Winter Riding. Last few things to remember.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Thursday, November 29, 2007 10:27 PM
I have been riding outside through the winters for 7 years. During all this time I didn't have any accidents in regard of winter hazards such as fall on slippery footing, lameness or catching a cold either me or my horse. Through trials and errors I have found what works and what doesn't. Today I will talk about a few things that I have remembered after I finished previous articles.
  • By the end of the winter snow accumulates, it melts on warm days and freezes on cold ones creating a crust that is very hard for horses to go through and can be plain dangerous. During that period I usually ride on the side of a quiet gravel road. Center of the road is very slippery but sides are OK, especially when they are covered with fresh snow that a grader haven't cleaned up yet. The notice of caution, you must be experienced and bold rider and your horse is well schooled. The road work can give you a lot of opportunities to work your horse in a unique manner that no other terrain can offer. You can go only straight forward, keep the line of travel, watch out for traffic, control your horses speed, etc.
  • If you get your horse wet with sweat and he lives outside, thoroughly dry it with a cotton towel and put two coolers on him. One cooler with the neck will go under and the second one can be without the neck cover. This way the moisture will be drawn out of the horse's hair quicker and the horse will be warmer.
  • After the ride make sure you brush out all the hard snow that accumulates on horse's legs, especially fetlocks and pasterns.
  • At the beginning of the winter -10C feels much colder then at the end.
  • Working a horse in the open field is really challenging: there is no fence, animals can show up any time (I encountered deers, coyotes and moose). Make sure to analyze your horse's reactions in the field and adjust your training accordingly.
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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