Riding In Snow?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Riding In Snow??

Hello :)

Well, it's that time of year again, and things are getting a bit chilly!! We are forcasted to have a nasty winter this year, with LOTS of snow. I'm actually *quite* excited - I love snow :) But, unlike years past, I now have very little/no access of an indoor riding ring. Simply taking the winter off isn't an option for me. I have lessons once a week with my trainer, whom has an all-weather outdoor ring. But I'd like to practice with Cowboy on the days between.

So my question is, can you ride in snow? If so, what sorts of riding? I do Hunters and Jumpers, but I don't jump any time except my lesson anyway, so I wouldn't have to worry about that. But I wanted to know if I could walk, trot, and canter on a flat surface in the snow. My arena at home is just a small, flat space with grass.

Thank You!!

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post #2 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 10:36 AM
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Of course you can! It is great fun and good for your horse! However, there are several things you have to keep in mind:

* Always be sure about the surface under the snow. It can cover holes and ditches, so I never wander in deep snow on unknown terrain.

* When the snow gets deep for the first time, do the first rides at a walk only, because the horse has to get fit and prepared for trotting and cantering through deep snow - it is rather heavy. But, with enough exercise, your horse will soon be ready to go through even the deepest snow - I sometimes get to ride through chest-deep snow.

* Better not ride when crust has covered the snow - it can injure the legs, especially, at gaits faster than a walk.

* Watch out from spots where snow has covered plain ice. Also, if you will be riding in a smaller area, the tracks you use most often are more likely to become icy and slippery sooner.

Apart from this - enjoy yourself! I don't have an indoor arena either, so I ride in the snow all the time, doing mostly trail rides, some flatwork (dressage), and, if the snow isn't too deep or melting - also some jumping.
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 11:11 AM
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please make sure there is not ice under the snow. especially if the snow has been melting and refreezing and/or snowing again and again. a lady at my barn got crushed by her horse leading him over some snow that had ice on it. she fell and then he fell on top of her.

snow riding can be super fun though !

Gypsy & Scout <3
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 12:03 PM
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Since our winter takes up most of the year here, we do quite a bit of riding in snow. As the other said, knowing what the footing is like underneath the snow is important. I ride in an unused meadow where the footing is usually great because it's just long grass under the snow. It's also fairly level and any holes we see in the summer, we mark with flags so they don't get stepped in during winter. Good idea to ride with a more defensive seat as it is, just in case something happens...

Also, that crusty snow...sharp and jagged. Not good :( But I find that on a nice day, winter riding can be quite comparable to summer riding. Have fun out there!
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 08:46 PM
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Just be careful about ice :L My old barn didn't have an indoor, so they gave the horses the winter off, but now I'm lucky and moved to an indoor! I've really only walked around on horses in the snow, but I'm sure if you don't work them too hard they'll be fine.
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 09:11 PM
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I LOVE riding in the snow! Personally it's the only good part about winter .

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be careful about there not being any ice under the snow. I have had a friend's horse fall because of the slipperiness, thank goodness nobody was hurt.

The best time to go is when it's nice and fluffy . I used to stand on my horse and jump into the deep parts of the snow. Very fun!

"The hand should be a filter, not a plug or an open faucet."
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 09:30 PM
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Great advise has already been given, but if your horse has shoes, and your barn allows it you should consider adding borium to the shoes.
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 09:31 PM
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Sounds like fun!
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexS View Post
Great advise has already been given, but if your horse has shoes, and your barn allows it you should consider adding borium to the shoes.
Alex, what's borium? Being a southerner and now a northerner, I've never had to ride in snow! I have an indoor to use, but the weather here has been so great I'd like to go out in the snow!
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post #10 of 15 Old 11-17-2012, 11:45 PM
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Oh, and another thing: You will want to wear a pair of WARM boots (riding with your heels down doesn't promote optimal circulation...) and it might be a good idea to invest in some wider stirrup irons (if riding English) to accommodate said boots. It's a bit of an expense, yes, but if you are warm and comfortable, your ride will be sooooo much better!
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riding in snow , snow , winter riding

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