Have you had any snow this winter?
There has been rumours of snow in other parts of the country, but I’ve not had any yet. It certainly feels very wintery though – the mornings are frozen, with frosted fields and watercolour-painted skies. It’s beautiful but so very cold, cold, cold!!
Later in the mornings, the amber sun burns into a snow-coloured sky. Poetic, yes, but it really is that beautiful! I love the snow and am hoping there will be some soon. I think I’m probably being overly optimistic!!!
It’s one of my dreams to ride in the snow!! I thought I’d share some tips I’ve come across but, just to warn you, I’ve not had the opportunity to test them out. If you’ve ever ridden in the snow I’d be interested to know if they actually work!
1: It’s kind of common sense that you should only ride in the snow in a safe environment that you know well. Snow can be dangerous because it hides ruts, ditches, and ice. Never ride on roads.
2: Remember that, unless you live somewhere a lot colder than I do, snow is likely to be unfamiliar to most horses and they might be a bit spooky. Lead them out in it first, particularly if they don’t live out in fields, and progress gradually. It’s a good idea not to ride out alone. Take friends with you, either riding or on foot, and of course always tell someone where you are going and how long you will be.
3: Snow can be slippery so never forget this risk. You can do a slow trot and steady canter if conditions are right, but if uncertain stay to a walk. At least that’s what I’ve heard – I’m doubtful as to the safety of going any faster than a plod in the snow, but you’ll know best what’s safe for you.
4: Only ride out if the conditions are safe. Light powdery snow a few inches thick is good. Icy, mushy, and deep snow are all dangerous. Don’t ride if it’s snowing heavily, but you probably already know that!
5: Wear warm layers, including gloves, and give your horse a warm exercise blanket!! Actually, just do that even if there’s no snow!!! I don’t know about you, but in my last riding lesson I felt like I was turning to ice! Wear florescent reflective tabards like you would (should?!) for road riding, even if you’re not going on the roads. If the worst happens it’ll make it easier for an air ambulance to find you.
6: Cover the inside of your horse’s hooves with a thick layer of Vaseline, which should prevent snow from balling up in them and stop your horse from ending up walking on snow stilts! I’m really curious to know if this works!!
7: Riding through snow is harder work for your horse than normal riding. Give him breaks every now and then, but keep him moving so he doesn’t get cold.
If you’ve ever had the chance to ride in the snow please tell me about it! If not, you’ll just have to keep hoping for snow like me!!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!
See you soon!
Horse Daydreamer xxx