OK, I'm new to this horse riding business. I'm NOT new to snow! I am, however, very new to the combination of the two.
So, my question is this: how big a problem is snow for the horse? Riding, that is. Not just out in the pasture.
He spends as much time in the pasture as conditions allow and it's covered with snow--largely packed down or kicked around by Mr. Big and his Friends.
I've had Mr. Big riding around the neighborhood 5 or 6 times in the snow. When we started it was pretty light, fluffy, stuff and he was able to walk right through it. As time's gone by, and temperatures have fluctuated, and we've gotten fog, and more snow, and etc., the snow has changed. Now it's almost as deep as when we started but it's hard and kind of crusty.
I can't walk on the crust, it's not THAT crusty. But coyotes, rabbits, mice, partridge, and other critters can. The snow underneith is from 6 to 24 inches deep, I think. Maybe a bit deeper where it's really blown in.
Mr. Big has to lift his feet up and over the snow most of the time--not dragging through it, at least, not easily.
We ride 3 to 5 miles, I suppose. He doesn't seem to get tired, doesn't act like he's having any problems. He seldom slips or misses hit footing. Once he's past being a bit barn sour and starts getting into the ride he seems to enjoy being out and about. He's energetic going up and cautious going down (and since there's a LOT of hills we go up and down a lot!). We are crossing open fields, for the most part, with no trails nor roads to follow.
As long as he seems to be handling the snow just fine is there any problem taking him out in it? I know I sure like taking him out in it! I'm new to the area and we're exploring countless little hills, valleys, ridges, stands of trees, open fields, etc! All within a couple miles of the farm!
But I REALLY don't want to risk hurting Mr. Big! I do, however, want to work on the barn sour problem and work on getting him in shape for longer rides when the weather gets better next spring. And that means riding!