Winter riding doesn’t have to be miserable. It can be a fun time of year spent with your horse. You just have to get properly prepared. Most people avoid the barn once it dips below a certain temperature, but that’s not necessary if you invest in some winter riding gear. Follow these tips to enjoy the season with your horse.
- Heavy-Duty Clothing: All-weather coats that have removable lining make fall through winter easy. Select fabrics that slick away sweat. Layer up your shirts, which makes it easy to take one off if you get too hot. Try to find winter athletic attire. They are designed to be lightweight, but will also protect you from the cold. Fleece riding pants will become your best friend. Flannel underneath is designed to trap in the warmth.
- Toasty Toes: Your riding boots shouldn’t be too bulky. That can be dangerous in the stirrups. Find a pair that promises insulation, but without the thick size. They must also be waterproof. Wool socks are a great investment.
- Warm Hands: Again, find a pair of gloves that are not too bulky. You won’t be able to use your fingers properly, if so. Thinsulate-lined gloves are worth the price.
- Be An Active Rider: Keep moving in the saddle, as that will help you generate heat to stay warm.
- Stay Dry: Don’t let water or sweat get any part of your body wet. You’ll catch a chill much easier.
- Prepare Your Horse’s Hooves: The ground can be extra slippery in the snow. If your horse wears shoes, you’ll have to put on snow pads. Either way, carry a hoof pick in case snow balls form. Frost can also be dangerous. Make sure to ride slowly if the conditions require it.
- Dry A Wet Horse: You don’t want your horse getting a cold, so make sure to properly cool him down. Dress him in a cooler that slicks away sweat and walk him around until he is dry.
- No Cold Bits: Warm your horse’s bit with a bit warmer. You can also try warming it up with your hands. This will make his winter riding experience much more enjoyable, as well.
Slow down and enjoy the unique sites that winter can bring. The cold weather will more than likely slow you down, but it doesn’t have to completely stop you from riding. Practice common sense and you will be good to go!