Cold Rides: Readers Love Winter Riding Weather

More than 1,000 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Do you continue to ride your horse(s) during the winter?"

results of poll on cold weather riding

Results were as follows:

  • Yes, the weather is still decent where I live: 28.57% (286)
  • Yes, we love riding in the snow: 27.47% (275)
  • Yes, I have access to an indoor arena: 26.37% (264)
  • No, the weather and my location don't allow it: 17.58% (176)

Readers talked about their winter riding experiences in the comments below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

Look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!


  • I check the hourly forecast and try to catch a couple of dry hours on the trail
  • I ride indoors and out in the winter unless it's raining
  • We ride down to minus 25 Celsius
  • I ride as long as the temperature is in the upper 30's and above.
  • I live in ctrl VT--ride/exercise my horses several days a week year-round.
  • we trail ride throughout winter as much if not more. Only rain and slosh set us back.
  • I don't ride in the terrible cold. He needs his energy to stay warm.
  • None of the above. I ride occasionally in the winter and frequently in the summer.
  • Can't keep my fingers warm enough without mittens.
  • My horse is barefoot and surefooted-slipping isn't much of a problem and she enjoys winter more .
  • We hibernate!
  • I ride indoors and hack outside on nice days
  • same except indoor arena
  • Don't ride if wind is blowing and temp is below 40 degrees.
  • Our location gets lots of rain which freezes and stays frozen. It's dangerous to ride.
  • There's an indoor arena about 5 miles from my place
  • My horse is almost 30 and I ride at least 3X/week all year. he loves the snow.
  • long, slow, works in snow or rain as long as there is no ice.
  • we ride on the trails weather and ice permitting.
  • Love riding in the snow too if conditions allow
  • Don't work your horse to hard because you are in a rink. They still sweat so a cool down is needed.
  • as long as it's not icy or bitter, we ride occasionally in the winter.
  • Ride indoors at night; outdoors on the weekend
  • winter is perfect time for lessons at nearby barn that has a nice indoor arena
  • ride, sheet up to cool off and let horse dry.
  • we ride when the footing is good enough, which hasn't been much so far this winter. (NY state)
  • various ground work. Snow inhibits mountain riding so we cruise around neighborhood boring but ridin
  • no-too much ice and I'm getting too old
  • When temperature allows I will ride
  • Now that my horse stays barefoot all the time, it's much easier on him to ride in the snow!!
  • If it ain't rainin', I'm ridin'.
  • settle the horse first and vaseline the hooves.
  • I use round bales. After work I water everyone and give grain. Two horses I haul water in a bucket
  • we ride 365 days a yr almost!
  • I board my horse in the winter so I can still ride.
  • i hope i can get out this winter, unlike the last
  • Thank God for an indoor. I don't feel safe riding in the snow.
  • I ride everyday I have a chance, to keep both of us fit
  • snow riding if not too bitter and little wind, indoor arena when can trailer out
  • We do mostly trail rides in winter, w/t... and lots of groundwork!
  • Although it is much wetter, many winter days are ok in Texas
  • we trail ride and ride in an indoor arena
  • I live in WA and ride 3 or more days a week, often in the rain. We don't melt!
  • My horse gets a vacation from riding and showin.
  • We are 'fair-weather' riders from April to November!
  • I ride on the old roads on the mountain where i live. Dakota loves to play in it. we have fun
  • I keep my horses at home, the snow now 20" deep and temps are around 20. Wish I could ride, tho.
  • IF ITS NOT MUDDY OR SLIPPERY I RIDE AS OFTEN AS I CAN. LONGER COOL DOWN, NOT AS HEAVY WORK.
  • NO even with an indoor!
  • Full work, just like summer months
  • I wish we had more snow - it's just plain cold here in PA.
  • I foxhunt so winter riding is the norm.
  • Walk with the occasional trot and canter so coats don't get damp. Bareback if time is short.
  • pull shoes at beginning of winter.
  • Depending on how cold, and how frozen ground is. if it's below 35 degrees, I don't ride.
  • Foxhunting
  • With pads & studs, we are ready to go!
  • No clips so mostly slow work and troubleshooting
  • Thank goodness for the mild winter weather in Australia!
  • Fox Hunting!
  • I still ride nearly as often in S. Oregon
  • as long as there is no ice
  • Snow is great as long as there's no ice. Otherwise we go indoors.
  • I have and older TB, so I lunge him at walk and trot before we ride.
  • That's one reason why I stay in CA!
  • Riding in the woods right after a new snowfall is AWESOME!
  • I live in SoCal so unless it rains its business as usual
  • My wife and I, both over 70 try to ride 100 miles each month in winter.
  • Add grain supplement; water heater helps A LOT; good access to minerals or they eat the fences!
  • Mostly on Sundays, to avoid the hunters, but we love to ride in the cold and snow
  • ride in the snowat home a couple of times a week weather permiting and indorr arean once per week
  • In South Florida this is the time of year to ride!
  • I mind the 30-40 degree weather more than the horses
  • We ride all winter here in upstate NY! Multiple layers and hand/foot warmers req'd but we ride!!!
  • We are sooo lucky in Africa, Winter the best time to ride
  • Living in MI and have no indoor,we wait for the ground to freeze and have snow on top for cushioning
  • We get some snow in SC, but it's pretty nice to ride here all year long.
  • If the ground is as hard as cement, I go out into rough grassy areasto get in some trotting and bori
  • As long as there is no ice under the snow it is wonderful to ride in the winter
  • Once the snow softens the frozen ground we ride all year- Minnesota.
  • Most riding done in the indoor, but if we had more snow I'd rather be out in it!!
  • Winter is our riding season here in Fla!
  • Occassionally I trailer to the indoor arena, but mostly winter is play-time!
  • Too cold in northern MN.
  • not as much, it's cold and wet
  • I ride in Fresh snow, and in my indoor when icy or hard. when below 20 degrees, I keep it light
  • Live in Florida. Actually better riding than in the summer heat.
  • During the winter I do lots of groundwork and bareback riding- head out for casual trail rides.
  • ride most Saturdays even when snowing or below zero. I ride around our rural community.
  • feeding and cleaning, usually to wet and slippery to ride
  • California weather is mild by comparason, yet I choose to. wait for better weather
  • As long as it's above 20 degrees F I ride. I just stuff handwarmers in my boots and we're off i
  • walk/trot on trail rides when footing allows. otherwise, work lightly in indoor arena.
  • we train in the arena at night, round pen by day and hack on snowy afternoons
  • I ride as long as it's above 20 degrees! which luckily it doesn't get that cold to often in GA.
  • no arena, and only when weather is bearable
  • horribly rainy this winter, but ride when we can.
  • dry, no snow, love it!!!
  • try to remain out on trail as long as temps aren't below 25 and there is no wind
  • In N Tx ice is rare, snow is lite, we are barefoot,doesn't stop us. Temps are mostly above freezing.
  • Winter means rain here. Slippery footing reduces riding to no faster than a walk in some areas.
  • No. My horse is permanently retired!
  • deep soft snow is the best footing to start young horses...
  • If the temps were more normal, we'd be riding
  • no indoor and frozen ground mean limited riding opportunities
  • Frozen slippery ground, no riding
  • I ride 4 days a week (usually 2 horses per day) rain, snow or shine.
  • Too much snow & ice. I ride 4-5 days per week in an indoor arena where I board.
  • I ride MORE in the winter-no bugs and my work schedule is slower allowing more time to do so.
  • Here in Arkansas the weather is pretty mild so we're able to trail ride here several times each week
  • I love riding in winter as here in australia its too hot to ride in summer. 36 degrees plus.
  • the kids sled and snowboard with our horse, great for conditioning
  • any time any where as long as the fotting is reasonably safe
  • It is wet but we ride
  • Don't ride in the ice but the snow is OK
  • School in the arena and hack in the snow. Keeps horse interested.
  • I'm always afraid of injuries on ice...
  • My poor old body can't handle the cold anymore.
  • I would if the footing outside were safer.
  • its zero, its why they make Sorel Pacs and Carhartts!
  • Illinois, so weather is wet and icey. Turnout is usually indoor areana-ice is treacherous.
  • I move my horse to a facility with an indoor during Jan & Feb.
  • No interest in CT ice and cold.
  • I try to ride 3-4 times a week outdoors, weather permitting.
  • We go out when we can
  • The trick is to dress in layers that wick away sweat but keep heat in.
  • walker 20 mins e/w in am & 50 mins/10miles in pm
  • We ride if the weather allows through the winter
  • Rarely - I hate winters and riding indoors bores me to death
  • For both of us the warm weather time is for riding. Winter is for comfy down time.
  • Ussallywe jjust go out on a nice day and ride bareback in the snow on our mares or indoor arena
  • as long as we have our borium shoes and handwarmers for boots and gloves
  • No I don't particularly like the snow but no choice if I want to ride.
  • Depends on how cold it is and how the footing holds up, but generally, yes.
  • I used to ride outside, but two years ago we hit a patch of ice under fresh snow and we went down.
  • I hate the cold but try to ride anyway
  • Glad we have the indoor! My horse "snowballs" badly.
  • We ride when it's not rainy and muddy
  • Arizona's winter is the best time to ride
  • Winter is gorgeous in the central Arizona deserts!
  • Fox hunting keeps us in shape
  • Unless it gets too cold & windy we try to ride during the winter.
  • ride every chance I get
  • No snow where I am. If there's no cold front coming, its always really nice out, like 70F.
  • layers, quarter sheet, longer warm-up time
  • My husband and I ride at least once a week in Idaho where we get rain, snow and sun all winter long!
  • Temperature is the deciding factor!
  • We show in spring so we use the winter months to condition in round pen and some mind freeing trails
  • Longer walking warm up and cool down. I use a rump rug while I ride.
  • I ride every day I can except when it it very icy. the horses have rim pads.
  • if it gets up into the high 30's and its not icey then I'll head out for a trail ride
  • Love it! Unless there is ice!
  • Also outside, as long as the ground isn't too frozen (danger of road founder)
  • Winter in FL is like Fall elsewhere. 65F and fire weather today. Perfect riding day!
  • On days that aren't a total blizzard
  • Rain can keep us off.
  • I'm jealous of people that get to ride in the snow!
  • I ride inside during the week and outside on the week-ends (if there isn't much snow & ice)
  • My horse has a heavy coat, and I wear long underwear under my riding clothes.
  • Only daylight turnout, lots of hay, exercise rug for riding, studded EasyBoots for ice
  • Only ice stops us
  • No, too much ice this year ( Iowa ) some years yes ( outside )
  • Winter riding is the BEST!
  • I lived with my horses in Québec, we adjust the gate and the lenght of the ride.
  • Without an indoor we pretty much ride on the weekends... better than not at all!
  • I'm not left with enough daylight afterwork in the winter months :( Weekends are the only chance.
  • Lot's of long walks and trail rides if very chilly, quarter sheets work great.
  • unless it is cold enough to irritate her airway I work my horse through the winter
  • if its above 30, and no ice
  • I live in GA and our winter is just right to trail ride .
  • As long as the temp does not dip below -10C and no wind
  • I mostly ride in the indoor, but we link to take an occasional hack in the snow!
  • We ride and drive. The horses love it. NO FLIES!

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners