1. Vertical Veloxity

    I just moved to Michigan from Virginia in August. Virginia has very mild winters but Michigan can get bitter cold with lots of wet rain or hard snow that accumulates quickly and stays for weeks so these are great tips.

    I just wanted to comment because I was thinking – how do we know what the horses are thinking. I’m not that experienced with them and I get concerned sometimes if they’re too cold? Are they uncomfortable?

    Can you give me some tips on how to know when your horse is too cold? Do they give any signs?

    • Martina

      I’ve never been to Michigan but I have heard that the weather can be quite frosty. And yes this is a great point! I didn’t mention anything about the point of view of the horses during my post so thank you for pointing this out.

      Horses can certainly get too cold and some types of horses will be more resilient than others to the low temperatures. Make sure that the breed you have is suitable to your climate. You don’t want an Arabian up in Alaska for instance. At the same time though, horses are generally quite resilient as long as you’re treating them properly.

      This means longer warmups on cold and wet days, longer cool downs and a really good grooming after you ride them. Make sure you also have a warm blanket for them in the barn and a turnout blanket for them when they go out in the pasture. If you’re living in a wet climate, check out my favorite waterproof blanket here. If the weather isn’t very cold; however, don’t use too heavy of a blanket as this will just make them sweaty and more prone to muscular stiffness.

      You can tell if your horse is too cold if they shiver (just like us!). Furthermore, if they’re walking stiffly that indicates their muscles are seized up.

      Hope this helps!

  2. swangirl


    Those sound like great layering options. I live in Alaska and grew up in the bush with a dog team. The need for layers is the same. A wicking underlayer is vital in really cold weather! Alaskans always layer!

    I haven’t been on a horse in a long time but I really enjoyed it when I was younger!


    • Martina

      Hey Jessica,

      Yes! You’re absolutely right and I love dog sledding as well. I’m not in Alaska but used to go a lot in Northern Ontario and I know what you mean. It’s also easy to get sweaty during the day. And then you gotta make sure that you don’t keep those same layers on throughout the day.

      I do hope you get the opportunity to ride again at some point 🙂

  3. Jim

    Good tips on winter riding. My wife and I used to do lots of cold weather riding. Keeping your feet warm is the most difficult part I think. I never liked to ride in really big clunky boots, so that presented a problem. But your cold weather socks are just the ticket! We live by the mountains of Wyoming, so we’ve had the chance to ride in lots of snow. Once early spring we went up the mountain after a good spring snowfall, and were able to gallop across a big meadow covered with about a foot of fresh snow, without a track in it yet. It was so beautiful, I’ll never forget it. Thanks for your great article and advice.

    • Martina

      Hey Jim!

      That sounds absolutely gorgeous – I hope that you and your wife are still able to keep up with riding! I agree. I normally find that once I’m on the horse I’m fine but grooming, tacking and especially untacking once I might already be sweaty can be freezing. Trail rides and leisure rides I also find that they aren’t too bad because you aren’t prone to sweating so as long as you’ve got great warm clothes and good socks – you’re fine. It’s when you’re doing dressage work and English work and you start to sweat that it can be a hassle and that’s when it’s so important to get those layers on.

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