Winter Horse Riding Tips

Winter Horse Riding Tips

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011


Winter Horse Riding Tips

By Katherine Blocksdorf

Some tips to prepare your Horse (and Yourself) for cold weather riding

  • Provide More Grip: If you plan to ride, and the ground is slippery ask your farrier about shoes with pads and ice caulks.
  • Adjust the Workload: When riding in the snow remember that it is harder work for the horse. Plan your time in the saddle and your speed accordingly.
  • Slow Down: Plan to school or work at a slower pace so your horse does not sweat as much.
  • A Wet Horse Can Get Cold: Plan extra time to cool down.
  • Keep Muscles Warm:If your horse is used to being stabled and blanketed consider using a ‘rump rug’ or ‘quarter sheet’ to keep his muscles from getting chilled while riding.
  • Dress in Layers: Dress yourself in layers that can be removed easily if you get warm while working your horse.
  • Wear Safe Boots: You may want to wear warmer boots while riding in the winter. Be sure they are not so bulky as to get wedged into your stirrups. They should still slide out easily if you take a spill.
  • Prevent Snowballs: If snowballs form in hooves while you ride, give the bottom of hooves a coating of petroleum jelly.
  • Avoid Hazards: When riding out, make sure you stay away from areas where holes, branches, poles or other hazards might be hidden under the snow.
  • Warm the Bit: A frosty cold bit can be uncomfortable for your horse. Keep bridles in the house, warm the bit with your hands, or put a warm (not hot) gel pack around the bit before putting it in your horse’s mouth.
  • Bring a Snack: Pack a granola bar and a vacuum flask of hot cider or chocolate to warm you up after your ride. Working hard in cold dry weather can be dehydrating. Pack along a bottle of water or sport drink too.