Winter Horseback Riding Tips

Many riders shy away from winter trail riding but with the right preparations it can be just as nice, and even nicer, than summer riding.? One of the key safety issues is footing, so you will probably want to ask a farrier about shoeing options that will give your horse better traction on icy ground.? If snow builds up inside your horse?s feet, you might want to try applying a layer of petroleum jelly before heading out for a ride.? If you?ve clipped his coat, he may need extra protection to keep warm.? Your local tack store will probably carry various types of clothing meant to be worn by your horse while being ridden.? Ensure that your horse is well acquainted with these items before heading out on the trail.? If your horse does have his winter coat, you?ll notice that he?s going to sweat up quickly.? Take lots of rest breaks, don?t push him too hard, and be prepared after your ride to use a light sheet to help him dry out.? Give him a good grooming afterwards to improve the insulation of his coat.? Dress for your own comfort as well in gloves with a good grip, warm boots and socks, and several layers of breathable clothing.? You may want to add an outback coat or waterproof windbreaker in especially wet conditions.? Warming gel packs in your boots and gloves can be a nice addition ? just be sure they aren?t too hot.? Pack a high energy snack, such as granola bars or trail mix, and don?t forget your water ? winter riding can still leave you dehydrated.? Try warming up with a hot chocolate at the end of your ride by leaving a kettle, drink supplies and a thermos back at the barn.

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