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Winter warriors, how are you doing?

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    Winter warriors, how are you doing?

    There's a thread like this every year I feel like, so I thought I'd start a new one. How is everyone doing this winter, riding wise? Are you able to ride consistently? Or are you like me and delegated to weekend rides only, and only hacks most of the time because the ring is constantly under water? Let's motivate each other!

    My mare is just coming back into work after fracturing her skull around 5 weeks ago. I'm incredibly fortunate to have the perfect job. I take care of a small private stable for a retired gentleman about 6 mins from my boarding barn. I can take a long lunch (3ish hours) most days, so i ride most weekdays. When I couldn't ride Winnie, I was often riding one of Coach's young horses.

    I rode 2-4 times a week through winter last year (different job, different barn), and this one looks a lot better than that! There's an indoor, so I ride until it's below -15c. I usually go up one weekend day, as well (unless roads are too crappy, it's 45 min each way to my stable), so I get a LOT of pony time. It's basically all I do anymore (though we are hosting humans for a NYE game night tonight).


      The year from heck (not hell, cuz yeah it could've been much worse) means I didn't get the base down in my arena, so no footing, which means I can't ride unless it's been dry for 3-4 days straight. I haven't ridden in weeks! The few days it has been close to rideable, pony has been breathing fire and I have enough sense to know that I don't want to ride that out. So I do groundwork, manners work, find scary things to acclimate him's good for him, not so great for my riding fitness.

      Have had several people tell me I should suck it up and do walk rides... I can only assume their idea of "mud" is different than the swamp stuff we grow here I nearly fell down while lunging yesterday, and pony did a slip and slow mo fall because he was acting a fool. Ironically, I live next to a boarding facility - unfortunately my schedule doesn't allow me to utilize their arena during the time it is available, and the $20 per use fee discourages it even further.

      He's young. A few months of light duty will probably be good for him! Top Goal for 2020 is definitely to get footing down, though.


        I recently read that the average daytime temperature here (western MA) from Dec-March is about 30 degrees F, which is actually a very comfortable temp. for riding. And when I started paying attention to that I realized that I've been making too much of the cold. The footing is a bigger issue, but even that isn't impossible everywhere, all the time.

        I think it sometimes helps with motivatiion when we can change the perception that the weather is the problem. :-)


          WEll i am riding more than i was this summer!!

          As usual for my area our winters dont start till after the new year, it has been cold here but the weather mild. No snow or extreme ice yet, mainly just keeping our highs of 35 and lows of 20.

          My stud horse is really working great on the ranch, however i have also started to focus more on his show prep for this coming show season. I am really hoping to get him out there and in the ribbons! i know he has the potential!

          However once the snow hits my arena will be covered, so we will be back fo focusing on ranch work!!

          I have never had an issue with staying warm, but then again i do not care what i am riding in. This time of year i live in a pair of thick bib coveralls, coats, hats, and scarfs!


            I need recommendations for a good winter riding coat—a long one with zipper or snaps in the back. One of my horses is just better if she gets a 20 min (or more) walk in the woods before we ride. The cold and wind doesn’t bother her, but it’s rough on me, especially if we’re just walking!

            So far I’ve been able to get everyone ridden or at least worked 5 days a week.


              I’m in Canada so with the lack of daylight and the weather we’ve been stuck inside since early October.
              But at least we have an indoor!
              I’ve been riding 4-5 days/wk, and playing with the coming 3yo one or two days. Hoping to get her started in March, we’ll still be indoors until early May though.

              When it’s colder than -15C I still go out to visit on my way home from work. Change blankets if needed. Hand out treats, and then hurry home to curl up on the couch!


                Dutchmare433 the horseware fifi hooded winter riding coat is scrumptious. I love mine (and ride as long as it is above 8F I do a full 30-45 minute ride on my girl!) and it keeps me very toasty. Do look at the size chart as the letter sizes do not correlate to the typical number sizes so you may need to size up!


                  What horses think of winter:


                    It has been pretty mild so far, but I know there will be harder days in January and February. This year will be different for me because the boarding barn will be virtually empty this winter. I’m going to have to really push myself to go out there without anyone else there! I know myself and it’s just so easy to “just this once,” skip out and before you know it you’re totally out of a routine. I’ve been really brainstorming on how to make avoid spending the winter hibernating myself and then feel bad about it when it warms up . I think writing down my times and days in the calendar will help, as well as “rewarding” myself for staying active. In the winter I really would just sit and read by a fire during all my free time, but along with my work that is WAY too much sitting so at least some of the time I need to be doing something not sedentary.


                      So far so good - mild, dry weather in Texas pretty much. So riding 3-4 times a week with no problem. It's a lot more comfortable in the 40s and 50s than it was in the Summer 100s!
                      My favorite girl!


                        It's ice here. Inch thick, wind polished, glare ice.

                        I would love to have some puddles to ride in...

                        Actually, no - I'd _really_ love to have some snow to ride in.


                          I was actually doing pretty well until my horse riding college student came home 11 days ago. I've been thinking he'd want to ride, so have been waiting for him to get his lazy butt out of bed. Then, other things come up, or he's got plans I'm not aware of, etc. I've ridden twice in the last 11 days. I need to just get back to doing my own thing and stop waiting around for Sleeping Beauty.


                            This is the first winter I've boarded at a barn with an indoor, so I'm definitely riding more than I have in past years. So far it's the footing that's been the issue not so much the actual temperature. I'm sure that will change.

                            I'm also looking for a house which has been sort of a nightmare. Prices are high right now and inventory low. Blah.

                            Last time I rode my horse volunteered to lunge himself on the end of his 8' leadrope before I got on. Lots of hopping.


                              I have been working with a rescue, a drop-dead gorgeous, totally misunderstood, highly sensitive Hanoverian. Ground work for now, building confidence, balance, and muscle. Under saddle very little at this point.
                              Banter whenever you want to banter....canter whenever you want to canter.


                                We are fortunate to have an indoor, but my horse doesn't prefer the footing, nor does he enjoy being inside. He's a semi-retired Irish Yak who will be at no particular disadvantage in life if we spend the winter walking up and down the same stretch of road, particularly if it means he can visit the mini-donkeys across the street, and he also would rather work on our (excellent) outdoor ring footing even if it's frozen. So he received the wonderful gift of a wool quarter sheet, and I'm going to suck it up and ride outside as much as the light allows. Unfortunately his vision is also fading a bit as he gets older, so what the light would have allowed 5 years ago and what the light allows now are two different things... but see above about the part where he's semi-retired, so two days of flatwork and two days of ambling keep him plenty fit to teach my mother once a week.
                                "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden


                                  Original Poster

                                  Sounds like you guys are soldiering on! I agree that the weather has been fairly mild so far and the worst is probably yet to come in January and February. I just sold my project horse, he left yesterday, so I am on the search for something to ride now. Wish me luck!


                                    I last rode on Dec 21. I live on the North/South Dakota border and temperatures here have been in the teens and windchills have been below zero (F). We got 18" of snow over the past weekend so trailering to the only indoor arena I have access to was out of the question. Most winters I'm lucky if I can ride 1x week - I generally only ride outside if the "feels like" temperature is over 10F and have to trailer to ride indoors. I did make a winter riding skirt and am looking forward to determining if it changes my riding temperature thresholds.

                                    To keep my sanity relatively in check, I have tried to focus on my 2020 riding goals. Endurance conditioning doesn't need to start until March 1 as the first ride is May 1 (we ride Limited Distance so 25 miles doesn't take quite as much conditioning). Any rides I get in between now and then are just bonus. I will be taking jumping lessons this summer (first time in jumping lessons as an adult, wish me luck) so I also am working on my personal fitness to improve my core and balance. Basically I'm doing what I can and forgiving myself for not being able to do more.
                                    Last edited by QHEndurance; Jan. 2, 2020, 02:16 PM. Reason: Edited to clarify F vs C


                                      I am failing miserably. It is dark and cold (not too cold, but cold enough) when I get home from work, and by the time I devote required attention to family, house, etc, I'm wiped. I have tried going out to barn in the mornings, but that's just the wrong end of the day, and just puts my work day that much much later, and I'm that much slower at the end of it. Horse is a senior, so he already knows everything and I'm not concerned about his training, but, he is bored and fed up with me.

                                      Well. Tomorrow is another day. I'm going to start using vacation days here and there to at least get one day during the week where horse actually gets groomed, tacked, and exposed to the concept of being under saddle.


                                        Originally posted by Dutchmare433 View Post
                                        I need recommendations for a good winter riding coat—a long one with zipper or snaps in the back. One of my horses is just better if she gets a 20 min (or more) walk in the woods before we ride. The cold and wind doesn’t bother her, but it’s rough on me, especially if we’re just walking!

                                        So far I’ve been able to get everyone ridden or at least worked 5 days a week.
                                        I have a couple of Mountain Horse jackets. One is a red jacket with elastic around the bottom and a double zipper. It has rear vents and is very comfortable. I got it off the late-great Tack of the Day several years ago, very cheap of course. I also have a heavier MH that is more of a coat, much warmer and longer so it covers part of my thighs. It's quite a bit warmer so I usually pull it out when it is 20 or colder. It came from Adams Horse supplies. Both are good jackets, well made and last. Also machine washable.

                                        I ride down to about 15 degrees which is where a horse's respiration begins to work harder. Apparel is Irideon WindPro full seat breeches, Smartwool socks. Ariat Terrains that are insulated and waterproof. They definitely are warmer than regular Terrains. SSG insulated leather gloves. When it's really cold Mountain Horse has a great riding mitten that warms your pinkies up within 5-10 minutes,

                                        We have a large indoor. DH fires up the Deere and lays out a path around the hayfield after snowstorms. So we can ride inside or outside depending on the weather.

                                        The farrier puts 2 borium studs on rear ends of his shoes. He has a 2 degree frog pad which works fine in the snow. He gets snowballs at times and I use a small hammer to knock them out in the barn. I avoid going outside if he might get snowballs.

                                        I've always been a cold weather rider. Horses can control body temperature much better when it's cold than when it's hot. My horse likes snow, especially galloping around the hayfield in fresh fluffy new snow. Some people think I'm nuts but I have a couple of friends who usually ride with me. I love it and it keeps my horse in good condition.

                                        Can you ride in the 30s, people sometimes ask? Of course! It feels like a nice spring day.
                                        "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019