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Winter Riding Routine

Greetings from  Colorado!


Tomorrow, we’ll have all our horse’s shoes pulled for the winter and then we’ll be relegated to riding indoors—another sure sign of the changing seasons. We’ll set up the cutting machine at one end and we’ll spend lots of days working on things you can do in a small space like collection, circles, spins, rollbacks. Once a week or so, we’ll fire up the remote-controlled cutting machine, which has a stuffed calf suspended from two cables, and work our horses for correctness on the cow.

Some horses love the cutting machine, some hate it—but the riders always love it. It’s a blast! I have to be very strict with myself not to overdo it—I limit myself to one go around per ride. Otherwise, you can get quite greedy and the next thing you know, your horse is fried and hating every minute of it. Have you ever had the problem of getting too greedy with your horse and reaching the point of diminishing returns?

It’s really hard, when your horse does something well, not to do it over and over again because it is so much fun. But over-training on a maneuver is a sure-fire way to sour your horse. So once I get one good response from my horse, I try to move on to something else. And I try really hard not to practice the things that he is already good at and save our training for the things he needs work on.

How does your riding routine change in the winter? Do you just bag it until the weather improves or are you lucky enough to live somewhere where the weather is not an impediment? Or maybe you have a great facility that keeps you comfy and cozy and with good footing all winter? I’ve always loved a change of seasons and the new pace that comes with it—whether it’s cutting back or kicking into gear. I’m certainly not hanging up my saddle for the skis, but will definitely cut back a little on the riding for the next couple months. After all, there’s just so much you can do riding indoors!

Stay warm,


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