The slog that is winter

My gelding either walks or canters in winter. There is no trot. The trot is dead to us.


truth. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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I recently signed up for RideIQ - they have a tone of walking lessons rides for the spooky horse, etc. It helps me focus, because I definitely get the lack of focus riding in winter, and I get fewer opportunities with my coach.
I also invested in a PIVO for lessons - my coach stays at home, and I set up the camera and we can lesson that way. Although, it doesn’t work great in the indoor (its dark), it works really well outside (during the day).


Does PIVO work with an Android phone? I thought I read its really not great except on iphone…

I have no idea. I have an iPhone lol.
There is a PIVO facebook group though, you could ask there?



@Bluey :rofl: Some punctuation would have come in handy there!



It sucks.

I try to just work on basics over the winter. Nothing hard or long, but will inevitably help us next spring when we can get back at it. I’ve had him home two winters now and noticed little improvement over the winter but huge improvements come spring. Thankfully the winters of him being an idiot are also in our past–that made winter even less fun.

This winter? I’m 5 months pregnant and will likely just give him the winter off eventually… Idk what I’ll do with all my time or my lack of frozen toes. :sweat_smile:


I use the PIVO with my android!

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I live in NC, so I do not get northern winters here, at least I did not until the Polar Vortex decided it was nicer in the South than in the North–BRRR!

I just ride 30 minutes (both summer and winter) and mostly at the walk. I ride as early in the morning as I can (9:00 AM in the winter) and mostly walk and slow trot. After months of getting “comments” from the lesson horses I ride about how miserable it was to stand in the cold wind when I HAVE TO rest some, I started getting them some stuff.

Fenwick Face Mask with Ears, it keeps their ears warm and the horses seem to appreciate this. The BOT poll cap, helps with the poll stiffness in the cold. The BOT mesh rug hood keeps their necks warm though it is a challenge to figure out how to attach it to the saddle (it is made to attach to a blanket.) Then the BOT exercise sheet, and if it is really cold I put a Shire’s wool exercise sheet over it. The horses also seem to appreciate their BOT exercise boots on their front legs. My saddle pad is also BOT.

I do not get anywhere the number of comments that I used to from the horses that they are too cold when standing in the wind. Now I can stop and rest for minutes instead of seconds and the horses stay happy, huddling under their winter clothes while under saddle.

Of course that leaves breathing super cold air. I do not ride unless it is at least 25 F at dawn going up to 32 F when I start riding. Since they can huddle under their “clothes” I do not have to get them to move fast to warm up, which limits deep breaths of super cold air.

I do not have access to an indoor ring, I ride outside in the cold wind. I wear layers on top (including my safety vest which is rather warm and cuts the wind), Kerrit’s Winter silicon full-seat breeches (warm lining, wind proof) and knee high socks. I find that when the horses wear all the BOT stuff that heat radiates out from the covering which also helps keep me warm, a week ago in a really cold wind I did not even have to put my gloves on because my hands were warm enough from the radiating heat from the BOT neck rug. If it is even worse I can put the exercise sheets over my thighs, and when I do that I sometimes get too warm.

Yes, winter is a slog. I am just grateful that I get to ride a horse!


I just want to know…where did that 18 year old me go? The one that believed that 0 F was the cut off for riding?* Granted, there was a nice indoor, with lights, and a warm barn. Rather than today’s windy hilltop with no ring at all. But, still. Can I be 18 again? Because now…it is always either too hot or too cold!
*This was in upper Ontario, you can happily and safely ride at 0, but your warm up and cool down need to be impeccable. And you need to be 18.


I threaded a key ring on the grab strap then used that to snap the hood onto that. If the hood you have has a buckle you can buckle it on the grab strap(mine has a snap).

I also wonder how I ever rode in the Midwest cold… My mom would tell me that the saddle couldn’t take below zero (F) so I rode ‘bareback’… but left a stable sheet on the horse.


That’s my one struggle with the amazing trainer/barn we board with. We have a small but nice indoor. Yet we’re almost always the only ones out there past 4pm. And most of the horses are on night turnout year round. So it is a dark, desolate slog with me walking several paces ahead of child & horse, fumbling for light switches & cell phone flashlights as we retrieve the horse, tack, walk from our barn to the one with the indoor, etc. As someone with cold urticaria & other weather-induced issues, I’m already unmotivated about horses + winter as is :no_mouth:

It’s just a weird mix of pros riding horses in training, amateurs who ride at basically the same level as pros, (human) retirees who fox hunt, and folks that work from home & run out on their lunchbreak and/or have very flexible schedules. For the most part, they ride before 1pm.


I suggest a headlamp! Much easier than fussing with cell phone lights and leaves your hands free. You can get pretty decent ones meant for camping/backpacking for $30 or so these days. Luckily we’ve switched to day turnout so I don’t need it for fetching/turning out my horse anymore, but I put mine on my helmet for the trek between our barn and indoor.

Last year, due to everyone’s rearranged schedules due to COVID, I was often the only one riding at night at my barn. While it was a bit lonely at times, it was also nice to pretty much have the indoor to myself all winter.


I lived in Pgh for a couple of years and boarded in a place with an amazing indoor. I was the only person riding at night. Luckily, they had a radio with a speaker system that was so great to ride to. It so helped in the the Phg winters!! These days, can you buy a bluetooth speaker that you can play music to off your phone?


Yes, headlamps are a lifesaver! My horse is in partial care so I clean her pen every day. I couldn’t do it without a headlamp in winter!


Like @Gardenhorse I love my headlamp. I purchased mine off Amazon and it’s rechargeable. Not only do I use it for bringing in horses in the dark, but walking to/from the barn from the parking area and giving my old eyes more light when looking at cuts & scrapes.


I keep meaning to dig the headlamps out. Used them a lot when we had cattle & other outdoor critters. Only after bug season, though! Lol. Nothing like 5 million bugs swarming a headlamp :exploding_head:

It’s more just the crankiness from barely getting in the door from work before leaving for the barn, having another kid at home that needs family time, being annoyed at myself for hitting snooze 600 times instead of getting up at 5am so that I could work out & not feel like a lump, knowing we need a new saddle asap but I’m working 6 days a week & when will I ever get over to the tack store to pick up a few to bring for the saddle fitter…you get the idea! :grimacing: And the cold physically hurts & I shiver uncontrollably whenever it dips much below 50. I never had such extreme physical symptoms even 2 or 3 years ago. Soon as these kiddos are off to college, I’m off to Phoenix or the Caribbean!


Ummm. I’m pretty happy it’s winter. I can go outside without risking heat stroke. Rode on my lunch break and it was pushing 80! Dry and sunny here.

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