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Winter warriors, how are you doing?

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    It's funny—riding through Chicago winters were do-able. Our arena was enclosed, and we had a small heater that at least seemed to help, so as long as we could still feel our fingers after tacking up in the unheated aisle, we we good. If it dropped into the teens, we often canceled because the wind chill was so much worse.

    In Seattle, I've reverted back to my PNW roots and am a total wimp. Our arena is covered but open to the wind. We tack up under an overhang, but the only heat source inside the tack room broke last week before the "cold" snap that's dropped us into the high 20s (yes, please laugh at us, hardy riders of the Great Plains, Midwest, NE, etc). I'm wimping out tonight for the first time all winter; it's the frigid outdoor time before and after riding that kills me. Tomorrow, I'll carry on!

    On a side note, the horses I knew in Chicago seemed over the cold weather pretty quickly. Meanwhile, my old man and his friends are so amped it's funny. I swear we were sidepassing at one point — this on a legitimately creaky oldster who's still coming back into work.


      Even though it was super warm this weekend, I got to thinking about how to survive the REST of the winter...

      Rule #1: Don't listen to the weather people.Schedule
      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


        A thought on working a horse in the winter-I was riding around this morning, nice and cold here for us, 31deg. I never have much time and was just about to quit when little horse decides to do airs above the ground-nothing serious or I'd have fallen off-just lept into the air and kind of "dolphined". But of course then I had to do some more work-and fuss a bit-so he'd know that wasn't acceptable. Consequently I was 3 min late to work-and they were mad about it. DRAT. Keeping a horse going in the winter is *hard*!

        Though in retrospect, I was just kind of futzing around. Maybe I should find some specific exercises and make him work a bit harder! Any suggestions for 10-15 min of work?


          Originally posted by Huntin'Fool View Post
          A thought on working a horse in the winter-I was riding around this morning, nice and cold here for us, 31deg. I never have much time and was just about to quit when little horse decides to do airs above the ground-nothing serious or I'd have fallen off-just lept into the air and kind of "dolphined". But of course then I had to do some more work-and fuss a bit-so he'd know that wasn't acceptable. Consequently I was 3 min late to work-and they were mad about it. DRAT. Keeping a horse going in the winter is *hard*!

          Though in retrospect, I was just kind of futzing around. Maybe I should find some specific exercises and make him work a bit harder! Any suggestions for 10-15 min of work?
          LOL! Don't they know, at work, that you have to end your ride on a good note?
          This is exactly why I don't ride before work - so many things can happen

          I consider myself fortunate this winter that my Tb mare has refrained (and there I might just have jinxed myself writing it) from winter-induced airs-above-ground. At 22 she is still as agile and catty as ever and I am happy she just goes down to work!
          The other day (riding outside because it was above 32F! Yeah!) we were having a nice, on-the-aids active, obedient trot when she all of a sudden took off for a few strides. I felt like I was on a speed boat and my upper back hit her rump, it was so sudden! But I think she genuinely spooked at something, as it didn't morph into bucking and boinking like it usually does. Phew.

          If I only have a short time, with my mare I do a lot of lateral work to keep her mind engaged, after a few minutes of long-and low warm up:
          -spiraling in-out
          -leg yield on the long side or 1/4 line to the wall or wall to 1/4 line
          -shoulder fore and SI
          -travers at walk or trot
          -turn on the haunches or turn on the forehand at walk immediately followed with trot
          -20 m to 15 then 10m circles at canter
          - lots and lots of transitions between and within the gaits.
          Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


            Also - the worst of winter is over! The days are getting longer, and the sun, warmer!
            Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


              I rode like, 9 times, in December. More than November, so I was happy with that, at least. But it's been very rainy here and warmer than usual which is making a ton of mud and flooded arenas/round pens. Where I board, we don't usually *need* a covered/indoor arena. But, both this year and last year we've had more rain than usual and I'm wishing for one, because it has made working horses difficult, let alone riding!

              I'm hoping to get 20 rides in for February. We will see what Mother Nature thinks of that.
              Originally posted by katarine
              I don't want your prayers, tiny cow.
              Originally posted by Pat9
              When it's time for a horse to go to a new person, that person will appear. It's pony magic.


                The flu, the cold that lasted a month, digestive torture - riding has gone kaput. Maybe late February?


                  Originally posted by jonquil View Post
                  The flu, the cold that lasted a month, digestive torture - riding has gone kaput. Maybe late February?
                  Would a little winter fun help?


                    Too warm and rainy, no snow at all.


                      Well, it is snowing and blowing sideways.

                      South of here they are predicting 6" to 8" of snow.

                      Crazy winter, Sunday was sunny and 75F.


                        I managed to ride my younger horse at the end of last week after a snow that got soaked in rain just enough to make it solid without turning into ice. The crust is about 3" thick and almost supports my weight. The horses have to put a little effort into punching through. Which is too much work for someone who has too many beans to spook/bolt more than a few steps, and is also distracting enough to prevent most spooks.

                        I haven't ridden him since mid December and he was really good. The first day we went out with another horse, but the second day we went solo and he was even better!

                        The footing is safe enough for some contained trot and canter too - which made my older horse happy. Though he thinks it's good enough to gallop. I bruised my tailbone a while back (maybe December) and it's really bothering me when I ride. him. I'm hoping it's the saddle and plan to use his other one next time out to see if it helps.


                          Sophie, I just saw your reply to my post! And apparently work just doesn’t understand about ending on the good note-ha. That is excellent advice re the lateral movements etc. Re back hitting rump-I have been there! Lol. This hunting season when a horse galloped up behind us to be specific. Thank God stupid winter is over!!!! Now to find some trail riding pals 😁