HorseIllustrated.com Readers—Cast your vote in this week’s poll on “What is your favorite part of winter with your horse?” Then catch the final poll results on this page, along with more resources on the topic of winter horseback riding.
Winter may not be primetime for horseback riding, but even when cold temperatures feel never ending, show and trail season will come back around before you know it. It benefits both you and your horse to keep a little fitness going this season. What winter riding considerations should you keep in mind? When is it too cold to ride horses?
Cold is Relative
One person’s idea of too cold may be another person’s “just right.”
“Horses are amazing athletes, and actually do quite well in cold weather,” says Carolyn Hammer, DVM, Ph.D., professor of equine science at North Dakota State University. “When you think about horses around the world, they are exposed to a variety of temperatures. For instance, 20°F might be considered unbearably cold to riders in the South, while riders in the far North may not see temperatures above 0°F for the majority of the winter.””
What exactly is “too cold to ride?” You may be surprised.
“It’s usually too cold for the rider to be comfortable before it is too cold for the horse,” says Hammer. “Frostbite is mainly a concern for riders, especially fingers, toes, and exposed areas on the face: cheeks, ears, and nose.”
After you’ve answered the poll above, read more from “How Cold is Too Cold to Ride?” to know when it’s safe to horseback ride in the winter.
Further Reading on Topics Related to Winter Horseback Riding
◆ Winter Barn Gear
◆ Trail Riding in Adverse Weather Conditions
◆ Gear: Winter Warmth With Winter Equestrian Barn Apparel
◆ How to Stay Warm When Riding in the Winter
◆ Winter Wonderland
◆ Horse Health in Winter: Winter Riding