Riding in deep snow? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-18-2009, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Canada
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Riding in deep snow?

Is this dangerous? We get really deep snow here. Like over 3 feet. We don't have an indoor arena, so they either plow a really small path in the ring or we can ride on the road. Eventually, the path freezes over and gets slippery, so the only option is the road and I HATE road rides now because they paved our road and crazy people speed on it now. I was thinking that maybe when the snow comes, I could go riding in the field (the horses come in the paddocks for the winter) but I have heard before that it is dangerous to ride in snow. I have also heard of lots of people doing it, so I was wondering what your opinion is? I probably would go make a small path first, incase there was something under the snow. And once the layers start adding up to really deep, yucky snow, I wouldn't. Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-18-2009, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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If it's really light fluffy stuff, I don't really see why it would be dangerous. Ice is definitely a different story. I can see how it would make for a tired horse, so I wouldn't go very far. I love riding in the snow. My horse acts like he's a snow plow and pushes it along with his nose. It actually really helps me improve my seat because everything from the the neck forwards is missing! I assume you're shoeing with pads and studded shoes for winter?
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-18-2009, 11:59 PM
Join Date: May 2009
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I rode in the snow all winter long when I lived in MN.

Snowmobile trails are great once nicely packed down, although the snowmobilers don't always care for it! Haha I don't ride on 'designated' snowmobile trails, but those that are just made on the side of the road, or in neighboring fields, etc, we would always ride on, and it was fun.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-19-2009, 12:45 AM
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As long as your horse is in enough shape to be doing what you're asking it's fine.
I wouldn't take a pasture puff out and ask him to trudge around knee deep in snow for an hour, but generally it's fine.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-19-2009, 02:18 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
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Typically it's fine. We have nowhere to ride except our snowy fields and the horses manage just fine all winter. When the snow is that deep, you really don't have a chance of hitting any rocks that may be on the ground, just make DARN sure you know exactly where you're riding and exactly what's under the snow. I've found myself in a predicament more then once when I miscalculated where the path was and landed me AND my horse in a four foot ditch of snow

However, you do have to be extremely careful of one thing - I'm not sure how cold you get, but here in Manitoba we get EXTREMELY cold temps. When this happens, a very small layer of virtually unoticable "ice" forms a crust on top of the snow. Riding a horse through this will actually cut their legs all to heck. The cuts will be extremely small and minute, you're actually more likely to notice the small dots of blood resting in the snow behind you then the actual marks on their legs. The issue comes in with them standing in deep snow, these cuts are extremely prone to developing a fungus that will make you wish for a gun before winter is out rather then fight dealing with it any longer.

Again, this is only when it gets very bitter cold. In those cases, you have to keep a close eye on them in the pasture as well. Most horses will opt to not go into deep snow and stick to the paths they've made, but just a warning! Other then that go out and enjoy the snow!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #6 of 6 Old 10-19-2009, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Canada
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Thanks all for the tips! She is barefoot, so now shoes for us. The only thing I am worried about is her getting really tired easily because we don't get out riding that much when school starts, and by winter time she's not in great shape. We will probably just do walking for the most part until we have a path made.
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