Should You Ride Horses in the Snow?

Horse-riding remains a hugely popular pastime in the United States. A 2017 study estimated that there were over 9 million horses in the country which were used for recreational or industrial purposes.

However, this time of year isn’t the best for equestrian enthusiasts. The days are shorter and the weather is colder, making it more difficult to get out riding and more challenging once you do get out.

Another issue is snow. If you live in a cold area, there could be snow on the ground every day in the winter months.

To learn more about horse riding in snow and how to keep safe on horseback this winter, keep reading.

Horse Riding in Snow: The Key Considerations

Horse riding in snowy conditions can be challenging for a number of different reasons. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We’ve looked at some of the key factors to consider before you saddle up in winter.

Terrain

This is perhaps the most important thing you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re riding a horse in the snow. If terrain is difficult to navigate on a good day, the addition of snow on the ground is going to make it even worse.

You also need to think about the likely consequences of a fall. If you take a tumble onto grass, your injuries will be less severe than if you fell down the side of a rocky hill.

Type of Snow

Other than the type of land you’re traveling over, this is the first thing to take into account. There are many different types of snow, and they have different implications for riders.

Fresh, powdery snow is usually fine to ride on, as it’s not slippy and doesn’t form snowballs in horseshoes. Harder snow, however, will collect between a horse’s hoof and its shoe, making for an uncomfortable and potentially painful experience for the animal.

Tolerance of the Horse

Like humans, all horses are different. Some won’t mind going out in the snow, whereas others will find it stressful.

If your animal doesn’t like cold weather, you should get some good warm winter garments for them. Country and Stable have a great range of winter wear for our equine friends.

Experience of the Rider

If you’re accustomed to riding in challenging conditions, you’re a better candidate for horse riding in snow than someone who’s new to the equestrian world, or someone who’s only ever ridden in favorable conditions. No matter how experienced you are, however, you always have to be aware that riding in snow comes with a greater level of risk.

Staying Safe on Horseback This Winter

There’s no point beating around the bush. Horse riding in snow poses its share of challenges. However, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy riding out in the coming months if you do your research and take the proper precautions.

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