If you live in the northeast and have horses that are more than lawn ornaments, riding in the winter is inevitable. Today was a typical winter ride and I realized that there are things I adore about riding in the winter, however, there are also things I hate about it.
Things I hate about riding in winter:
1. Freaking cold!
This ones pretty obvious, but I just got in from riding half an hour ago and I’m still freezing here with my cup of tea. Somehow it’s hard to enjoy yourself when your knees are frozen in place and you can’t feel your toes. Staying on might be cold, but you dread getting off when your frozen toes hit the ground and the feeling runs up through your legs as those stiff knees almost buckle. Brrrrr!
Having ice under your horse is just scary. I’ve had a horse slip on ice and go down on me, and I can’t say I’m looking for a redo. It can be really dangerous for you and the horse.
3. Frisky ponies
Often times because the horses get less work in the winter, they tend to be quite frisky. Which can be compounded with ice on the ground that leads to some scary riding experiences.
4. Less Time
There’s so much less daylight. Going for a ride before or after work isn’t usually an option since work takes up the entire ‘day’ part of the day
5. Limited Access
For me, my arena fills up with a huge snow drift every year and the trails tend to be too deep with snow, so it limits my riding to the quiet roads in the area, which can get a bit monotonous.
Things I Love about riding in the winter:
1. No bugs
Bugs are by far the worst part of riding in the summer. In the winter, you can ride at whatever pace you want you can take your time and not be getting swarmed in your eyes and ears by the little black flies or chased down the road by deer and horse flies.
2. No Baths
In the winter I tend to take it easy with my horses, which means I don’t have to give them a bath after every ride. Giving baths typically results in both my horse and I looking like a drowned rat and my having to strip my clothing at the front door to avoid leaving puddles all through the house. So, I’m really happy to not have to worry about this in the winter.
3. It’s beautiful
Even if you hate winter and the snow, you have to admit it’s beautiful. Everything covered in white and clean looking. Plus, the noise insulation that the snow (and my hat) provides makes you feel like you’re the only one out there.
4. Less ringwork
I’m not exactly a ringwork fan. I do it because it’s necessary for what I do with my horses and it’s easy when you’re short on time, but the fact that my ring is full of snow is a nice excuse to just go for a trail ride.
5. More padding
In the winter, in order to stay warm, I wear snow pants. I love my snow pants. It typically takes a lot to get me cold and there’s extra padding. Riding bareback? No worries I have an extra inch of cushion 😉
Over all, I just love riding and fall is definitely my favorite riding season, but winter isn’t too bad either, but snow pants are essential in my life.