How to work with my horse over the winter months?? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 10-16-2011, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Question How to work with my horse over the winter months??

I have a 4 year old(going to be 5 on ThanksGiving :))mare that I got last year, and I have been training since I got her. We've made a lot of progress but I'm worried that with the upcoming winter she will forget what I've taught her. I don't have an indoor arena so I can work/ride her up until about early November or until the groud freezes.

Is there anything I can do to keep working with her through the winter?-I know I can work on groung manners a bit and small things like that but what should I do when it comes to riding??

"Even the greenest horse has something to teach the greatest rider."-Anonymous
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-16-2011, 10:46 PM
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-16-2011, 10:51 PM
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Well, bundle up and go on some trail rides! But make sure you know the ground and there is no ice around. I just take my horses out for little rides in the field (where there is little to no ice) and just keep them soft so I don't have to go over much training again in the Spring.

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post #4 of 12 Old 10-17-2011, 11:37 AM
rob
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baylee,this horse is almost 5 and she has never cantered?did she get a late start in training?and you don't have any sand or dirt that you can ride in,cause even with snow a sand or dirt bottom is better footing.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-17-2011, 12:08 PM
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Baylee, I can't ride about 3 months in winter (because we often have ice or hard as a rock footing, and I don't have indoor either). When I started them over again this year both of my mares didn't seem to forget. Out of shape - yes, and you have to build all those muscles back, but forget - I'd say no in 2-3 months.

As my trainer said when I asked her same question: "They are not going to forget. It's good for them to just sit in field and think about what they were trained for." Of course, it's a joke in some way, but I did notice often they do better after some break in riding.

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post #6 of 12 Old 10-17-2011, 12:18 PM
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There is a ton of things you can work on during the winter. Groundwork and manners are huge things that will pay off if you keep your horse up on it over the winter. Short rides at a walk are great opportunities to work on bending, refining aids, pivoting, sidepassing, etc. Basically everything you would work at in the summer except at a walk.

I live in MN and winters are pretty miserable. I get in about 2 rides a week on each horse and a lot of times it's literally throw a bridle on and ride around the paddock for 15 minutes. It's done a lot of good for both of my horses and myself. That's when Soda perfected his pivots and Lily learned that any leg pressure doesn't mean RUN.

In my opinion it can almost be easier to work on those kinds of things in the winter because you aren't so focused on going jumping, running barrels, or getting out on that long trail ride. You're focused on refining both your signals/aids and your horse's response to those aids. You'd be surprised what you can get out of 15 mins when that's your only goal.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-17-2011, 12:26 PM
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Well put MN Tigerstripes!
Baylee, I suggest you make a list of any of the little things that you horse isn't doing perfectly on the ground. Does she pull on the lead when tied, yank away a foot when you're cleaning, does she move over on the forehand/haunches correctly--lots of little faults can be worked on in her stall, even during an ice storm! I don't have the time to fix these things when I'm getting my younger horses on the bit, or relaxed under saddle, etc., but I can create perfect manners during the winter and have a better ground manndered horse to ride in the spring.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-17-2011, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rob View Post
baylee,this horse is almost 5 and she has never cantered?did she get a late start in training?and you don't have any sand or dirt that you can ride in,cause even with snow a sand or dirt bottom is better footing.

We have cantered before,all the time once we worked out attitude issues. She did have a little late start with training,the guy we bought her from had little to no time for her so by the time I got her, She was broke but her manners and ground manners were bad. As for areas to ride, I have and acre and a half of grass/pasture that I ride her on. I just wasn't sure if riding her in the show was a good idea because of hidden ice or anything that might hurt her while riding through it.

Thanks for the help everybody! :) I appreciate the tips!

"Even the greenest horse has something to teach the greatest rider."-Anonymous
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-17-2011, 08:30 PM
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Even if the footing is terrible, just get on and plod around. Every hour spent on a horse is an hour well spent regardless of how much you get accomplished.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-17-2011, 10:55 PM
rob
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baylee,in the winter months you can spend alot of horsemanship time by practicing things such as leg pressure moves and side passes.
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