloves, and to put my hair up.
I usually warm up very fast when me and my horse are working, and we have an indoor ring to prevent us from the elements.
Just keep your chin up, spring will come eventually!
    01-30-2010, 03:05 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by churumbeque    
I hope you do not ride with a metal bit. It will freeze the corners of the horses mouths.
Oh good grief, it will not. I've been riding in -40 degree winters since I was knee high to a grasshopper and a bit has never frozen to any mouth. The heat from the mouth does not provide any opportunity for freezing to occur. Maybe if you're stupid enough to slap a cold bit in without warming it up you may have problems, but otherwise, no.

To be honest? I deal with the freezing. For the most part, my fingers are nimble and my leather supple enough that I can get away with wearing little gloves just for tacking up if it's hovering around -20 with the windchill. Once it hits -40 and lower with the windchill, we essentially are forced to ride bareback. The leather freezes, you can't work with it, and even if you DO get your horse tacked up, it's a 10 minute ride because your legs are numb within minutes.

The cold, for the most part, honestly does not bother us. I very rarely get cold hands and feet to begin with - if I have to tack up a horse in bitter weather, I slip my gloves off for a minute, work quickly to get something done up, and then put my mitts back on for a minute. It sucks, but within a minute my fingers are warm and I'm ready to do something else up.

As far as footing in winter, you'd be amazed. Deep snow is quite possibly the BEST footing for horses. We avoid roads mostly, we don't shoe our horses so about mid-winter when the roads turn to solid ice, we stick to the front yard and the field. When you live as cold as we do, you only have to be careful about riding in deep snow when it's freezing cold - the top layer forms a crust that will cut your horses legs and allow fungus to develop. We actually form well laid paths in the front yard, so on cold days, we avoid the untouched parts of snow. Other then that, I feel 20x safer cantering a circle in a foot of snow in our front yard then I do cantering the same circle on slippery grass in summer. On the off chance they flounder in deep snow, you have a foot of cushioning to stop your fall!
    01-30-2010, 04:21 PM
There are a lot of reasons as to why it would have been better for me to have been born in either the US, Canada or Australiasia but the climate is not one of them. We had one winter spell over Christmas, but as of today, there is no sign of it. In the South, the 2010 rich green grass is already growing. We are promised another spell of cold weather but it should not last long.

DiDi is back out working - she's training to be a show jumper for the coming season. She seems to be loving it.

If I lived out Rios way or over in Winnepeg with Mij, up in the snow, then I'd have to buy a very thick fur hat to protect my wrinkled bald pate. As for my dainty fingers - perish the thought. My Irish huzzy DiDi is used to wet winds
And rain but she doesn't do snow.

I think I'll stay here. Sounds a trifle nippy over your part of the globe to me.

    01-30-2010, 04:27 PM
Warm up the bit before you put it in her mouth, a cold bit is painful and it might be difficult to make her take a bit again.
    01-30-2010, 04:44 PM
Green Broke
We keep our metal bits in the house to keep them warm, as it's way to cold to warm them up with your hands properly. If by chance a bridle does get left outside, a few minutes on a heat vent in the house or running it under hot water and drying it properly also gets the job done quickly.
    01-30-2010, 05:12 PM
Ah, wintertime! I tack up in the heated barn (not warm, per se, but warmer than outside!), keep the tack warm in the tack room for as long as possible, and wear insulated gloves whenever possible. I have found that there really aren't too many things that you can't do with gloves on. I even bridle with gloves, and I can get most of the buckles done up without having to remove my hand-warming-devices.

Also, when I ride outside in the winter, I ride bareback to keep toasty warm. It greatly improves your core strength and balance, and there is no way you can be riding bareback and get cold!
    01-30-2010, 05:17 PM
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
It doesn't get quite that cold here but I ride all winter. The best thing I have found is the wool gloves that are fingerless but have the mitten part that you can close over your fingers. When it is really cold I put a pair of light cotton gloves on first so my fingers are not totally exposed but I can still do what I need to.
Kevin those are exactly the gloves I ride in. I can peel the flap back and have my bare fingers or pull the flap over the fingers and be nice and toasty.. I am warm by nature so cold hands and feet don't really bother me.
I also have a great hat, one the buckles under my chin like a helmet but it is only a hat and a weather suit material face shield.
I ride with heavy chaps and duck boots and my legs and feet are toasty. Also travelling at a good pace warms you up.

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