Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I was called a "fair weather rider." By my own mother. I don't remember why or what prompted the comment, but it's one of those things that has stuck with me all these years because that's the last thing I ever thought I'd be.

I've never considered myself a fair weather rider. I'd get out there and ride in the rain, the snow, the fog, the cold, the middle of winter in the middle of the night under a full moon...any time, any where. If there was time to ride, the homework and chores done, I was on my horse. And I'd make fun of friends who wouldn't ride unless the skies were blue, the temperature moderate and the bugs at a minimum. Most of us were "all weather" riders, but a few, not so much.

But, I find that the older I get, the less likely I am to bundle up and ride when that thermometer drops below 20. I just don't want to. I remember how much I LOVE riding in the snow, and the crisp, brisk air smacking my cheeks, reddening my nose and start thinking about pulling on silk long underwear, breeches, a pair of sweatpants, a t-shirt, sweatshirt, coat, gloves, hat, two pairs of socks, ear muffs...and it just seems like way too much effort.

Then I remember cold thighs, wind-induced tears frozen to my cheeks, numb fingers, frozen snot and feet that feel like they are going to shatter into a million frozen shards when you hit the ground on the dismount after being in the saddle for an hour or so.

And I skip it. I look out to the pasture and see Gabe gallivanting around in the snow, so happy and full of energy and boisterousness that I really, really want to get out there and ride and laugh.

But I don't want to freeze my ass off doing it, either.

There, I said it. I'm approaching "fair weather rider" status. Yikes! I hope this doesn't become a downward slide for me and I find myself only willing to ride when the weather is perfect. I never wanted to be one of "those riders."

I like riding in the rain. I LOVE riding in the fog and mist. Even the heat is tolerable.

But the cold. I just can't justify the bitter, biting, frigid, horrible, soul-sucking cold.

Hurry up spring! I need you!


  1. I'm with you. I draw the line when the temps hit the 20's. I honestly don't think my horse wants to be ridden when it's that cold. He would rather snug up under his blanket and munch hay.

    Also, there is an award for you on my blog!!!

  2. Ugh, me neither. I haven't ridden in forever since it's been so awful cold. There's ice all over the place that I can't see under the snow, the last time I tried to ride my gelding almost went down twice. That was enough for me. No more riding until the ice melts. I'm pretty sure he doesn't mind the vacation.

  3. I'm mostly in the same boat! 20* isn't bad, but 10* is kind of my cutoff. Despite that, I haven't been on a horse since Nov. There is too much snow, not enough light (and too cold on moonlit nights), and I don't have an indoor. Plus a little bit of your same sentiment! One thing that has made a difference for me, though, is deciding to buy coveralls. I did the jeans with layers of long underwear at the boarding barn. When I moved to my own place I NEEDED coveralls to survive chores. They were a HUGE improvement. I skip the saddle and ride in my covies and winter boots (they don't fit safely in stirrups) and the cold isn't nearly as bad and there are far fewer layers! That said, I'm ready for spring too!

  4. Your mother was just kidding, I am sure. How about the time you and a bunch of crazy teenage girls went horse camping in December on the frozen Kansas plains? I am certain she was only joking to call you a fair weather rider!

  5. My minimum temperature to ride gets higher every year. Those days of feeling virtuous riding in the dark in 10 degrees and then driving home carefully because I couldn't feel my feet are OVER. But this year it has been the wind more than the cold that has kept me out of the saddle.

  6. Haha!
    I loved your comments ~
    Well, you know me, I've got the gear and have no fear...but the last time I rode in 17 degree weather, my mare was lame for getting heal bruised. I'm with you, just a but more fair-please!

  7. @trainingbaron...I don't think Gabe really cares whether I ride or not, but I do believe he misses the lavish attention he gets when I WANT to be outside. Thank you for the award!

    @smazourek...same thing here. Ice under the snow and you have no idea where it is. I've gone down with a horse on the ice before and it's not a thing I care to repeat.

    @Katie...hmmm....I've never ridden in covies, I don't even own a pair! But it may be the solution to really not wanting to pile on the clothes just to stay a tad bit on the warm side.

    @Goat Roper...hehe! We were definitely crazy horse girls, that's for sure! Good times.

    @Barbara...I hate that can't-feel-your-feet phenomenon after riding. Hate. It. There have been more than a few times when I've hit the ground after a cold ride and I seriously thought I'd shattered my poor, frozen feet. Pain, lots of it.

    @Allhorsestuff...hurry up spring, hurry up! I want to RIDE! I do admire you for riding even when it's freakin' cold out there, that's dedication!