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Discussion Starter #1
So, all of you stuck in a place where the ground freezes in the winter and you have no 'footing', such as sand, do you ride your horses on the hard frozen ground? Or do you wait for it to soften up? Right now we have snow on the ground, but I was concerned about riding my older gelding on the hard frozen ground earlier this winter... that maybe it would be bad for his joints... you know, like running on asphault is bad for peoples knees?
 

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Some of my horses are ok with it, but most of them aren't. So I don't like to do it unless the ground is at least a little soft.
 

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I was at a clinic last week where the instructor said the best thing you can do for your horse in the winter is to walk him on uneven ground. It strengthens his collateral ligaments. They're the tiny strands that hold all the bigger stuff in place. It makes sense.

I don't trot or canter on hard ground. It's just not worth risking an injury. Spring will be here soon enough.
 

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For me, it depends on what the frozen surface looks like. If it has been muddy and the ground has frozen into ruts and peaks, I avoid those areas just to save possible cuts on their feet but I ride all winter long, I just stick to the flatter areas when it has been wet and frozen. If it is dry and frozen, then it really isn't much different than riding on hot dry packed dirt in the summer.
 

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i have started in the winter also. we just walk to the place we want to ride then get on. but we ride out in big fields i would not recommended it.
 

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Arenas with sand also freeze! Sadly I don't ride when the ground is a rock. Usually it's slick too and there's too much risk for injury. Which means I haven't ridden as much as I'd like this winter...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there any kind of footing that won't freeze? Hopefully Spring will be here soon and I can ride again... provided it isn't a mud pit, of course!
 

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Crushed rubber doesn't freeze. If you have a 50/50 rubber/sand ring, it would have get pretty cold before it froze to the point where you couldn't ride.
 

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i ride on anything but my gelding is young and with fantastic feet and super solid joints. He has no problem...plus the ground doesnt freeze much here...but when it does it is hard! plus frozen ground is just like hard packed dry stuff in the summer and we do have alot of that lol

So my verdict would be that it depends on the horse...if your worried about your boys joints then dont do it lol
 

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I've never seen much of a problem with it. To be honest, the little track we've made for ourselves in the front yard really isn't much more flexible in summer as it is in winter. It starts freezing mid-autumn, and we haven't had any problems. By the time the ground is frozen solid, we've got a hefty layer of snow covering it, and it's actually LESS concussion. I love riding in a nice layer of snow for that exact reason - it gives excellent traction, and it's way gentler on their joints.

However, we don't "seriously school" in winter due to the footing. If we have periods in between the ground freezing and the snow being deep enough, we take it easy mostly because the footing is so bad, the horses can slip.
 
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