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How to deal with the snow?

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  • How to deal with the snow?

    We have NEVER had snow. NEVER. I mean, that's not entirely true, there's snow, but normally it comes once a year in march when we're all in gulfport, and even then it melts in a day. Therefore, we don't have and normally have no need for an indoor ring. Now we've had snow/rain for a week and my horse hasn't been ridden... Yay for getting to deal with a crazy thoroughbred when the snow melts. Is there anything I can do to alleviate the craziness?
    I feel like a bad momma for not seeing my horse in a week, but with the roads icy like this, there's no way I'm getting out to the barn for another few days.
    Ugh, how do you New Englanders deal with it.
    Mendokuse

  • #2
    Originally posted by hunterrider23 View Post
    Ugh, how do you New Englanders deal with it.
    I'm not a New Englander, but it snows plenty here. We just ride in it. You should try it, in all seriousness.

    DO be careful if there is a layer of ice or wet snow at the bottom. Otherwise, horses tend to manage OK.

    A barn I leased from previously has miles and miles of trails for hacking and few things were better than heading out on snowy trails.

    I'd be riding in the snow today were it not for the blizzard conditions we're having. Will definitely have a go at it in the snow tomorrow, though.

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    • #3
      I'm in Vermont and we have snow from October/November-March/April. We deal with it. We still turn our horses out every day. Winter pads keep the snow out. If your horses don't have rim pads just spray pam/rub vaseline in the shoe and keep a hammer handy to bang out snowballs. It gets tough by February, I think the horses start to get a little sick of the snow. Mine tend to not cruise around the pasture quite as much. You see the tracks that they made in the snow, and they often don't go far, so some days we have more energy under saddle. I've had friends turn the horses loose in the indoor when they get crazy, but I personally don't do it.

      I second going out for a ride in the snow. If you can keep it out of their shoes, it's really fun to take a hack in the snow. Just go easy, because it's a work out to move in deep snow. They'll be huffing and puffing after a few minutes!

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      • #4
        Ride anyway! I consider it conditioning!

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        • #5
          Used to work up and down the driveways a lot; they melt faster. One barn I boarded at in Mass. BITD had a nice circular driveway at the barn end which they kept ploughed and salted so they could work horses there. No jumping, obvs, but plenty of room for flatwork.
          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

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          • #6
            Ride in it. I lived in MN for a good while, and the horses generally did fine in the snow. I'd only worry if it's really deep + icy. They might get a little cut up then. But in general, they were fine -- we were the frozen ones!

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            • #7
              This OP might be a little more concerned about the drive to the barn down in dixie where it snows once in a blue moon and them old pick em up trucks end up like bowling balls. Having been in the tail end of an ice storm in the hills north of Atlanta and seen it? I'd stay off the roads too.

              Far as the horse? He is probably not used to having to be careful where he puts his feet either and this is not a good time to introduce him to ice under snow-certainly not if he has been sitting for a week. How about a Pro ride or two? Or have somebody lunge him (in sidereins please, limit the opportunity for crazy) or at least hand walk or treadmill if you have one.

              I lost one of my Hunters for over 6 months with a suspensory when he stepped in a snow covered hole or on a snow covered rock or branch just walking out in the field despite the fact he always went out, had for years and it was his regular paddock.

              If it's temporary, no reason to panic. Just be sure to get there when it's cold and rainy even if you don't like it so much...just in case it freezes and you lose even more time.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                I will definitely not be riding in it. Horse has only lived 3 places in his life, Wellington, Nashville, then here. I doubt he's ever even SEEN snow before, let alone walked in it. He's supposed to be getting a pro ride tomorrow, and by then I guess the snow will be melted and the ring dragged.

                Also there is no way my truck or mercedes will make it down the tiny two lane road to the barn where the speed limit is 45...
                Mendokuse

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                • #9
                  Have an OTTB that had been a handful for the past year, and reactive as he wasn't turned out sufficiently. Tried turning him loose in the indoor before rides, but he really would get wound up, and was so fit, it would take forever for him to get tired. Many I know up here do that, but wasn't his solution.

                  For a few reasons, longing not ideal for him either. But I did find that a lot of hand walking got his attention at least to some extent before hopping on. He likes a lot of one on one, and seems better once you hop on him, if he's had that first and hasn't been out. Now he's on 24/7 turnout, but the ground walking still helps if there's something he's reacting to instead of listening (like everyone back in the pasture when it's our time to work.)
                  But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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                  • #10
                    I wouldn't ride in the snow, I did that once and only once, horse slid and went down on his side. Luckily I was thrown clear or I would have been under him, he came out fine too. I would rather a horse loose some conditioning than get injured.

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                    • #11
                      Well, we're old hats and had been riding in the few inches of snow but during yesterday's mini-blizzard my horse was so high I had to keep him on the longe for 5 minutes before I dared turn him loose in the "good paddock" where there is room to run.

                      Grease the shoes, boot up the legs. Get some heavy gloves and a longe with a chain and ease into it.
                      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                      • #12
                        Every time I've tried to ride in the snow, my horses' feet have filled up with such terrible snowballs that he's walking on stilettos and I fear for my life. I tried crisco on the soles but that worked for less than 5 minutes. Do you guys just ride with the snowballs? Or what am I doing wrong?

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                        • #13
                          I don't think I would set out to ride all winter without snow pads or pulling shoes. And depending on the temperature and wetness of the snow, Crisco/Pam/Vaseline might not be enough.
                          ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                          • #14
                            There are several types of shoe/pad arrangements available if you are going to ride or turn out in snow for an extended period of time, ask your farrier. If it's just occasionally and short term? Skip getting them out in it for a few days until it melts. Not worth the $$.

                            I feel for OP down there where they do NOT have any plows outside of those for the farm fields and they do NOT treat with salt/sand or brine. Plus a general lack of understanding that 4x4+ice=911.

                            I learned not to blow off unpleasant days when the roads were good so I did not loose too much time when they sucked once you get out of the city or county maintainance area and I chose not to risk the ditch or somebody sliding into the back of me.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                            • #15
                              I ride all winter in the snow, both flat and jumping. I shoe my horses with borium and snowball pads, and it has worked for me for years.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by awaywego View Post
                                Every time I've tried to ride in the snow, my horses' feet have filled up with such terrible snowballs that he's walking on stilettos and I fear for my life. I tried crisco on the soles but that worked for less than 5 minutes. Do you guys just ride with the snowballs? Or what am I doing wrong?
                                Ski wax.
                                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Had a nice ride out in the snow today. Other than the barn's driveway being icy in the tire ruts, the snow here is tailor made for riding. Bacon's barefoot on all fours and no trouble with balling or slipping at w/t.

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                                  • #18
                                    Wow! I can't imagine feeling so helpless over a bit of snow. The barn where I keep my horse is about a half an hour away travelling mostly on one state highway. Typically, the most treacherous part of my drive is the goat path up and down the twisty hill to the barn, along a ravine, in a community that *might* spread some cinder on the road. However, we found that the road crews pretty much gave up on plowing and salting the highway by the time we were leaving the barn yesterday and our trip back home took about an hour. My sister and I still went both yesterday morning and this morning. We did not ride yesterday as it was a freezing rain the majority of the time we were there, but we did go out for a very nice half hour long hack around the fields today in the snow. The boys enjoyed it, choosing to trot and canter at times. We pretty much let them set the pace.

                                    My previous horse, also an OTTB, was foaled and raised in Florida and used to winter in Florida and never saw snow until I bought him at the age of 8. I had to keep him well blanketed for the temps, but the snow never bothered him...

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by CHT View Post
                                      Ski wax.
                                      My mother has a foundered horse with special shoeing, and I mentioned this to her. She reports back that it really does the trick!

                                      Thanks CHT!
                                      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by CHT View Post
                                        Ski wax.
                                        I've also had good results using WD-40 or Vaseline.

                                        Assuming it's powdery snow and there's no icy layer on the bottom, I like to ride in it sometimes. Great conditioning work and the horses have fun doing it!
                                        http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                                        Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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