Horse Riding In A Winter Wonderland
Date: January 4th, 2012
Riding your horse in winter can be a refreshing and invigorating experience. However, you must make the right preparations, precautions and warm down for the safety of you and your horse. Consider the tips listed below and enjoy your winter ride!
Having a plan and predetermined route is imperative to a safe and enjoyable ride for both you and your horse. Stay away from areas where holes, branches, ice puddles, poles and other hidden hazards lay hidden under the snow. If you do end up in an area you aren't sure of, turn around and find a safe path. If that is not an option, get off your horse and check the terrain yourself.
Check the health of your horse before you go on any excursion. Horses are not immune to illnesses like colds – look for signs like a runny nose, coughing or weezing. If you do notice these symptoms, consider giving your horse something like Farnam Cough Free Powder - it helps with colds, heaves and allergies.
Just as it is harder for people to walk in the snow, it will be harder for your horse too! Keep the pace slow and only trot when you are on safe, level terrain that you have checked beforehand. Plus, a slower pace will reduce sweat – sweat cools the body and can chill your horse.
Horses that do not work frequently in the winter may go shoeless but horses that are outdoor daily may require extra hoof care. Snow and ice easily builds up under horses' hooves and can lead to uneven footing and the greater risk of an accident.
Check your Equipment
Winter weather can take a real toll on your equine equipment. Snow, as well as repeated freezing and thawing can harm leather and metal components. What can you do? Check your equipment frequently for signs of wear-and-tear and clean and condition it regularly. Tack that is maintained often is less likely to break.
CountryMax sells a wide variety of tack cleaning products, such as Lexol leather cleaners, that can keep your tack in like-new condition. For example, Snow Proof Silicone Water & Stain Repellent provides extra, heavy-duty, longer lasting water and stain protection.
The Buddy System
For added safety, head out with other horseback riders for winter rides. Other riders provide an extra set of eyes and ears for potential trouble spots. Plus, if anything were to happen, trail buddies can spring into action.
"Warm-downs" are more necessary than ever in cooler weather. A wet horse can catch a cold, dry your horse thoroughly after riding. Also, do a thorough visual check for scrapes, cuts, bruises, or puncture wounds. If you notice any injuries, Banixx can be applied to provide quick, effective recovery from wounds and infections.
After the ride, many equestrians cover their horses with blankets to prevent chills until their sweat dries. Finish up by cleaning the horse's hooves and check for cracks or loose shoes.
Make sure your horse has fresh, clean, ice-free water by installing water heaters in troughs. Horses drink less if the water is too cold and this can lead to colic.
Do you have any tips to add? Leave a comment below!
Additional Resources: http://www.agway.com/know_how/farm_and_equine/equine/horse_riding_in_a_winter_wonderland.html