It's fine as long as you know what is UNDER the snow and you pay attention to snowballs building in the hoof or icy spots either where you can see and tell it's slick or hidden under the snow like a booby trap.
Go have a little fun. But be careful.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
For me, it depends on what kind of snow it is. If it's the kind with the big, crusty hard top then I usually don't hack out. But if it's nice and fluffy I have no problem with it provided the footing underneath is safe.
Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever
Love it! I would not worry about the crust over the snow, but pay attention to your horse and what he says - he will likely resist if it hurts, and you can watch his legs for scrapes (I personally have never had that problem though and cannot see it happening, really). I would be cautious of ice or rocks beneath, of course, and of over-doing it (which would be obvious). Otherwise, it is a great workout for your horse!!
I would say HACKING IN THE SNOW IS SO FUN!! Just be aware of whats under the snow. But know that if your horse has shoes that arent specially for winter there may be a potential problem just be sure to pick your horses hooves thoroughly after you ride!
When I was much younger and living in western NY we always hacked in the snow. I think the horses were barefoot(been so long can't remember, hehe...). We rode all winter, didn't have a ring so rode all over the place. It was fun. Now I live in Va and ride all year except when it has snowed. My mare is shod all fours and I find the snow balls up too much, and I don't want to hurt her legs. It isn't worth going to the added expense to put special snow pads on as it snows so sporadically here. I consider it a small vacation from riding.
I like riding in fluffy snow. If it is a week old or so, sun beating down on it, melting a top layer, freezing overnight and making crust...not so much. Good tip.. keep a can of Pam (cooking spray) near the cross ties. Right before you go out to ride, spray soles of hooves with it. It helps keep hooves clear of snow and ice packing.