Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Where I see the rub coming in for Harley is because he takes winters off. I think going out of work and condition every winter and having to be brought back in every spring as being harder on him than either discipline. I know you don't have an indoor, does anyone near you (short riding distance maybe?) have one you could use? I feel like if he could be kept in at least a low level of work throughout the winter, he might stay sounder and fitter than what you've had to do up until now.
It's not realistic to haul to an indoor in the winter for us because of poor road conditions in my area. I won't risk it. My neighbors have an indoor, but it's filthy because they let their horses live in it all winter. It needs to have all the footing removed (it's soaked in urine and feces) and replaced. We tried using it, but you can't breathe in there. It's a sin.
However, he is ridden all winter in the snow, which is a workout in itself. Not the same, but the best we can do. My husband clears the paddock so we only have a little snow on the ground, and I run my pasture drag over it for texture. It's actually not bad at all to ride in - better than mud.
Here's my daughter popping Rusty over a cross-rail in the snow just for fun :) You can see the footing is similar to sand. When it gets like this, we can pretty much do whatever we want - though we wouldn't do any high jumping. But she still works on collection, transitions, yielding, etc. with Harley throughout winter even if we can't ride as much as we do in the summer (we're riding daily now, some days she rides Harley AND another horse).
At the moment, we don't even know whether there will be shows other than a handful of in-barn shows. So for now, she will keep riding Harley a 3-5 days a week on the flat with the odd low jump here and there, and jump on the other horse at the lesson barn a couple of days a week as well. We should know within a week or two whether we'll be able to run provincially-sanctioned shows. We don't think Equestrian Canada will allow shows for a while - late in the summer at best, but possibly not at all. Show season here is short in a good year.