Winter Riding Tips – Post Ride Care

 Most of our horses here in WNY are built for the cold.  They are very fuzzy this time of year with thick winter coats to keep them warm in sub zero temperatures.  These winter coats are great for battling the cold but not so great for exercising under saddle.  Often just a light ride with friends out on the trail can work up a sweat for your horse.  Be sure to care for your equine friend the right way after your ride.

–       End you ride with a nice long walk on a road or packed snow if possible.  Just walking through deep snow is quite a workout. Your horse can get pretty warm even with a simple walking ride.

–       A sweaty horse after a ride is a cold horse.  Do your best to dry your horse off and use a fleece cooler to help draw the moisture away from their body while keeping them warm.  Do not turn your horse out until they are dry!  Because of the cold it will take longer than normal for a horse to dry off.  Be prepared to have your horse cooling off in a stall for 1-2 hours after your ride before they are dry enough for turn out.

–       Clipping your horse.  Depending on how much winter riding you do you might find it beneficial to clip your horse.  This will help them regulate their temperatures better during winter work so they aren’t prone to sweating.  Just be sure to follow proper blanket management for the type of clip chose for your horse.

–       Offer warm water.  Hot horse drinking cold water could cause colic.  Wait until your horse cools down and offer them heated water.  Either boil some in a teapot and add to a bucket or better yet use heated buckets! 

–       Dehydrated horse? Believe it or not most horses like Gatorade (mine like orange flavor).  The sweetness of a few scoops of Gatorade in their water bucket entices them to drink up and the added electrolytes help their system rebalance.

Winter riding is a blast and there is nothing more beautiful than enjoying a fresh snow on a crisp winter morning.  Ride Safe.

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