How deep is too deep?

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How deep is too deep?

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  • When is the snow too deep for a horse
  • Horse goes too deep

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    01-03-2010, 07:29 PM
Green Broke
Question How deep is too deep?

For those adventurous trail riders that continue to ride in the winter snow, how deep is too deep for you?

My trails are not packed down by snowmobilers, so who knows whats under 15 to 24" of snow on the trails? But the fields are there, also with up to 24" of snow.

So, to get my horses back into shape, I'd like to ride them in the field. Is it too deep do you think? Will be at a walk of course until they are in better condition, but then some trotting.

Is this too deep? It's been a while since I've ridden in the winter, and this snow is heavy , not powdery.

Look forward to any incite you can share. Thanks.
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    01-03-2010, 09:13 PM
Walking in 24" probably isn't too bad. But if you'd want to trot and canter, I would expect it just to be a small trot or canter. Say if your horse normally goes on the bit and works on the hind end, it most likely won't be as good as that. An idea would be to walk and trot a single circle in one area, and keep riding on the circle until all of the snow is packed down. This is what I did in the outdoor at my old barn when too many people were using the indoor. I hope this helps!
    01-03-2010, 09:20 PM
Green Broke
Yes, that's what I thought also, walking until a "path" is cut well. They are not ready imo to start trotting as they have had a good spell of time off (since November).

I have hills in the fields too, so a little hill therapy at a walk should fit nicely I think?
    01-03-2010, 09:31 PM
If my horse is willing and able, we go. I have ridden in snow so deep that my feet are dragging in it when on my 14.3 h girl. It does depend on the snow though. If it it troo crusty, I will avoid it as it can cut. If I didn't go out in two feet of snow, I'd spend a lot of the winter not riding.
    01-03-2010, 09:34 PM
If its too deep your horse will probably tell you. I ride my boy in snow up to his chest & he does just fine at the walk. Also if its crusty or icy I don't ride on it over a walk.
    01-03-2010, 09:35 PM
Green Broke
Do you have a 55 gallon drum you can fill with water? Can you get one? This is an easy way to make a good riding path. Just fill it up with water and roll through the field in whatever area and shape you want. Make a few passes to get it really packed. You can just do one circle or several connected if you like. It takes a little sweat and time, but the end product is a nice packed path you can ride on that will stay until it snows again and continue to pack tighter and firmer as you ride on it... It is what I used to do in our pasture in the winter, I don't like riding in too much loose snow...
    01-04-2010, 12:33 AM
Green Broke
Interesting HS. I suppose I could also use my snowshoes (kill 2 birds you know) and make a path. Like that idea. Thanks.

Now I just need some free time. Wednesday is looking good, weather providing (refuse to ride in freezing rain).

Gypsygirl and NorthernMama, I agree about that crust. But as Honeysuga suggested, I could use something (in my case my snow shoes) and break through the crust. Anxious to try. Got some nice new undersilks thermal wear, can't wait to try them!
    01-04-2010, 01:48 AM
Green Broke
Yup, just make sure to go over it very well in your snow shoes so you don't leave any jagged little peaks or anything and you should be all good.
    01-04-2010, 06:46 PM
Originally Posted by Walkamile    
Gypsygirl and NorthernMama, I agree about that crust. But as Honeysuga suggested, I could use something (in my case my snow shoes) and break through the crust. Anxious to try. Got some nice new undersilks thermal wear, can't wait to try them!
Snowshoes will not break a crust that horses hooves will. There is a whole lot more PSI on a hoof than a snowshoe -- remember that's the purpose of snowshoes: to stay ON TOP of the snow, not to make a path.

If Honeysuga has the energy and time to make a path by rolling a 45 gallon drum, all the power to her, but man, that would take some doing! Far easier to do with the horse and much more fun. If there is a crust, see if a snowmobiler will go over it for you instead.
    01-04-2010, 06:57 PM
We normally don't have tons of snow (funny every time I try to type snow it comes out snot)
This year its come early and seems to be sticking around. Normally it snows then melts. Its the melt in between that keeps us off normally. It will turn to a layer of ice under the snow. Either that or we get straight ice. This is the first year I recall having deep drifts. Our girls did fine although they did have a hard time when it got belly deep. I guess that would be 2.5-3'
Its me who doesn't like the snow If its a soft fluffy snow, I'm ready to go ride through it. If its cold blowing, icy or slushy snow, I'll take my hot chocolate now.

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