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Riding in the winter

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  • Riding in the winter

    I am new to the east coast (originally from CA!) and I'm getting nervous about winter riding. The place where I currently have my horse does not have an indoor arena and the places around here that do have an indoor are 2 1/2 times as expensive and do not have turnout/pastures. Is it impossible to ride during the winter with the snow, ice and cold without an indoor arena? I just want to be prepared! BTW I ride Dressage! Thanks...

  • #2
    The "east coast" is not one big weather pattern. You may have heard the weather in Maine is different from the weather in Georgia.

    Long story short, if you live in an area where there is regular snowfall, I would not expect to do any steady work in the winter months. Icy, compacted, half-melted snow is very bad, sometimes downright dangerous footing.

    If you live someplace Virginia or south of there (and not in the mountains), I would expect to miss a few days to bad weather but basically be fine.
    Proud Member: Bull-snap Haters Clique, Michigan Clique, and Appaloosa Clique!


    • #3
      Are we talking southern Connecticut New England, or northern Vermont New England?

      In CT you will not be able to ride outside from mid-December until the end of March; in VT, not from Thanksgiving until mid/end of April.
      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


      • #4
        In PA

        I'm in north east Pennsylvania. So if I were to give my horse the winter off, does that inhibit training?


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pureluck View Post
          I'm in north east Pennsylvania. So if I were to give my horse the winter off, does that inhibit training?
          Hi there! Welcome! My horse had winters off until about five years ago when I started boarding at a place with an indoor. He did fine, but you do have to play a little catch up in the spring compared to those that are able to ride all year around. Secondly, it gets a little tougher getting them back into shape as they get to their upper teens after months off.

          Our horses always lived out 24/7 w/ their own run-in sheds. This worked just fine, although ice is a problem sometimes. We would bring them in if it got icy (for their own safety) and there would be times when they'd be in the barn for days on end. But, it beats a broken hip or something, which I had happen to my wonderful children's horse.....heart breaking.

          We were able to trail ride in the winter, as long as it wasn't icy, but ring-type work is hard.


          • #6
            I live in Buffalo, so we have lots of snow. (: I have an indoor at my barn, but I don't use it much in the winter because it's too small to work much in, and I don't like riding much when it's that cold anyway. I do ride out in the snow sometimes, out on trail or around the empty pastures or edges of the pastures. A nice sunny day with fresh (non-icy) snow is great weather for a ride. And walking through deep snow is good for conditioning. And soft to fall in. d;
            "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

            Graphite/Pastel Portraits


            • #7
              I'm in MD without an indoor, and my horse and I were okay in the winter. I pretty much did w/t work because on top of the cold, I only had time to ride after dinner so the ring would freeze! If I were you, I'd invest in some nice winter boots and a northface jacket while they're not in season!

              Snow isn't so bad in my area, but I won't ride if there's much in the ring. Too many horror stories about hidden ice patches from my vet... Over all, I ride 6 days a week in the fall/summer/spring and in the winter it's more like 4. The conditions aren't terrible, but it's pretty miserable being outside usually.


              • #8
                I was ok in Philly without one- I probably took 15 days off each winter for ice/snow/below 15 degress. In New York, I can't do it. I would suspect N.E. PA is similar to NY. I know someone about 30 minutes northeast of Scranton and she made a January move to a place with an indoor last year.