We’re in the midst of winter, and there’s snow on the ground in much of the country. Riding in the snow can be great fun, and chances are that your horse will enjoy it, too.
Before you head out, though, review these six tips to keep you safe and having fun during your snowy ride.
Wear Your Helmet
It might seem that it’s perfectly safe to ride in the snow without your helmet, but don’t head out without it. Snow and ice can be remarkably hard when you fall on them, and even if you’re riding in snow, you could still connect with a fence or other obstacle in a fall.
Watch the Footing
When you head out for a ride, make sure that you carefully watch the footing. Though there might be lots of snow, could there be ice beneath it? Investigate the footing before you saddle up.
Don’t Ask Too Much
Riding in snow is extremely physically demanding for your horse, so don’t ask too much of snowy rides. Keep your horse’s fitness level in mind, and monitor him for signs of fatigue. If snow is very deep, then even just walking in snow is a physical workout for your horse, so keep things slow and keep your ride short.
Listen to Your Horse
As you ride, pay attention to how your horse is responding and moving. If your horse feels fatigued, then it’s best to end your ride. Make sure that you don’t push your horse too hard, and give him plenty of time to warm up and cool down. You might bring along a quarter sheet or a cooler to use as you warm up and cool down.
Make sure that you dress warmly enough to stay comfortable during your ride. Layer your clothing so that you can remove layers as you warm up. The best technique for staying warm in the cold is to always remove enough layers so that you’re not sweating – if you sweat, then you can get chilled very quickly.
Bring a Camera
Snowy rides are the perfect opportunity to get some great photos. Bring along a camera and some friends so that you can get some great, memorable shots.
Riding in the snow can be great fun, but be smart and stay safe so that the experience is enjoyable for both you and your horse.