I think two or three days a week is actually pretty good if you’re somewhere with “real winter” and no indoor! Maybe you can come up with some specific goals or exercises to help you feel like you’re maximizing your riding time? Maybe riding in two-point for x sets of y minutes, increasing the time as the winter progresses. Or working through 101 Dressage Exercises, 101 Jumping Exercises, or the gymnastics in the back of Jimmy Wofford’s eventing book. Something to help you feel like you’re progressing even if you’re not riding as much as you’d like.
I’m not sure if Maryland qualifies as “real winter” compared to wherever you are, but I’ll chime in anyway. This is my sixth winter with horses at home and I also don’t have an indoor. (There are several I could hack over or haul out to but I can’t justify the expense unless I’m preparing for something specific, and there aren’t real shows over the winter here.) I’ve always managed to keep my one or two horses going pretty well through the winter, meaning at least 5 days of work most weeks. A lot of this is luck though as the past couple winters have been fairly mild. There are always a few weeks here and there that are difficult due to footing, but that amount of time off doesn’t really affect the horses’ fitness or training. I get grumpy when I can’t ride though, lol!
For example, a couple weeks ago we got a couple inches of snow capped off with a sheet of ice. (Around here we hardly ever get nice dry snow…it’s almost always heavy, wet stuff mixed with sleet.) Then eight days later on Christmas Eve we got 2" of rain. :grr: So in an eleven-day period my horse got six days off (coincidentally in three two-day sets), we hauled out for one jumping lesson in an indoor, we worked normally at home three days, and we had one walk-only ride because the saturated footing froze solid when the temps dropped 40 degrees overnight after the downpour (yay, Maryland). That work schedule isn’t my ideal but it does keep both of us going.
I always drag my arena before snow or heavy rain. This helps it drain faster and also ensures that if it freezes solid, at least it is flat and useable for walking. I’m fortunate that my arena was well-constructed and drains really well. One end is shaded by trees to the south so it stays frozen longer and sometimes I can’t use that end for a few days after the rest thaws.
If I can only walk due to footing, I make it worthwhile by doing walk poles and working on lateral work, walk-halt-walk transitions, reinback, walk pirouettes, and transitions between free walk and medium walk (something my current horse always needs to work on as when I got him he thought picking up the reins meant, “go!”). It still feels like a productive ride, although I need to bundle up more than if I were riding “for real.”
It’s a shame that you can’t use your driveway because it sounds like a really good option! I would love to have something like that. I usually like to hack out at least once a week but in winter I don’t always get to because I worry about lumpy frozen mud.
I personally wouldn’t bother with weekly lessons if I couldn’t ride between because I don’t have a great memory and feel like I need to practice what I learn in the next day or two to make it worthwhile.