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jillybean19 11-16-2012 11:49 AM

Winter firtness
I'm going to do my best to keep up conditioning through the winter, but I'm in the northwest and will likely have to forego usual conditioning, especially when the ground freezes and the snow falls. What do you do to keep up fitness through the winter? Or, do you give them the winter off? When do you begin conditioning again and for how long before your first race of the season (since horses tend to hold their fitness pretty well)? Any change in supplements and feed?

nvr2many 11-16-2012 11:59 AM

I am not an endurance rider, I ride western but have decided to try to ride through the winter. Usually I don't! And that sucks because by spring, summer they are really out of shape and seems to take all summer to get them back to where I want and then it happens all over again. I am vowing "not this year". Even if I just take them out on short hacks I am going to try my hardest to do it.
Funny thing you talking about the ground freezing. I was thinking I wish ours would! I really hate mud!!!! Maybe I should be careful what I wish for.

jillybean19 11-16-2012 12:05 PM

Luckily, we don't get a lot of "wet" - we haven't had a decent snowfall yet (one day there were a few tiny flakes, but that doesn't count), and we don't get much rain anyway. So it's just cold and dry lol. I'm definitely riding through the winter, but am curious what I should focus on. Usually we take trail rides at a good trot, but that will be impossible and even damaging if the footing isn't good. I'm thinking lots of arena and round pen work...

nvr2many 11-16-2012 12:14 PM

Yes if you have access to those things you are lucky and that would be great! I used to live in Utah SLC area but didn't have horses there, but I think I get an idea of what your weather must be like!!

Brighteyes 11-16-2012 04:39 PM

I live in Georgia, so winter is when I condition. :wink: My season starts in early March. I give my mare November and December of light work and cut her grain. She stays out 24/7, grows some hair, eats a round bale, and gets lightly ridden (and gets brushed up in the arena). I start back around January with actual conditioning. I spend January and February working pretty hard, and am usually good by March.

She doesn't tend to lose a lot of condition over November and December. Two/three days of trails and arena a week keeps her from back sliding too far.

Joe4d 11-16-2012 06:17 PM

i dont understand the damaging part. Unless you are talking slick ice or snow. No reason a horse cant trot on frozen ground. SOembody has been feeding you a line of BS. In fact it is a good thing and will build up the bones in their legs. The horses bones and muscles change due to the demands placed on it. Ride it in sawdust all the time and thats what you get, ride on hard ground you get a sturdier horse. Invest in some quality cold weather gear. Choose hoof protection based on conditions and your horses feet and keep riding.

phantomhorse13 11-16-2012 07:30 PM

Dream will get december and some of january off. Then if the weather is agreeable (meaning no ice), I will start getting her out on shorter rides at least weekly. In February, I will try to bump that up to twice weekly and start increasing the distance and/or speed of the workouts.

I will ride in snow assuming there is no ice under it and put on as many layers as I need to keep from becoming an icicle. They are calling for a bad winter for us, but I won't believe it until I see it.

jillybean19 11-16-2012 08:46 PM

I was referring to damaging in terms of mud and slippery-ness. It's not good for their tendons when the footing isn't good and you risk injury.

Joe4d 11-17-2012 11:04 PM

first post I caught frozen. Yeh you have to use some discretion when it comes to slick. Or just keep things down to a walk.

nvr2many 11-17-2012 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by jillybean19 (Post 1761117)
I was referring to damaging in terms of mud and slippery-ness. It's not good for their tendons when the footing isn't good and you risk injury.

Yep, I live in a mud hole! :cry:

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