Cold-Weather Riding Tips

This article was written by

Cody Harrison, Owner/Trainer/Clinician at CH Equine!

When we think winter, we think of holidays with family, warm drinks, and snowy nights. Unfortunately, our riding often suffers some neglect during the colder months of the year. Some of us are lucky enough to have an indoor riding arena to use when snow blankets the outdoors, but you still can’t escape the freezing temperatures!

So, the question is, how should you work your horse on these cold days?  You don’t want to get your horse too hot or sweaty and end up spending more time cooling down than actually riding.  Here are some tips to make winter riding a little more productive.

1. Slow Down

Go back to the basics! Slowing down can be a good thing and help you and/or your horse break bad habits that may be starting to form.  Focus on your position and don’t force anything-  relax!  In doing so, your horse will also relax.  As you find your correct position, you can begin to ask your horse to carry himself in a forward and relaxed frame.  Use this time to improve on your lateral work and your finesse.  Work on maneuvers like shoulders-in, haunches-in, half-pass and leg yields to keep you and your horse from getting bored.  Ask your horse to flow from one maneuver to the other. Don’t rush though, and only ask for the amount of angle your horse is capable of and understands.

2. Speed It Up

Slowing down is great for cold weather training, but it does not mean that you can’t work on your trot and canter work.  If you choose to do some trot and canter work, be sure to do it in the first half of your ride.  This will make cooling down easier than if you wait until the end of your work.

3. Cool Down Thoughtfully
It’s time to cool down. Use this time to work on more of your lateral work.  Avoid letting your horse walk around the arena mindlessly.  He can think about his hay when he is back in his paddock.  Make your cool down productive, stay relaxed and continue to ask for good position.

Be safe, stay warm, and enjoy your winter rides!

CH Equine is here to help should you need a refresher or if would like to take your riding to the next level.

Located in Brighton, we offer weekly private and group lessons, and we have riding clinics just about year round for anyone to enjoy.

 If you have any questions or would like to discuss our services, please e-mail us at






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