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The best and worst parts about owning a horse during winter

snow in december is cozy and beautiful, but can also cause some issues.. photo canva pro
snow in december is cozy and beautiful, but can also cause some issues.. photo canva pro

Snow and winter weather can be really cozy and spread a lot of wonderful Christmas spirit, but it can also create some challenges for us horse owners. Therefore, we have gathered some of the best and worst aspects of having a horse in winter weather.

Read also: 5 Things horse people don't understand


The best parts about owning a horse during wintertime:

1. "Tucking" the horses into the stable in the evening

We believe that many horse owners agree that it is incredibly cozy to bring the horses in for the evening. Many horses have been on 24-hour turnout during the summer and are stabled in winter. So, remember to enjoy the sound of the horses munching on their hay in the stable at night.

2. Taking a ride in the idyllic snowy landscape

A snowy landscape is one of the most beautiful views. When fields, trees, and roads are covered with a beautiful layer of snow, one can hardly help but enjoy the sight. It gets even better when you can enjoy the view from horseback. Trotting through the snow and just taking a calm ride with a stablemate can be incredibly relaxing.

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Actually, you don't even need to get in the saddle to enjoy the snowy landscape. You can just look out at the paddocks and see how the horses enjoy the snowy weather. Whether they are playing, rolling, or just standing and munching – it's simply wonderful.

3. Warming your extremely cold fingers under the horse's mane

When your fingers feel completely frozen during a ride, it's just nice to tuck them under the horse's warm mane and feel them slowly regain sensation.

4. No insects

In summer, many horse owners struggle with a lot of insects. But they are simply not there in the winter months. We really should remember to enjoy this. No fly masks, insect blankets, or fly spray – fantastic!

5. Warming up with a cup of hot cocoa after a lovely ride

After some stable work and a wonderful ride in the cold, it's great to treat yourself with a good cup of hot cocoa. It's great for warming up the body and winding down. This can be either when you get home again, or it can be out in the stable with your stablemates.

6. Blanket season

Naturally, it can be a bit troublesome with blankets all the time – which both need to be put on and taken off. But, there is an advantage to the horses wearing blankets outside. For when there is mud in the paddock, and the horse rolls, most of the dirt settles on the blanket, which you can just take off – and voilà, the horse is clean. We should enjoy this now, for it takes a bit longer to make the horse shiny clean when it rolls in the mud in summer.

a properly fitted blanket gives your horse good freedom of movement – even in winter. photo canva pro
A properly fitted blanket gives your horse good freedom of movement – even in winter. Photo: Canva Pro

The worst parts about owning a horse during wintertime:

1. Snow and ice clumps in the hooves

We start with one of the worst things about snowy weather – the horses get stilts. There's almost nothing worse than when the horses' hooves get filled with ice and snow clumps. We believe this is a problem most horse owners can recognize. It can be quite a challenge. As soon as the horse is shod, it's almost inevitable. However, one can try with snow pads, boots, and hoof oils, and hopefully, it can alleviate the problem. Otherwise, it's time to get the hoof pick out.

2. Mud

We are sure that paddocks with deep mud are not on any rider's wish list. It's simply not fun when the paddocks are filled with mud, and it feels like a struggle to fetch the horse. It's even worse when the mud freezes, and the paddocks become lumpy and hard.


3. Darkness, over and over again

It's dark when you get up and go to work, and it's dark again when you come home in the afternoon. This is definitely one of the downsides of winter. All this darkness can really affect the motivation to ride and train, when it feels dark enough just to crawl under the blanket and watch TV.

4. Ice cold fingers and toes

We are sure that all riders have experienced having fingers so cold that they feel they can't even move them. And all riders have likely had that extremely uncomfortable feeling in their legs when dismounting a horse with frozen toes. It's just about wrapping up really, really well when heading to the stable, to avoid a frozen body.

5. Water constantly freezing over

In frosty weather, horse owners typically face a challenge with their water supplies in the paddocks. If you have water troughs out in your paddock, ice quickly forms in the water. You can spend a lot of time during the day removing ice chunks and refilling the trough with fresh water. Unless you find some clever, smart solutions to keep the water trough ice-free.

horses water freezing

6. Lumpy and hard riding arenas

One of the things that makes life with horses in frosty weather most difficult is frozen and lumpy riding arenas. When the frost really sets in, it can make the riding arenas impossible to use. So, winter weather can sometimes make it really hard to train – but then there's a good excuse to take a lovely ride in the snowy landscape.

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