Winter is the time of year when days are short and cold, which discourages many people from horse riding. However, it is enough to follow a few basic rules in order to be able to practice this sport even at low temperatures, without a roofed indoor arena.
Winter Horseback Riding – a Handful of Practical Tips
What is worth remembering in order to be able to ride horses in the winter season? First of all, you should be aware that difficult conditions require responsibility both for yourself and for the animal. It is necessary to be very careful here and to plan the training very carefully. Moving on a snowy terrain, a horse puts much more effort into it. What follows, such a ride can’t be too long, in order not to strain the animal.
A horse accustomed to the stable needs a lot of time to adjust to moving on uneven, frozen ground. So it is worthwhile betting on a slightly slower pace, which will limit the horse’s sweating, effectively protecting him from a possible cold. If stops are planned, it is worth taking a blanket with you, which will protect the animal’s muscles from cooling.
Another very important issue which should be remembered during a horse ride in winter is warming up the rod. Before putting it into the animal’s mouth, we rub it several times in our hands. It will guarantee the horse an appropriate comfort during the ride. Additionally it is worth getting special anti-slip inserts for horseshoes, thanks to which the animal will be able to move safely even on the most icy roads.
Before starting winter training, you should take care of the warm-up for the horse, so that its muscles are ready for the increased effort. After the ride we dry the animal from sweat and only then we put it to the paddock or to the stable. On frosty days it’s a good idea to bring a high-energy snack and a thermos bottle with a warming drink. Such intensive physical activity can lead to dehydration.
Winter horseback riding should take place on a proven terrain, where we will not have to worry about various obstacles on the meadows, deep ravines or snowdrifts.
How to dress for a winter ride?
For a horse riding in winter to be fully comfortable and safe, one should take care of an appropriate outfit. One of its elements is a jacket that should protect against cold as well as snow, rain and wind. It is equally important that it does not restrict your movements during a ride. This type of outer garment is best bought at a professional riding store. Additionally, you should stock up on special thermoactive underwear for horseback riding, which works well even in the coldest weather. No lover of horse riding will also do without warm gloves, which will cope well with keeping a positive temperature, while not restricting the movement of fingers.
Another important element of a winter outfit is special, warm riding breeches. What distinguishes them is that they are made of thermal softshell material, which effectively protects against snow as well as wind and cold. Equestrian stores also stock a vest that provides warmth in the chest area and does not restrict movement.
Your feet are particularly prone to frostbite when riding in winter. Instead of putting on several pairs of classic socks, which could hinder the free movement of your toes, it’s worth investing in special thermo boots or insulated slippers.
The last element that can prove extremely helpful during a horse riding in winter is a balaclava under the helmet protecting the ears from wind or cold. It should preferably be made of cotton or wool. This is because these materials are characterized by very good thermal properties.
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