How big a problem is fairly deep snow? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 22 Old 12-12-2010, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
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I ride 12 months of the year. So I do ride in snow. We try to avoid the really deep stuff. Ride on the West and South facing hillsides. The North and East slopes get much deeper snow because it doesn't melt off as fast. I also avoid heavily used trails that hikers and cross country skiers use. They pack the snow down to much and create ice that the horses can slip on. I don't worry to much about sliping on snow. But ice is definitely something to be avoided, Especially if you leave your horses shod during the winter.

As mentioned above, I try to avoid areas with heavy crust. It abraids the horses legs.

One of the beauties of riding in the winter is that I can see more wildlife. They are forced by the snow to congregate. The leaves are gone, so they area easy to spot.

We try really hard to not harass the wildlife. They don't need the added stress during the winter months.

We ride a lot in the desert during the winter, mainly to avoid the really deep snow. One of the advantage of where I live is that I have easy access to both mountains for summer rides and desert for winter riding.

I leave my horses barefoot for the winter months. Hence no snowballs under their feet.

We carry food and firemaking materials. When you are 2-3 hours from you truck, You are responsible for yourself and your animals. We've had horses go down in streams in the winter gettting the riders totally wet. So I usually carry some white gas, or other flamable to quickly start a fire if neccessary. Besides it more fun to have a hot lunch on a day ride.

I haven't really added much to whats been said about deep snow. I guess my comments lean more towards, Go out and have fun and enjoy it.
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-12-2010, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Idaho
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PaintedHorse, your last sentence sums it up very nicely!

I also have access to both mountains and desert so I can ride in minimal snow, if I want to go for a long enough ride to make trailering worth it. Right around the farm it's easy to go for a quick hour or two but then I have, or had, snow to contend with. Now it's warmed up and rained and it's mostly mud so I'm thinking my riding around the farm is going to be limited until it freezes and/or snows again. Sigh.

But there's good riding in the state park 30 minutes away by truck/trailer! And they don't get snow down there. Might have to go down there next week for a day. Just for grins.

"Don't just feed it! Ride it!" And the People said "AMEN!"
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post #13 of 22 Old 12-12-2010, 10:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
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Paintedhorse, I stick my tongue out at you and wish that I could come visit you for a while in the winter.

That last picture really stirs up a lot of very happy memories for me. Thank you for posting that.

Griz, I can't really offer any advice more than what has already been given, especially since we rarely get any snow down here, let alone deep snow. Just go out and have fun .

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #14 of 22 Old 12-13-2010, 08:28 AM
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Location: Northern Utah
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I rarely ride at home any more. To many homes have popped up and too many people who don't know how to drive past a horse. Besides everybody expects me to get off my horse and clean up the road apples off the road.

So every ride involves hauling the horses in the trailer. Don't have to go far. 15 minutes get me to nice trails. 20 -25 minutes gets me to even large assortment of trails. Saturday we went out to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, 20 minute drive.

The advantage of winter rides, is that with all the outer wear, you can just plop down almost anywhere and spread the saddle bags and eat.
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post #15 of 22 Old 12-13-2010, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Idaho
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We're about 35 or 40 minutes from basically unlimited riding--mountains to the north, more desert to the south. But, alas, for the first time in my life I'm trying to reduce the amount I drive so I reserve those areas for "special occations"--like, wanting to go riding, for example!

I need to take Shandy down to the State Park by ourselves to see how he handles it. He's being a bit barn shy around home when I'm riding him alone. I'm working on it but need to see how he does away from the farm.

Maybe later this week or next. I hope!

"Don't just feed it! Ride it!" And the People said "AMEN!"
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post #16 of 22 Old 12-13-2010, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Amlalriiee View Post
My second bit of advise applies to anytime you are on soft enough terrain to not be able to hear the horse's hoofbeat. If you are on soft ground, it's best to stick to walking and cantering. Trotting can cause strain on the tendons on soft ground.
You'll need to explain that theory to those of us who work in sandy arenas . . .
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post #17 of 22 Old 12-13-2010, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by churumbeque View Post
I personally would not ride in an area that I didn't know what was under the snow. Sounds like it could be an accident waiting to happen.
Totally agree with this.

Originally Posted by SailorGriz View Post
I hadn't thought about/didn't realize that trotting on soft ground can cause more tendon strain. Do you know why? Can you explain the physiology? I'm NOT disagreeing with you nor challenging you! I just want to understand.
Compare it to walking in really deep sand on the beach.

Too deep footing is a strain on tendons and ligaments. Think about how walking in deep footing almost feels sticky.

Most ring footing is not an issue (though I have been in rings that were too deep and were just plain dangerous).
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post #18 of 22 Old 12-13-2010, 05:02 PM
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Sorry, I hadn't looked back on here...but yes, as the above poster said: know how your achilles hurts if you've ever tried walking/running too far in deep sand? I guess it's more the depth than the fact that it's soft...but it being soft is what causes you to sink same concept. Walking is easier on them for obvious reasons, and in cantering I believe the smoother, back and forth motion makes the horse less prone to injury than the up and down of the trot, where sinking during the down could cause strain in pulling that leg back up. Also maybe the fact that you have the same side going together rather than a diagonal. This is how I've understood it anyway, feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken.

Anyway, I believe the big concern here is strain of tendons from overextension due to sinking in the sand/snow/whatever it may be.

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post #19 of 22 Old 12-13-2010, 05:59 PM
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Painted horse.. I am so jealous I want to live where you are. No moutains where i live. I've been to montana before it would be a beautiful place to ride.. Thats it I'm moving lol
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post #20 of 22 Old 12-13-2010, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Idaho
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Thanks Amlalriiee. That makes sense. The suction of pulling a foot out of goo can cause all kinds of uncommon strains on the tendons, joints, even muscles.

I could see that being an issue in really soft (especially wet) sand or mud. Don't see it as much issue in snow because there's not generally a problem with suction. Of course, this round of snow we have mud under most of it 'cause the ground didn't freeze.

Now the snow's mostly gone and it's supposed to get cooler in a couple days. Maybe it'll freeze up and we can pasture the horses more.

"Don't just feed it! Ride it!" And the People said "AMEN!"
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