Riding in Winter: A Safety Guide
Tips for staying safe whilst riding your horse during the winter months.
Monday 20 December 2010
When the Big Freeze starts to bite, any horse owner needs to take plenty of care to ensure a horse stays happy and healthy through the challenging winter weather. Even when the temperatures start to drop, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to make the most of winter riding, which can be a hugely rewarding experience.
Provided you make sensible provisions, riding in winter can be just as enjoyable as hacking during the glorious summer months. Learn more about appropriate winter horse care and additional road safety advice in the guide below.
Winter Horse Care: Winter Riding Tips
Firstly, consider sensible dress, particularly if you are planning a lengthy ride. It’s best to wear a number of layers offering a secure fit rather than one or two thick layers. Try and wear sensible footwear – there’s nothing as unpleasant as cold toes whilst out on a winter ride.
Next it’s time to turn your attention to your horse and give thought as to how it will cope with the challenging conditions. During the winter, the build up of ice on roads and bridleways can present several problems, so as the winter nears, it’s wise to consider specialist horse boots and horseshoes to minimise the chances of the horse slipping on untreated surfaces.
Of course, a horse rider should wear a riding hat whatever the weather, but this accessory becomes hugely important during the winter when the potential for accidents is heightened. It’ll only take one slip on the ice, and you could be risking a serious head injury should you risk not wearing a hat. It simply cannot be stated enough – there’s no point in taking the gamble with your long term health.
Find further tips on winter horse care on Horsemart
Driving conditions during the winter can be treacherous, and can change in an instant, whether down to heavy snowfall, mist or freezing fog. Therefore, always set out wearing a hi-vis jacket should you be intending to cross any roads during your ride; otherwise you could become a hazard to other road users. This should also be the case during the early mornings and evenings when visibility can be poor.
Finally, it always make sense to team up with a fellow rider during the winter months, particularly if you are looking to make the most of an extended ride. Head out on your own during the winter could prove dangerous if an accident was to occur, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and ride in groups.
Find winter horse care tips on Horsemart
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