As much as the romantic scene of riding a horse while the snow is falling around you can be appealing, it also happens to be one of the more dangerous times of year to be riding horses. While all bundled up, the snow and white scenery may be beautiful and peaceful, but the ground conditions can make horses feel unstable and stressed. You are also more restricted from controlling the horse since you are wearing heavy jackets and layers.
Here are a few horse riding tips for the winter season to keep you and your animal safe!
Avoid Icy or Snow-Covered Roads
If you want to get out and enjoy a winter ride with your horse, it is important to be cautious about where you decide to wander. It is best to avoid roads, as asphalt and cement surfaces can become very slippery and icy when wet. The snow can sometimes hide the icy road and cause your horse to have less traction, potentially leading to a dangerous fall. Roads are also shared with fast-moving vehicles that can easily lose control when driving on slippery surfaces. Cars might not have enough time to pass you on the road and slide right into you and your horse. A winter walk through a field or the woods is safer in snowy conditions for everyone involved.
Dress Properly for the Occasion
Obviously you will want to dress warm when venturing out into the cold, but you don’t want to be so warm that you start sweating, as dampness can lead to a chill. Be sure to dress in layers to remove or add any extra clothing if need be.
Don’t neglect your hands when dressing for your winter outdoor adventure! A good pair of gloves is absolutely necessary to avoid frostbite, along with waterproof, insulated boots to protect your precious toes from losing feeling.
For extremely cold days, investing in some hand and foot warmers is a great way to give yourself the extra boost you need to make it through your ride.
Take It Slow
This is not the time to try and see how fast you and your horse can go. Take it slow and enjoy the ride and your surroundings. Ensure you plan for extra time on your ride in case of poor visibility or lots of snow on the ground. Deep snow can be extremely tiring for your horse to trudge through, so take a steady pace and don’t go as far as you normally would on a nice summer day.
Bring a Friend
It’s always a smart idea to bring someone along with you on your winter ride since it is so easy for snow to hide potentially dangerous things like ditches or holes in the ground. Having a friend with you will ensure you and your horse’s safety if an accident were to occur. The best way to ride with a companion during the winter is for one of you to lead while the other follows, so if the leader runs into any trouble, the follower can avoid it and come to the rescue!
It’s also a nice bonding activity to ride with a friend after a stressful week of work or to get some exercise and catch up with one another in nature. Your horse will appreciate the extra love and attention as well!
Take care of your horses this winter and ensure they have a warm and safe place to reside once the ride is over. At Deer Creek Structures, we specialize in building high-quality barns, and horse sheds to give your animals a comfortable space to rest and relax. Made in the heart of Texas, these quality horse shelters and run-in sheds are perfect for all types of horses and livestock!