Winter Riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-03-2013, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Winter Riding

This will be my first winter with my horse. She will be left outdoors all season long and apparently her winter coat growns in quite thick so she has never needed a blanket.
Any tips on winter riding? I may have access to an indoor arena (probably heated but not too hot) but primarly we will be riding outdoors.
The weather here gets pretty nasty, minus 30 celcius for weeks at a time, and a pretty decent amount of snow.
I would like to continue riding her through this as she is young and I don't want her to lose her skills.

Thanks in advance :)
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-03-2013, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Hi and welcome! It sounds like your winters are quite colder than mine, but a few things come to mind...Be sure you warm and up and cool down carefully. If she gets really warm, you might even want to put a fleece cooler on her so she doesn't cool off too fast and get a chill. Be careful of slick footing from ice or rain. Oh, and enjoy the snowy photo ops! :)
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-03-2013, 09:10 PM
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The most important thing I've found, in winter riding, is to pull the shoes and go barefoot, that way 'snowballs' don't build up in the hoof. And even then, stop and check regularly for 'snowballs' in the hoof. Always take a hoof pick!

I've heard that types of spray pan coating can help with keeping snow from packing in the hoof, but have never tried it myself.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
Britt is offline  
post #4 of 12 Old 09-03-2013, 10:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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Ride only in areas where you know what is under the snow.

Don't ride when the snow is crusty - it can cause cuts.

Be watchful for icy and slippery areas.

If your horse gets sweaty, you may or may not need a cooler. I have never used one; I have several large towels in the barn. If my horse gets sweaty in the winter after a ride, I rub her vigorously before turning her out. Then she promptly rolls in the snow :)

Being outside is great for horses all year round, but there should be a run-in shelter available for those odd days when the horse does want shelter.

Dress in layers.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-03-2013, 10:49 PM
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My advice is to remember to warm the bit up before it goes in their mouth (our tack room isn't heated so we hand warm it) imo it makes them more comfortable and willing to take up the bit. Know what's beneath the snow, and ride accordingly. If it's slicker out than usual then just take it at a slow pace, if it's solid just be wary! Shoes can cause problems, and pick their feet out before/after. I never worked mine too hard in our winters so I don't know about the blanketing/sweating issue. Another thing I will add is know when too cold is too cold lol I really don't have that sense and so some winter days I'd end up riding in a halter because the metal on the bit was going to lead to issues! haha Have fun! I love riding in the winter! :)
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-03-2013, 11:21 PM
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I would suggest getting a cooler for when you are warming up and cooling down your horse, particularly if it gets that cold. She will thank you! ;)
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-04-2013, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Thanks everyone! She is barefoot already so I wont have to worry about the shoes :)
I think I will invest in a cooler since it does get so cold out here.
Love all the tips and advice! Thanks so much :)
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-04-2013, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Switch out your stirrups so your winter boots will slip in and out easily. Some stirrups are not wide enough when we change out to our winter boots.

For you, dress in layers for warmth. You can always remove a layer when the day warms up a bit, but you'll be glad for the layers when it doesn't.
Wool next to the skin. Wool is warm even when wet.
Remember to cover your ears from the cold.
Wear gloves. I wear two sets, a light wool inner pair and another pair over them.
If you wear a scarf, ensure it's short. You don't need the long end of a scarf getting caught up in anything!
A fleece covering for the saddle can warm up your behind.
Pack an emergency kit in your saddle bag in case you get stuck somewhere.

Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-11-2013, 05:57 PM
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We have cutting practice all winter long, I use a cooler because our horses do work hard and get a little sweaty. I throw a fleece cooler on them and put them on the walker for about ten minutes to cool down when we're done. My shoer has always recommended taking shoes off for the winter as well.
Pretty common sense, but know when it really is tooo cold to ride! And stock up on warm clothes. I always ride in Under Armor tights under my jeans, wool socks, a warm hat, a thick Carhartt coat, and gloves!
cowgirlnay is offline  
post #10 of 12 Old 09-11-2013, 06:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by Incitatus32 View Post
My advice is to remember to warm the bit up before it goes in their mouth (our tack room isn't heated so we hand warm it) imo it makes them more comfortable and willing to take up the bit.
A bit warmer is great for this. If you have a microwave available, there are ones you can just pop in there for a minute, then wrap around the bit to warm it up while you're putting the saddle on. (There are electric ones, too, but it would be a pain to find an outlet for it in my barn!) I sewed my own for my horse last winter, and while everyone joked about how much I spoil my horse, he was a lot happier about taking the bit when it wasn't icy to the touch!
verona1016 is offline  

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