There are many things that can affect riding in the winter — weather, light, snow, to name but a few. However, horse-owners alike will all want to get out as much as they can, if not only to remind themselves of the fun that justifies sticking through a grueling winter.
One of the biggest battles is keeping your horse clean:
Remember you don’t have to clean every last patch of him every time you ride — it’s just essential that he’s mud free where his tack will sit.
Get your horse clipped for his workload. It will make grooming easier and reduce the likelihood of a sweat wet hairy horse after riding.
Invest in a blanket that goes up his neck, not only will it keep him warm, but it’ll keep him clean too.
When turning him out, braid his tail to prevent a muddy mess.
Experiment with coat shine products to help prevent the mud from sticking from your horse's coat, mane and tail.
And don’t forget to:
Use an exercise blanket to keep your horse warm and avoid unnecessary injuries caused by tight cold muscles.
Increase usual warm-up and warm-down times.
Warm up the horse’s bit before putting it in their mouth.
Take a hoofpick with you if it’s snowy (in fact, take a hoofpick with you everywhere!) and also some Vaseline.
Discuss road studs with your farrier if you'll be going on trail rides.
Work out what your horse is capable of and don’t push him beyond his fitness level, or you could cause an injury.
If you don't have a clever cooler rug, use this old-fashioned technique that I learned in Britain! Thatching is a good way to dry off sweaty horses in the cold — use dry straw under a stable rug.