Appropriate Riding Weather???
I am a novice to riding and my horse and I have been working with a trainer since mid-summer. My QH mare had a good foundation on her at some point but when I purchased her a year ago in August she needed some tuning up. I realize now that our pairing was not ideal but we have worked through it ok and thankfully have a good trainer helping us both. What I am wondering though is what weather is appropriate for riding.
I have heard that its not good to ride in the rain or when wet, and in winter such as snow, etc but I have had others tell me its ok. My horse, though she's made good progress in using the thinking side of her brain and responding well to densensitizing exercises is still reactive often. I understand some still ride in rain and snow, but I don't want my horse or myself to be injured either. I'm quite attached to her and given that she has had some lameness in the past it would crush me if something happened to her...any insight for safe riding is much appreciated. Oh--and I guess I should mention the main area for riding is an outdoor round pen and about 5 acres of pasture with only an occasional trail ride locally. We don't have regular access to an indoor arena. Thanks in advance for your help!!!
I ride in the snow, as long as it's somewhat soft and my horse has never had any issues with it. He also also has shoes with studs and pads under them to protect him. But, if there's lot's of ice or deep mud I wouldn't even consider riding.
If you're at all worried about your horses safety though, taking a break from riding for the winter may be best, especially if she's had lameness issues in the past. If you do decide to ride, take it slow and stick with a walk until you feel she's healthy and calm enough to do more.
Good luck and stay safe! :)
Neither you nor your horse will melt if ridden in the rain. Yeah, footing is a bit worse but that just means you go at a safe pace.
I don't like riding in the rain or right after the rain because footing can be very slippery. Of course we have very little flat land around here and so we are almost always on some type of incline which makes it more dangerous. If it was flat and it a different type of footing that might be different. Then again rain is wet and uncomfortable - yuck.
Snow I'd fine as long as you avoid icy areas.
Long as the footing is okay (not knee deep mud or solid ice) I ride. Snow is fine, just keep in mind that you might always be able to do a lot of fast work, but you can still do a lot a the walk and jog.
Thanks everyone, I don't mind to keep a slow pace, its my horse I'm concerned about. We rode the other day after a few weeks off due to muddy conditions. She has slipped recently in the round pen and fell and it scared her silly so I'm afraid for both of us. When I did ride her after the few weeks off, she was really spooky and didn't want to go far out to pasture at all...she spooked near the barn where she almost never spooks. I did work her on the ground in the snow as she was walking awkwardly in the first real snow a couple days ago. She did ok but I'm concerned how she will respond under saddle. We don't have anyone to ride with us really and though she's more comfortable when her pasture buddy is with her he's been too naughty to walk with us when not under saddle.
The biggest thing you need to be careful of in the winter is ice. If there's ice under the snow, I don't ride. Also, be sure that there isn't a crusty layer on top of the snow that can cut up or irritate their legs. I'll keep up with my horses' exercise regimens with snow, but when it gets to their knees I just walk. It takes a lot of strength for horses to work in deep snow, so they need to be conditioned for it.
As someone that competes, I don't always have the leisure of waiting until the rain clears before riding a dressage test. I make sure my horses are calm and willing to work when it's raining, but beyond that, I tend not to ride in the rain for my own sake and that of my tack ;-)
We've had our fair share of mud this past spring and fall, so I chose to hack out on trail whenever possible rather than tear up the grass arena. I like for my horses to be adjustable and capable of working in a variety of conditions. As long as the mud isn't dangerously sucky or threatening to pull shoes, I'll work in it.
I've ridden in knee deep snow and the horses never miss a step. We keep to a walk as the horses can easily get pretty hot and sweaty.
I ride in the rain and snow but my horse is condition and use to it. I rode the other day in the snow after we had a blizard. I rode on some trails that got a little rough so I got off and allowed the horse to walk down the hill to my friend that was waiting for him. Then we got back on and rode on. We were cautious when we needed to be and went a little faster when it was safe. It was a great ride for all of us. But I am lucky I am able to find someone to ride with me so that I never have to ride alone. I also have rain and snow gear that also protects by saddle. The horses seem to love it as much as we did.
The horse I rode was an experience 10 year old that has a lot of trail riding adventures through a lot of different situations and is very sure footed.
Always know your horses limitations and never risk getting hurt.
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