Snow Riders

Last post 02-13-2012 3:01 PM by Gailforce. 13 replies.
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  • 11-12-2011 5:19 PM

    Snow Riders

    With today being the first day of snow in Eastern Washington, I'm impatiently waiting for when we get about a foot and a half of snow to go 'snow riding.' To me there's nothing like it, especially when you're cantering through the newly fallen flakes and your horse has to pick up his feet higher to get through the drifts. I've really only done it once or twice, but with the horse we have at our place we're planning on quite a few of these wintery rides.

     So, I'm asking this, how many of you all like to ride in the snow? And what is your favorite snow riding experience? Does your horse/horses like snow riding?

     My favorite snow riding memory was when my siblings and I went up to the barn and got out our riding horses, saddled up and rode in the early morning of Christmas Eve. It was probably about seventeen outside, but boy howdy was it fun! It really got fun when I rode one of my friends horses, and I galloped around the arena in his Australian Saddle. (The Man From Snowy River theme song was going across my mind during this.)  That was truly my favorite memory of snow riding. And all of the horses I know LOVE snow, and are usually friskier during this cold season.

    Hope you all have some fun stories to share and I look forward to hearing from you! :)

    Where my horse is my heart is.

  • 11-12-2011 5:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

     Living in Texas I don't get a lot of opportunities to ride in snow, lol!  But I do have very fond memories of riding in the snow when I lived in England.

    I used to ride at a stable that had a Saturday afternoon riding club. We'd ride, have lectures, demonstrations, mounted games etc.  One Saturday we weren't sure that we could even go, since there had been a pretty good snowfall.  Dad took us over anyway and we were in luck.  Not many girls showed up that Saturday, so instead of riding in groups and then doing something else while the others rode, we got to ride for the whole two hours. 

     We went round the cross country jumps in the large field behind the stables and had a blast. Even the usually sluggish school ponies seemed to have extra pep and went over the logs and other jumps with enthusiasm.

    That was over 40 years ago and I still remember the thrill Smile

    If you get photos, or already have some, of you riding in the snow, or your horses in the snow, don't forget to upload them to the  Horses in the Snow gallery.


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  • 11-13-2011 6:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    I grew up on the OH/PA border.

     My all time favorite was when my BF and I got off work from afternoon turn and rode his horse, bareback because we'd stay a lot warmer, two miles down to the lake.  Lake as in big enough to water ski on; the Army Corp of Engineers had built it to stop low lying areas from flooding.

    It was post card perfect with a full moon, the snow gently falling and a great calm horse that wouldn't spook at anything at 1:30 in the morning.  My horse was boarded 10 miles away at that time, so he got stay in his stall and eat hay - lol

    When we got back to his parents' house, his wonderful mom had gotten up and made us hot chocolate.

    That all sounds pretty hokey to the modern children but we were all farm kids and just old enough to achieve good paying jobs back in the late 60's.  No cell phones, not even remote control for the TV.  I like my remote control these days; it hurts to much to get up and change channels everytime something comes on that I don't like - which is often -lol

  • 11-13-2011 10:42 AM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    I spent the first 45 years of my 54-year life in Alaska, so we rode all winter, regardless of temps, which could be brutal. Ten to twenty below zero was not unusual. We'd always ride bareback--you share the horse's heat--and used bosal hackamores so the horse was not subjected to a cold bit. Our rides were always trail rides since we had no indoor arena and no interest in riding in an outdoor arena in the snow.

    The high point of our trail rides was always meeting moose. The trails went through the woods at the outskirts of Anchorage and the moose were plentiful there. The moose were not scared of the horses, and a rider was nothing but an extension of the horse so the moose were not scared of the riders, either. It was no big deal to get twenty feet from a moose as it grazed on twigs or dug into the snow for ground cover. The horses were a bit leery of the moose but got more and more used to them as the years passed.

    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."


  • 11-13-2011 5:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders


    The horses were a bit leery of the moose but got more and more used to them as the years passed.

    The horses in our area are scared to death of moose. My older sister thinks that to horses, moose are the camel of the north. (Horses don't like camels that much either) I remember one time going to the vet, and their was a moose calf that had been brought in. The horses were all going absalutly crazy about it, and were very happy to see the vet, just so they could get away from the moose!

    I guess it shouldn't surprise me that your horses got used to moose after a while, but every horse I've ever met in our area gets wide eyes if they smell one near by. I suppose when you saw them all the time that got them pretty well desensatized! Your snow adventures sound really fun! Thanks for sharing them! (And that goes for everyone else too!)

    Where my horse is my heart is.

  • 11-14-2011 4:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    My favorite is about 11:00 at night in a heavy snowfall.  It is so peaceful and every horse I have ever had seems to love it too.

  • 01-02-2012 7:51 AM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    I'm really looking forward to trying ski joring this year, the problem is the clinic is supposed to be this weekend and we have no snow.  Keeping my fingers crossed even though the people hosting the clinic have already sent out an email saying the clinic will be on the 15th if we don't get snow.  I'll try to remember to add some pictures if and when I get any.

  • 01-02-2012 12:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    I've heard about that! They do that in Idaho at the Winter Festival, and I thought it would be fun to see how it works. Hope you get snow soon to try it out- I know we've been waiting and waiting for a really good snowfall but it has been too cold and dry here. Hope to see some pictures when you do try it out!


    Where my horse is my heart is.

  • 01-02-2012 3:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    All of your snow experiences sound like so much fun!

    My favorite snow experience was riding in our largest field at my old barn, with my cousin and our friend (who also rode there). We just used the barn horses, because we didn't have our own there, but my cousin was on a wonderful chestnut OTTB named Murphy. He was very spooky though, but luckily there weren't any wild animals out! I was on a Quarter Horse named Gretel, she is in her mid-late 20's. She was sorta spooky, and was very careful. And our friend was on a super calm horse named Brandon (R.I.P.). He wasn't afraid of anything, which was nice. 

    We only walked and trotted, but all of us wrote the barn's name initials in the snow, by riding the horses to make the letters. It was really fun, and we walked through all the fields on the property. By the end of our ride, Gretel and Murphy had snowball feet, because they had front shoes. :) 

    We rode bareback, which was much warmer. The horses really enjoyed the leisurely walk, which was very nice for us too. 

    Sadly, that meant no riding for the winter, (like cantering and jumping) because the old barn doesn't have an indoor, so the rings were snowy and took forever for the puddles to dry up and be safe to ride in. Plus, the bottom ring was rock based, so there was a giant layer of rocks below all of the sand. So, we had to pick all of the surfaced rocks off the ring so the horses didn't step on them. 

    Luckily, I am at a much nicer barn now that has an indoor. :) So I don't know if I will get snow rides, but the horses will at least get to have some fun being in the snow in their fields. I just love having the indoor though, because it keeps me riding every week. :)
    Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are — and aren’t — that you will truly succeed
  • 01-03-2012 12:10 AM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

     I remember when the winters were colder in Canada. The Bay would freeze up solid and everybody would get out there and do some activity. All the neighbours on the road for two miles would be out on their shorelines doing something. We were out there with the horses as well. There'd be many people out there on several skating rinks plowed by tractors, kids building forts, snow mobiles, ice name it. Just like going to the carnival! Even cars were out there with music blaring and Mom's with food. Seems everyone is stuck behind a computer now and I don't see confidence in using the ice anymore. Great memories, though! I remember one day we raced a car to see how fast the horses could go.

  • 02-12-2012 4:04 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    The little snow we get here (northern Los Angeles county) only lasts a day or two. I grew up in southeastern PA and I rode in the snow all the time. Bareback to keep warm, chaps & a slicker to keep me dry. It was sooo quiet while the snow was falling. I put bells on my horse's bridle so the deer hunters wouldn't shoot at us! I once got yelled at by a hunter who said I was scaring away the deer. I said good, because my mare was scared of deer! Ah, the good ol' days!

  • 02-13-2012 12:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    Scout's Mom:
    I put bells on my horse's bridle so the deer hunters wouldn't shoot at us!

    Because of the hunters here we can't trail ride in the fall, there's just too many of them waiting for the deer. It can be a little annoying sometimes, but I'd rather be riding in an arena safe than on a trail with the potential of getting shot! :) I can't say we have a lot of hunters during the snow season-probably because it drops to twenty degrees and colder and it's not really fun to be out there when it's that cold! Thanks for sharing, it seems everyone has something they remember about riding in the snow, and it really is a wonderful experience! :)

    Where my horse is my heart is.

  • 02-13-2012 3:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Snow Riders

    when i was little and got my first pony we had some fun winters.  i think we were probably lucky no one got hurt though....LOL.

    my mom would rig up a harness out of ropes and attached 2 toboggans behind my pony.  then with my mom in front driving, a bunch of us kids would pile on the 2 toboggans and that pony would take off!!  if you fell off the first toboggan, sometimes you would get run over by the second toboggan....HAHA!  but, no matter what, if you fell off you had to chase after and jump back on.  that pony wasn't stopping for anyone.  you'd wait til mom circled around, then as the toboggans were going by you'd leap on and of course usually someone else would fall off.  it was hysterically funny.

    we also tried cowboy skiing and someone on skis would get pulled by someone on horseback galloping in the snow.

    then, of course, there were the more mellow but equally enjoyable hayrides in the big wagon pulled by a couple big draftees; sitting in the hay, drinking hot chocolate.

    good times, boy oh boy!!!!

    Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.

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