How cold is too cold to ride? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-08-2009, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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How cold is too cold to ride?

I live in Alberta where the winters are COLD! We have been having a lot of -20 or -30 C temps lately and I was wondering how cold is too cold to ride. If its under -10 I usually don't ride with a bit in the horse's mouth, as I don't want to put a frosty, freezing bit in it's mouth and I just ride with a halter and lead ropes. I generally don't ride under -20 either - just too cold for me but do you think it does any harm to the horse? I don't do anything faster than light trotting either in the winter typically, so its not like they are working very hard.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-08-2009, 07:00 PM
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I think it depends on how well you and your horse handle the cold. At lessons we go on trail rides in -10 F, but all the horses live outside 24/7 and deal with cold weather really well. I think that if your not working your horses hard, and they do well in cold weather, then they should be fine. Sorry if that wasn't much help.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-08-2009, 07:59 PM
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It depends on the horse, the arena and how the horses are managed.
My horse is stabled indoors at night so I ride rain or shine cold or warm in the winter. He also has no coat to speak of.
For a horse stabled outdoors 24/7 it really depends on the arena. If you are working in an outdoor or unheated arena then I would say ride to about -20C as long as you don't sweat the horse up, and then you have to dry him. In a heated arena I wouldn't ride past -5C or -10C.
I'm also an Albertan and I share your pain :P I'm starting a petition to invade California and basically switch land with them.
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-08-2009, 08:14 PM
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It does depend on the horse & all, but to me, I can tell it's too cold to ride if even if I have layers of clothing on, & I'm STILL freezing, then it's a no-no. But the coldest I've ridden in is about 30F.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-08-2009, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help! I agree that if horse isn't being worked too hard its fine to ride them. I don't like riding too much when its below -20C as its just too cold and I don't want to risk hurting them but I'm sure if its just light riding they should do ok.

Good idea to switch land with California!! I just get so tired of -20 and -30 temps for such a long time! Thats true - if you are bundled up warm and you still feel frozen I think its best to stay inside and try to keep warm!

One horse I ride basically tells me when its too cold for her. She stops, looks up at me like, "you expect me to carry you around when its this cold?!" I also find she hates wind so I don't ride her when its too windy either.
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-08-2009, 11:24 PM
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I think it is too cold to ride a horse in anything past -30C but you can still groom them, sack them out, etc. But running a horse in cold weather is bad for there lungs. But minus 20 is totally fine I do it all the time.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-09-2009, 10:54 AM
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I hate the cold. Despite that, if i chose not to ride in anything below -20C, I'd probably have about 3-4 months of no riding. So my limit is -30C. If its that cold outside, I stay home, as he's an outdoor horse, and I don't think its that good for him to come in, get worked, stay until he's dry and then go out in the freezing cold again-can't be the easiest on their lungs.
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-13-2009, 07:16 PM
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I'm not allowed to ride if it's below 20. Barn rule.

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-13-2009, 07:17 PM
Green Broke
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degrees Fahrenheit

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-13-2009, 08:58 PM
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Wow you girls are tough! I'm in BC and after November the horse's don;t get ridden at all till spring!
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