Riding in the Cold Season: You Should Pay Attention to This

Riding in the cold season can be a challenge for you and your horse. Because when winter is just around the corner, that means short days with little daylight, as twilight already sets in in the afternoon, frosty or snowy weather, wet or stormy days. But no matter what the weather, your horse wants to be moved. So that you both can get through this cold time in the best possible way, here are a few tips on what to look out for.

Winter: the Dark Season

Depending on when you ride your horse in winter, it will already be dark. Because at this time of year it starts to get dark in the afternoon. There are a few aids that you and your horse have a chance to be seen better during your ride. This is especially important when you are driving near roads or riding on paths that cars could pass.

The most common aids are utensils that are equipped with reflectors. So you can not only provide your horse with bandages with reflectors but also with a suitable blanket or bridle for the dark. You as a rider can also equip yourself. With a vest and a rider’s lamp, you will not only be seen better, but you will also be able to better perceive your surroundings yourself. There are even vests for the dark, where there are not only reflective strips on the back, but also labels to warn drivers.
If you ride with a dog, your dog should of course also be visible to all road users. A lot is also possible with flashing collars and reflector coats.

As a Rider, You Also Need Protection in Winter

Riding in winter can be tough. The cold or wet weather tears the body and requires a lot of energy. In order to lose as little heat as possible and to stay healthy and lively, you can equip yourself with the right riding clothing. There are thermal boots and thermal pants to protect against the cold. Both keep you warm and the thermal boots protect against wind and moisture. There are different models of thermal pants. Pick the one that makes you feel most comfortable.

Since we humans lose a lot of heat through our heads, it is also advisable to wear a hat or a headband for the ears in addition to the riding helmet. In addition, a scarf and/or a buttoned-up jacket can protect your neck. The jacket should also protect you from wind and cold. Some jackets even have integrated reflectors.

Last but not least, you need gloves. There are also many different variants. You should make sure that the gloves are not too thick so that you can still move your fingers properly.

Safety First

When it’s snowy outside, visibility is usually not very good. It is also difficult to see and recognize slippery surfaces or icy surfaces under the snow cover. If you are unsure, don’t take any risks for yourself or your horse. If your horse slips and falls as a result, it can be dangerous for both of you.
If you are confident on the paths or in the terrain, then enjoy the ride with your horse.

Warming Up is Important

Especially in the cold and wet season, your horse needs some time to warm up its muscles. That means only ride in step to get it to “operating temperature”. At least 15 to 20 minutes would be ideal for this. This is gentle on the muscles and your horse cannot injure itself so quickly.

After Riding is Before Riding

There are a few things you should pay attention to not only before riding, but proper care is important, especially after riding. When you are done with your work, you should put a sweat rug on your horse. If it is no longer used, it can cool down very quickly and, especially if it is sweaty, a cold is inevitable. The moisture can be released to the outside via the sweat blanket. At the same time, your horse is protected from possible drafts.

Overstrain is Out of Place

In winter, in particular, it can quickly happen that we expect too much. When the forest is beautifully snowy or when the sun illuminates the frosty ground, we might ride one more lap or just a little further. But be careful! The cold can be exhausting for you and your horse. Mainly because the cold temperatures demand a lot from your metabolism and that of your horse. The immune system is at its peak and we need a lot more energy to keep warm. This is especially true for your horse if it is shorn and does not have thick pompon fur. So adapt your rides to your body and especially that of your horse. Smaller breaks can give you strength.

Adjust Diet

In the cold season, the horses cannot eat in the meadow and fresh green. There is usually only hay, haylage, alfalfa, or the like left. With juice feed such as carrots, beetroot, or apples, you can do something good for your horse during this time. You should also consider the increased energy requirement and adjust the concentrate or other feed components and supplement them if necessary.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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