Winter riding--when, where, how much, etc. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 36 Old 12-09-2008, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 1,298
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We ride all winter. But choose the better days to be out. Blue sky and sunshine and 20* is OK. Dark overcast spitting snow at 30* is a no go. I ride more in the middle of the day, the warmest part vs early morning or evening rides like I do in the summer. I don't like to put the horses up sweaty, so a early ride allows them time to dry out before it gets cold at night. And we almost never camp over night during the winter months. So most winter rides are close to home. usually within a 20 minute trailer.

I also change where I ride in the winter months, The mountains are deep in snow, so we head toward the desert more. Antelope Island is an island in the Great Salt Lake. There is a causeway road we use to access the island. The lake acts as a heat sink and it stays a few degrees warmer than areas away from the lake, This melts off the snow faster so it doesn't get too deep. The Island has sandy trails that are easy on barefoot horses. And lots of wild life, Buffalo, Mule Deer, Antelope, Big Horn Sheep and Coyotes.

As winter wanes, we get the bug and start heading out more. We've even made a few camp outs in February.

The snow melts off much faster in the desert area. Here we are the end of February on a trail ride in the San Rafael Swell area of Utah. We are bundled up and the horses are still wooley.
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post #12 of 36 Old 12-09-2008, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Missoula, MT
Posts: 6,594
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I ride in the winter in my indoor but hardly ever trail ride. Where Diesel is kept is probably the windy-est part of my town. Go figure. But if it's decent out I will.

I don't trailer if it is icy/snowing/been snowing so there is a bunch of snow on the ground. Because there is nowhere I would trailer in town over the winter and the only place I ever trailer is east of here. Over the continental divide. No thanks.
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post #13 of 36 Old 12-09-2008, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 21
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I ride all year, too. I work until after dark in the winter and LOVE going after dark out on the trail! It is awesome riding in the moon light and snow. It is awesome hearing deer snort at you and the different sounds and sights that you hear in the winter at night! Plus, you learn a new trust with your trail friend as he navigates through the dark forest when you can hardly see!! It isn't too much fun when you take a twig across the face at -0 temps though!!

It gets REALLY cold here too, northern MN, and riding is such a part of my life I guess I just don't know any better!! (YET...)
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post #14 of 36 Old 12-09-2008, 10:42 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 27
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I ride as often as I can rain, snow or shine. I'm from central Minnesota and we get lots of snow and it gets pretty cold. There was a wind chill of -10F the other day and we went out riding but the sun was shining and we were out of the wind for the most part. I like to ride in the winter because it keeps the horses going good. I just started 2 more 2yr old this last summer and if they don't get out at least a little this winter it's going to be fun riding them in the spring. I like to ride bareback in the winter because it is soooo much warmer, but for long rides I still use saddle. Hopefully I'll get a chance to take advantage of my neighbors new heated indoor arena this year.
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post #15 of 36 Old 12-09-2008, 11:06 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Cranston, RI
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Hello. I ride all year long like most of you guys do, but I have an indoor. If it is a not to cold day and not to icy i will go out on a trail but otherwise I try to keep it to the indoor. The poor horses get so dam bord though! Im also not a big one for extremely cold weather
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post #16 of 36 Old 12-10-2008, 12:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 46
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Brrr. Last winter our last ride was in November, right before deer hunting. The days are so short and we are busy with work and kids and everything else. Sad. It's hard for me to find the time to bundle up for a ride, and tack up, ride, and cool down, do chores, etc.

This winter I would like to ride a little more. I plan on getting some lined Carhart overalls or the bib overalls to wear for riding and chores. My Columbia snow pants are not going to cut it for winter riding. Not warm enough and not tough enough. I have the big endurance stirrups, so boots should fit into those okay.

I plan on going bareback so I can stay warmer, and cut down on tacking up time. However, if my son goes he rides my mare, and I am not sure I want to ride the gelding bareback. Maybe if we get some fluffy snow I would feel safer. They are also both buddy sour, so it's kind of a pain for me to go alone. It's not a fun pleasant ride, it's snorting and balking and shying and dancing and having to constantly hold the horse back to a walk. Maybe I can pony the other one, but that never solves the problem. Also, if the get nervous and sweaty, I have no good place to cool them down out of the weather. We only have a 3 sided shed.

I will not trailer, most likely, just stick around the house. If it gets too icy then there will be no riding until spring.

Painted Horse, I am planning my next vacation at your place.
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post #17 of 36 Old 12-10-2008, 02:24 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
Posts: 10,620
• Horses: 5
My Husband and I took a romp in the snow today. It was an early snow for us and so pretty we couldn't resist going for a ride
Attached Images
File Type: jpg snow 073.jpg (27.5 KB, 75 views)

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #18 of 36 Old 12-10-2008, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 46
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Vida, your photo looks a lot like where I just came in from! I walked the dogs and was pretty warm so I decided to saddle up the gelding. He was a complete jerk about bridling. While I was doing that the kids got off the bus (early release today) and my son wanted to go, so we got out the mare. Good thing, i never would have made it alone. Gus was VERY tightly wound at first and I never would have made it out of the yard alive w/out Cloudy.

Anyway, it's about 16 degress but windy. My feet were okay considering I just wore hiking boots-anything bigger won't fit into the stirrups on that saddle. Gus freaked out about something and bolted across the driveway, then danced out to the field and took a good twenty minutes to settle down. Full of it from not being ridden, the cold and wind. He was so good on the way back though.

Anyway, we rode through a field to get to woods, but it was breezy in the woods at times too. My toes weren't too bad, fingers were getting there. Columbia snowpants worked ok, but my legs weren't toasty warm. Saturday it's supposed to be low 30's, but I work and have a Christmas party!

Dustytrails, it's my goal to get out at night and see how that goes. It was very bright here last night with the snow and moon.
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post #19 of 36 Old 12-10-2008, 05:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
Posts: 10,620
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It was pretty cold I wore my wool fleece lined boots and gloves and some sweat pants. My legs are still cold and my fingers were pretty numb by the time we got home. It was so much fun though and the girls really seemed to enjoy running through the snow drifts which surprised me.
Its the first time we have ridden in the snow. Its usually gone very quickly or its the wet sticky kind.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #20 of 36 Old 12-10-2008, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 69
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I took my first trail ride in the snow today. I have ridden a bit in the snow around the pastures but this time we went out for almost an hour on the trails.

I wore stretch yoga type pants under my jeans and my legs were warm enough. I have Brit middies from and they keep my feet very warm and are designed for riding. I have a wind challenger light weight jacket from LL Bean and that over a sweatshirt and turtleneck was good as well. I bought a runners hat (small very thin spandex type hat) to wear under my helmet and that keeps my ears warm.

When we got back I rode a few circles bareback in the round pen. I am not quite ready to go down the trails or out of the fences yet bareback but my goal is to go around the trails where I board bareback yet this winter.

The snow today was thick and heavy and about 10 inches deep in most places so my guy had to really work at walking.

15 15hh QH/Arab gelding Spy--my horse
30 16hh Qh gelding BJ--my girls' horse
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