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Horsecraszy

Riding In The Cold

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I'm one of those people that ride year round, though i live in a somewhat cold/snowy region. This year we've got a ton of snow, but I have an indoor that I ride in. My question is how cold is to cold to ride? My horse isn't clipped, goes outside almost 24/7 except to eat, and is not blanket. When I ride her in the cold she rarely gets sweaty or hot (doesnt get hot easy, plus i usually can't ride long, and dont work her too hard due to time). Last year it was in the single digits for a while, so cold we were off school because buses wouldn't start, and I still rode. Is that bad for my horse? When I canter her i only do for a little.

So basically, when do you stop riding, and is there any health risks of riding in the cold?

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If the horse isn't sweaty you're fine. If she does get sweaty at all, throw a blanket (even just a blanket from a bed) over her and let her dry slowly, lead her around a little bit. When she's dry she'll be fine to turn out.

How cold is too cold is subjective, however below zero temperatures can be dangerous for you or your horse. Exposed skin (for you) can become frostbitten in about 15 minutes when the temps reach a certain low. But your horse's lungs can be damaged by working in below zero temps if they are pushed.

It doesn't sound like you have to worry about that so i wouldn't sweat riding in the conditions you describe.

But i gotta ask...temperatures in single digits and the BUSES won't run? Don't they have engine heaters so they can plug their bus in at night? We get lots of below zero temps here and the buses still run.

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I have a blanket to throw on her if she sweats. But as for the buses, they changed the gas to be more enviromental friendly, and it gets wierd, i guess kinda freezes, when its that cold. This year, it is a little warmer and it hasn't been a problem (they fixed it too i think). Plus they called school off cuz they were worried about elementary kids in the cold.

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That's that Ethanol gas they are using. They're finding out that it doesn't work in cold temperatures.

If that was case here, we'd have the kids off school for half the winter! It's very often in the single digits!

As far as riding, good for you! I don't think it's bad for the horse at all, as long as he's cooled out right. And it seems like you aren't having a problem with that.

I don't ride in the winter. Well, one Christmas Eve day I did...it was 45 degrees out!

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45 degrees. I wish it was that warm here all winter. I am soo tired of this cold and snow, our worst winter in over 15 years. The worst part is when Im cantering and the wind (we have our doors open) freezes the front of my thighs. I just bought underarmor pants though and that helps a ton. Its also bad when my toes get really cold and I go to take a shower and they burn soo bad in even cold water.

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Try moving cows in 20 below. Brrr. [surrender] Only did it once, about 25 yrs ago, never wanted to do it again. Doesn't stop the guys at the feed lot, they ride no matter the weather.

Riding in winter at my place is outside, only. There isn't an indoor arena closer than 45 miles away. If i DO have to ride in winter, i have polar fleece lined wranglers. If it's REALLY cold i have my carhart bibs. But generally i don't ride from about November till about...now. As soon as i can ride and not worry about slipping on ice, mud, or ice under the mud, i'll do so.

I live in Montana...we get serious cold here. We also get chinooks (warm winds) in winter where it can be 0 one day and 50 the next. Right now, all our snow is gone and it's been in the 50s...but we have snow and cold coming still. We get the worst of our snow in spring, and last yr over the last 3 days of April we had 25 1/2 inches of snow.

And in the last 13 yrs i've NEVER seen a snow day, not with 2 ft of snow, not even when it was 35 below zero. :happy0203:

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We will ride in single digits. If it is 8 and going up we ride. If it is 8 and going down we don't. We worry more about how hard the footing gets. We had school with air temps at -20 but when the wind starts with the snow blowing it can shut us down in a heart beat. We can't get busses through the snow drifts- not to mention trying to see the road. I am lucky we have an indoor arena so we can ride all year long. Usually Dec/Jan get pretty iffy with temps. Never had any trouble with horses health. If we do get a sweaty horse and don't have time to wait for them to air dry we "blow dry" them. Use a regular hair dryer. Most of them love it. You just have to be careful to keep it moving so you don't get them too hot in one area.

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I think my cities problem is just that, where a big city. When they go to plow, especially weekdays, there are so many cars driving, cars stuck, and cars parked to clean it quickly. For example, we just had a huge snowstorm(for the region) a couple weeks ago and the city took over a week to get all their roads cleaned, while suburbs had been done for a while. We had a week off of school, that was ridiculous and got old fast. Plus 3 more snow days throughout the winter. Plus all the 2 hour delays.

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That 45 degree Christmas Eve was a fluke! That is very rare around here. Usually that time of year it's more like 20 below zero!

You must be on the East Coast, Horsecraszy! Yes, they are getting hit hard this year!

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I think my cities problem is just that, where a big city. When they go to plow, especially weekdays, there are so many cars driving, cars stuck, and cars parked to clean it quickly. For example, we just had a huge snowstorm(for the region) a couple weeks ago and the city took over a week to get all their roads cleaned, while suburbs had been done for a while. We had a week off of school, that was ridiculous and got old fast. Plus 3 more snow days throughout the winter. Plus all the 2 hour delays.

I'm in a western suburb of the Twin Cities...when we get a big dump of snow, the plows are out IMMEDIATELY getting the roads cleared. And we certainly have a ton of traffic.

I had to laugh at the comment that the buses don't run if it's in the single digits and they worry about the kids being that cold!! Like Wild Rose said, we'd be shut down for half the year!

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-5 to -10 F is about my limit. Will go to -15F if its sunny outside. We have a coverall arena that while not heated does get warmer when the sun is out. My horse is not blanket and is outside 24/7. I just have to be careful not to work her to the point where she gets sweated up. A little sweat is manageable with a wool cooler for 10-15 minutes but then I get too cold standing around. At that temperature I ride in just 2 sweaters and a carhart vest. I have fleece lineed paddock boots and half chaps and wear insulated gloves and a helmet cozy. Long underwear under full seat leather breeches. I work up a sweat when riding in this get up at -10F. It gets cold when you are not riding though so I have a big carhart jacket bomber toque and mitts to wear on the ground.

Desperate times call for desperate measures [Crazy]

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I was taught (by a trainer, not a vet) to not make a horse breathe hard in temps below 20 degrees. I was told it's hard on their lungs and can cause problems.

I don't see a problem with getting them out and ridden, just not working hard when it is 20 degrees or below.

If the horse sweats, we use a wool or fleece cooler to dry them before they are put up.

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I had to laugh at the comment that the buses don't run if it's in the single digits and they worry about the kids being that cold!! Like Wild Rose said, we'd be shut down for half the year!

Yeah, us too. When it's zero or below, the school holds recess in the gym. Not because the KIDS are too cold but because the TEACHER doing duty is a wimp, LOL! It takes a serious dump of snow and/or a ground blizzard to close school here.

And the buses always run. They are plugged in at night. [smiley Wavey]

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