Snow Riding? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-06-2011, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Snow Riding?

I live in Canada. There is a LOT of snow. And I hate riding in it. Well, I'd like it just fine if my horse didn't hate it. Whenever I ask her to head into a deep bank, she refuses and doesn't want to do it. I make her, just because I can't let her win, but I feel SO bad doing it-making her haul me around in the deep snow...it's hard enough just going solo. Yet, if we didn't ride in the snow, the places we can ride are limited. I know I'm really soft-hearted when it comes to her. Am I overreacting? How difficult is it for horses to go through snow with a rider on their back? Of course I alleviate as much weight from her back (put it in the stirrups) as possible, but...I don't know. It's a good way to tire her out, I'm just...unsure about it.



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post #2 of 7 Old 02-06-2011, 09:59 PM
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This is an interesting post. I am sorry your mare doesn't like the snow. I have just moved from France to Quebec and my horse will be shipped out soon. I am impatient to see what he makes of all the snow. He has never seen snow before so it could be interesting.

I'm sorry I can't answer any of your questions but I look forward to reading responses of people who can!
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-06-2011, 10:04 PM
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Riding in the snow is really good for conditioning, you just have to be careful about the terrain under the snow, that its safe and smooth. I think if you got some confidence and made it a fun thing, she'd eventually be okay with it,

Kaity *
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-06-2011, 10:18 PM
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My horse decided to be a jerk and made me walk at least the length of a football field to go and get him in 2' of new snow last week. After just walking to get him, I was completely exhausted. I think walking in deep snow is probably more intensive than running on the beach. I would take it easy and not go above a walk if the snow is deeper than about 6"s.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-06-2011, 11:15 PM
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Walking in snow is FANTASTIC conditioning for them. I know I feel a little guilty sometimes, mostly when it's been cold and the crust has formed so they keep crashing through and it's harder for them, but I just give them their heads and we get through it eventually.

Horses are like any other creature, they'll always opt for the path of least resistance. They don't like going through snow anymore then they like going through mud or water or even over a jump but it's just not their decision!

It sounds like maybe you're a little leery of the deep snow which isn't helping her confidence - I know I've been faced with a BIG snow bank before and my horse wouldn't go through because I wasn't giving her the signals that I was comfortable going through. It's like any obstacle with horse back riding, you have to have confidence!

I LOVE riding through deep fluffy snow, especially at a trot or lope! If the terrain is good, let her move out a bit, it's actually most difficult for them to walk in deep snow! A good brisk trot or lope gives them momentum and could make it a bit more fun for both of you!

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-07-2011, 02:20 AM
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Alright first off I am going to say that riding in the snow is fun and for the most part is just fine. However if the snow is too deep it can get a little tricky and you can easily push a horse to hard in it. I say this only from my own experiences. Usually if it is too deep the horse will start getting stuck or laying down. Most lay down, (not on their side but straight down). If you have one that will give you their best be careful, my mare who will do whatever I tell her was pushing snow with her chest going down a hill. Then she jumped into a drift. Well needless to say she disappeared under me ( it was that deep). The bad thing though when she tried to get out she fell on her side and I had to dig her out. Bad thing the way she was positioned she was suffocating. I dug fast and got her out okay but since then I try to be a little more careful.

Another experience with a mare that give you all her heart she was sweating really bad all over and the white foam was rolling off of her. Well not much after that she started coughing up blood and kept trying to lay down. I know I shouldn't have pushed her that hard, but I didn't know I could hurt her and I was younger at the time. I guess we learn the hard way sometimes, because after that I packed the saddle the 2 miles back home on my back and once I got her up and a little rested. Sadly after that she was never the same and could no longer handle very long of rides.

So I would say yes ride, but do be careful. My rules are if it looks to deep that they might get stuck don't go in and if the white foam starts let them rest.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-09-2011, 09:44 PM
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One of the reasons she may be having problems with it is because she doesn't know how deep it is and doesn't want to accidentally hurt herself. It's the same with going in the water, they are more afraid when they can't see the bottom or know how deep it is.
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