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Do you have a temp cutoff?

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  • Do you have a temp cutoff?

    Yesterday it was a high of 6 degrees, and despite having an indoor arena I decided not to ride.

    I was trying to prepare for a haul out lesson this weekend, but right now it's 8 degrees and the high tommorow is going to be about 20.

    Am I being a sissy or do you have a temperature cutoff for riding or lessons?

    My rides this week have consisted of hand galloping until my horse stops snorting then doing some trot work at about 45mph.

  • #2
    My trainer puts the cut off at 20 and below for lessons/riding. And when the temp is *just* above 20 we do very minimal stuff-basically we get the horses out to stretch their legs a bit.

    Our horses just got clipped, so with the combo of cold temps AND having no hair sometimes my "walk to stretch legs" rides turn interesting...


    • #3
      My personal cut off is around 20 degrees as well... and we are well below that here, at the moment.

      It's a fine balance between keeping the horses worked enough to stay sane and not pushing the envelope too much...

      I hate winter.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        I live in Chicago. If it is under 25 I use a quarter sheet on my young, TB. My personal temperature rule is single digits and triple digits.

        If it is in the single digits (less than 10 degrees) I don't ride.
        If it in in the triple digits (more than 99 degrees) I don't ride.

        I like having a personal rule so that I don't feel like I am wussing out. I have set the standard for myself and I feel like it is clear, practical and something I can live with. There is something to be said about the "fun" of riding and when I can't feel my face anymore, well, that's just not fun! Likewise when you are sweating buckets sitting still in the shade, it is not going to be a lot of fun to ride a horse around a sandy, outdoor arena although I personally handle the heat better than the cold.

        I tell my girls -If I can ride 4x a week for 50 of the 52 weeks in a year I am not doing too bad.


        • #5
          My cutoff is 20 degrees. However, since I have no indoor, it's somewhat dependent on wind. On a sunny, still day I will sometimes ride even if it's a bit colder.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


          • #6
            my trainer won't work the horses under 20 degrees, and when it's just above 20 it's only about 15 minutes of trotting. (With an indoor, that is.) Personally the cold doesn't bother me and I'd be fine in that weather if I were dressed properly.


            • #7
              Zero. Assuming indoor, of course. I'd probably wimp out much sooner outside in the wind.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lizrd View Post
                If it is in the single digits (less than 10 degrees) I don't ride.
                If it in in the triple digits (more than 99 degrees) I don't ride.
                I live in Chicago, too, and this is a pretty good system to go by. Your winter one that is. At 99 degrees I'm a lot more likely to say screw it and just bathe my horse, and then go home and sit in the air conditioning. Especially when you factor in the constant humidity.

                Extreme cold is a killer though. Yesterday it was a high of 4, I think, and I went to the barn to handwalk my horse. I looked like an eskimo. However I warmed up pretty quick because my horse thought handwalking was a timed event. And I know it's COLD when I go home and crank the heat. I'm always yelling at my SO to turn the heat down (he likes it stifling) and last night he came home to the heat cranked and me wrapped in a blanket with a scarf still on. I just could not warm up!

                I ride for fun. When my face is numb, it's not fun.


                • #9
                  My cutoff for lessons and riding is about 30. I live in the south and do not have an indoor. If it gets much below 30 my footing freezes to rock hard.
                  Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                  My equine soulmate
                  Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


                  • #10
                    20 degrees is my cutoff for up here in the frozen tundra of NNY. The indoor is brown steel and absorbs heat, so if it's sunny it's usually 5-10 degrees warmer in there than outside. That means that sometimes if it's in the high teens I'll make an exception knowing full well it's warmer in the indoor....usually that only happens if It's been a week of too cold to ride and I just need to get out there.

                    Too cold this weekend. High of 10 today, down to -25 tonight, high of 0 tomorrow. Won't be riding till mid-week at the earliest.

                    I sooo hate winter.


                    • #11
                      Below 20 degrees...

                      ....no show, no ride. That's my rule. I feel like the air is so cold and the ground is so hard that it is better for both horse and rider to take it easy!! However, if turnout time is limited also due to the weather, I will still suck it up and get on with a couple of coolers to power walk for half an hour in the indoor just to stretch my guys legs and keep them sane.

                      By the way, toe warmers (the little stick on air-activated thingies) are your friend in this weather!

                      Given the last two winters in the Northeast, which have been brutal and very snowy, I am really thinking about proactively turning my horses out and giving them time off next winter. Let them get fuzzy, pull shoes, relax and start them back in March or so. Also, (added bonus) cut back horse expenses for a few months to save up for summer show season. Last winter, one of my horses was injured (puncture wound in the hock) and laid himself up February to May. He's a hottish OTTB and I was afraid he's come back crazier than ever! However, I was amazed that he came back calmer and more sensible than he has ever been. Either he's finally growing up, or the time off actually helped him mentally and it has carried through all year. That's what planted the turn out idea in my head, and the weather this winter is only making it seem more attractive
                      No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill


                      • #12
                        Haha I just called my new barn to see if the trainer's still doing lessons right now (12* out). The woman who answered the phone sounded surprised I was asking! If it wasn't my 2nd lesson there I'd be seriously considering canceling. I feel like once you get below 20 everyone's just miserable.
                        "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                        Phoenix Animal Rescue


                        • #13
                          I'd base the decision more on the footing that the temps (although you'll quickly figure out at what temps the footing freezes). And remember if you have an indoor, the temp inside is not always the temp outside. It can easily be 10 degrees or more warmer inside and no wind chill, which is what I found would kill you when I lived in the midwest.

                          But if you are going to be miserable, I wouldn't force yourself to ride. The horses aren't going to care if you give them an extra day or two off.

                          When it is super cold but still rideable, I won't push the horses, but just get them out at least to stretch their legs-- just as a previous poster indicated.


                          • #14
                            20 degrees. Much below that and it starts to hurt my lungs. And if it's not good for my lungs, how is it good for theirs?
                            \"In all manners of opinion, our adversaries are insane.\" Mark Twain


                            • #15

                              I read the topic title, and being from the eventing/combined driving world, I assumed the question was about the HORSES temp, how high you tolerate during/after work LOL. I was all gungho to chime in with my thoughts, as this is a hot button for me........

                              FWIW, I moved from the midwest to the SE 18 mos ago and now I whine if it's in the 40's, at least until I call home. VBG


                              • #16
                                20-25, I'll ride but limit what we do more--long warm-up, stretchy trotting, a little canter, long cool-down.

                                15-20, I'll walk and trot a little, but won't canter. Or if there's no windchill and it's sunny, I'll go for a little trail ride or hack in the fields.

                                Below 15, I usually won't ride.

                                I ride because it's fun and I enjoy my horse. If neither of us are going to enjoy the ride, I won't bother.
                                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                                • #17
                                  Not an official one like I have a number, but for example today the high MIGHT reach 20 and the low is 2, so I'm not going to the barn (even if I didn't think I'd wind up in a ditch, again, like I did on the way to work yesterday.) It's just too cold, and even though I haven't actually gotten him into a sweat lately I'd rather not take chances with him or me.
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by dani0303 View Post
                                    My cutoff for lessons and riding is about 30. I live in the south and do not have an indoor. If it gets much below 30 my footing freezes to rock hard.
                                    This is my situation exactly! And the cut off may be a bit higher --around 35 -- if it is really windy.
                                    Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson


                                    • #19
                                      My trainer can and will close the entire barn when the temps go down to the mid-low teens, like it is now. She doesn't want any doors being opened at all because the barn gets quite cold rather fast. If it stays closed up the temperature remains around 40* I'd say. Not to mention, when the snow starts to pile up our little suburbanite cars just get stuck in the parking area. No fun.

                                      I've ridden when it's 18*. Not really a totally awesome experience. I would do it again if I was in really good mood and really wanted to school something. Otherwise, whatever it is can wait.
                                      Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
                                      Thank you for everything boy.

                                      Better View.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Squirt View Post
                                        20 degrees. Much below that and it starts to hurt my lungs. And if it's not good for my lungs, how is it good for theirs?

                                        That's how I feel too. I'm ok in 30-something degree weather, especially with an indoor which my current barn has. However, when it drops into the mid 20's, then it's borderline for me. I still feel comfortable when I ride and I'm sure the horse appreciates being able to stretch its legs. However, anything strenuous at those temperatures ends up making my lungs hurt too. Given that horses have such high VO2max, I can't imagine they feel that good pulling in all that frigid air.