Because along with the pretty white stuff comes the full effects of Father Winter, such as shorter days, bitterly cold temperatures, and ice. He can be a bit of a crab.
But while some of you cringe when you hear the "S" word, others are gearing up for those magical winter rides. Maybe its because the holidays are right around the corner, or maybe its because the northern hemisphere experienced an early cold-snap - but we've got snow on the brain (and betting you do, too).
The minute that very first snowflake fell, horsemen and women started prepping for winter. They got their bucket heaters out, blankets cleaned, heater ready in the tack room, and probably purchased a few hundred pounds of salt.
At Scoots, we're all about getting off the trail and going on adventures whenever you can. So we're using this opportunity to show how to make the most out of the snowy season with Scoot Boots.
If you've never ridden through the snow before, we strongly recommend you do it. There's nothing like frolicking through fresh powder or taking a stroll on groomed trails while snowflakes float to the ground. It's an experience you won't get during the busy, buggy days of summer.
Simply put, winter riding is ah-mazing, and everyone should try it at least once in their life. Here are a few tips for when you do:
When your horse's feet are tender or need extra support, Scoots are a great option and are safe to use during all seasons. But Scoot Boots are also a great way to add grip to your horse’s feet! Because they’re designed with a grippy bottom that keeps your horse from slipping, our boots won't make the situation worse if you do hit a slick spot.
Unlike metal shoes, Scoots won't cause a buildup of snow and ice to form an 'iceball' under your horse's feet. The natural heat from your horse's hooves is still able to radiate through the boots, keeping the surface warm and the snowpack away, keeping it safe for the boots to be worn during a ride or during their turnout time.
Enhance Your Horse’s Grip
Yes, Scoot Boots alone offer amazing traction, but when the conditions are a little more extreme adding Scoot Ice Studs is a simple method to enhance your horse’s traction. Because of the way the boots are designed, there’s ample room at the heels and toe of the scoot boots to apply studs when riding on ice or slippery terrain. Added bonus: all you need to install the studs are a drill, proper drill bit size, and the stud attachment to secure them in the boot. In about 10 minutes or less, you’ll be ready to hit the trails with added traction and confidence.
Judging + Taking On the Snow
Light and feathery snow is what we're looking for when hitting the trails during the cold months. Before heading out, take your time checking the snow conditions as a layer of ice could be hiding under all that fluff. If you notice a buildup of ice, you may have to skip your winter wonderland ride for another time, but it's better to be safe than sorry!
If you're unfamiliar with the terrain, be sure to stay on a groomed trail that's well marked. The last thing you need is to fall into a hidden creek bed with your horse.
Wear Layers & Insulate
Don't leave your helmet behind! You can still wear it with a headband or a thin stocking cap. Your helmet is adjustable for a reason.
Bulky winter gear isn't exactly ideal for horseback riding. If you're top-heavy from a big winter coat, tipping over is a real hazard (believe me). Instead, layer with thin wool jackets or fleece that provide you with full mobility and can be removed once you warm up. Also, if your regular breeches are warm enough, you can wear them year-round or you could spring for a winter set.
Next, you may want to rethink the boots you ride in for the winter, mostly because your everyday snow boots are too wide for stirrups. As for keeping your hands warm, ski gloves made of a thin ‘smart’ fabric are a warm option when looking for a way to keep your hands cozy without losing control of your reins.
After the Ride
Give yourself time to cool down your horse properly after the ride by ending the ride with a slow walk to decrease their heart rate. It's an excellent way to start the cooling process while heading back to the barn. It'll be a good patience lesson for your horse, too.
If you don't have one yet, pick up the proper cooler and blanket to keep your horse warm, depending on how wet their coat got from the ride. Having appropriate cooldown gear is paramount - we wouldn't want your horse to get chilled!
You always have the option to leave your scoot boots on after the ride, but if studs are installed we recommend you remove them to prevent them from getting lost in the pasture.
Have Fun!Take it from us, winter riding is something everyone needs to experience. It feels completely different from any other type of riding, and we recommend you jump at the chance as much as possible! Maybe pack a thermos filled with hot cocoa or coffee and peppermints to share while enjoying the ride. When you do decide to head out, use #scootsxmas to show us your winter wonderland adventures. Bonus points if you share a photo of your horse wearing a Santa hat or antlers. Enjoy the season and stay safe!
Building a Supportive Barefoot Community
The team at Scoot Boot believe passionately in the barefoot horse and strive to build a supportive community of barefoot horse lovers.
Find more information about using Scoot Boots here.