I am not a fair weather rider, per se. I have a pretty wide window of preferred temps – the low being the high 40’s to the high being the low 90’s. Wind chill factors and heat indexes often play into the factor, but generally, you will find me riding spring through fall. But when the ground is frozen and everything I touch is so cold it hurts, my riding comes to a near screeching halt. I know, I know. I’m a native Nebraskan. I should be thicker skinned. And I have to tell you; I think I used to be. But since getting into horses, I have found these next few months unacceptable to maintaining my hobby with the frequency that I prefer. And it makes me very cranky.
Before I pull the blanket over my head or get beamed up to the mothership, I am going to try to see the light. Rack my brain for ten horse related things that are good in the winter. Surely I can come up with 10. I’m thinking. Thinking…. Still thinking…
My Top Ten Reasons To Enjoy Winter
Okay. There. I came up with one good thing… One.
Seriously, I have been sitting here staring at the screen trying to come up with #2. It even crossed my mind to Google “winter riding” to help me out…
2. Fleece riding pants. I have a couple pair of Kerrit riding pants that are fleece lined and for obvious reasons, best worn during the “off” season. While I don’t necessarily feel attractive in breeches as they hide nothing, these riding pants are very soft and comfy and very, very warm and I'm half tempted to wear them grocery shopping on those cold days!
3. Farrier Expenses. Right or wrong, I just don’t have him out as often as I do during the riding months. That extra $100 can go to another cause... like the heating bill!
4. Automatic Waterer. It just sits there unnoticed during the good months. Providing clean water day after day after day; making no impression on anyone. But come winter, that little baby gets noticed and feels the love! I sure am thankful I am not filling tanks, running cords for heaters or breaking ice. Okay, I am probably stretching it putting that on the list, but those who have one knows it has earned it’s place!
One would argue that round bales should also feel the love. But they miss the list because they do have to be tended to every now and then and it usually is about the moment a blizzard rolls in and the tractor is out of gas!
5. Fewer Evil Eyes. You married women know “that look”. From The Husband. You catch your first glimpse of it on the first spring-like day when you pop downstairs in your riding gear and announce, “I’m going riding!” His eye squints, you swear you see a hint of smoke coming from his right ear and he lets out a long sigh because he thinks we should be tilling the garden or putting up a pole barn or some other menial task that you know he just happened to think up because he saw you hooking up the trailer an hour earlier!
6. Indoor Arena Riding. I’m not that fortunate to have an indoor arena. Gives me an excuse not to fetch and saddle my cold horse. But should the notion strike, I am fortunate enough to have a few friends who do have very nice arenas and invite me to take advantage of their facility when I am at the height of my withdrawals and ready to go over the edge.
7. Barn Smells. The good ones. Hay, horse breath, fur. The scents are all intensified in the crisp winter air.
8. Photos. Snow provides a new dynamic and, I must grudgingly admit, beauty to our pictures.
9. Riding Bareback. I’ll put it on the list because it is wonderful to feel the heat of the horse coming through those fleece pants on that cold winter day. However, I am still nursing a tail bone injury from falling off onto the frozen ground while riding bareback last February, so it goes on the list very reluctantly.