Living in the middle of the US, we get some frickin’ cold weather in the winter. Usually accompanied with slick, nasty, ice storms. Yay us. When O and I had our fabulous ride this week it was in the high 40’s with little to no wind. The next day we get this horrible northern wind and the temp plumets to highs in the teens.
Because of this sadly predictable weather we have a rule where I ride. If it is below 25, or the wind chill/”feels like” temperature is below 25 no one should be riding unless it is otherwise cleared by one of the trainers (rings are safe, someone is around, etc.). So O only got 3 of her planned workouts this week, but it really can’t be avoided.
In the spirit of living in a place where the winters can be really hard on your riding, I thought I’d post some tips about winter riding to keep in mind!
1. Layers are the best way to handle riding in the winter, as you can take off and put on with ease. Since I ride in a helmets only environment I tend to stick to quarter zips, or zip up jackets and coats so I don’t have to take off my helmet a dozen times.
2. If you horse is used to being stalled or wearing a cozy blanket, be kind and throw on a quarter sheet or rug while you warm up. It’s just another way to ease them into the workout. And I think they look cool.
3. Be wary of many winter boots, they can be especially large around the toe and could wedge in your stirrups. Dangerous stuff.
4. If you have to retrieve your horse from outside consider taking a hoofpick with you! O and her buddies have to cross a concrete path, and lots of potentially icy spots, and if her feet are packed with snow it can be very slick for horses. I always have one just in case.
5. Warm up your bit as much as you can! You can check out the Diary of an Overanxious Horse Owner who has this great bit warmer pattern you can get off of Etsy.
6. I think it goes without saying, but make sure to adjust your stretches, warm-up, and cool down times!
I know many of you probably have tried and true dealing with winter tricks, but I thought I’d just throw mine out there! Feel free to share any of yours here! I’d love to hear!