Friday, May 6, 2016

not made of sugar: my thoughts on riding in weather

It's rained a lot this week. Boo, right? And both of my lessons were therefore slightly damp. One was only just misting, but the other was steady rain.

it's raining, yo
So I'm taking a minute to write about my thoughts here. Because, unsurprisingly, I have a few haha.

Generally speaking, while I don't actively seek out opportunities to ride in bad weather, should the circumstances arise I will still ride in the rain. And furthermore - I think it's an important practice.

sometimes we school cross country in the rain
My rule of thumb is: If I would show in it, I should school in it too. And especially in eventer land, it takes actual lightning to derail most shows - even schooling shows.

competing in the rain at fair hill
Now granted there might be real reasons for scratching in bad weather. For instance a TON of people withdrew after dressage at Fair Hill last year, conveniently helping me edge up into 2nd place to finish. Presumably they had concerns about the ground holding up. Those concerns were certainly reasonable too, as we basically slipped all around stadium and had a few questionable steps out on cross country too...

does she look amused?
But it was honestly fine. I think we were helped out in no small part by schooling xc in the rain the week prior at Tranquility - the mare had already experienced going in that type of condition so it didn't really throw her off her game at all.

this is why i can't have nice things
And that is pretty much my point here - competing in nasty conditions turned out to be no big deal for either of us because we routinely school in nasty conditions too.

i can still ride with questionable position in the rain too! 
Obviously I would rather not haha - in my ideal world it's sunny in the low 70s all day every day, with birds singing and butterflies flitting about. Like they do.  

we'd rather not ride in the snow... but if we have to? we GALLOP
But it just is what it is, so we make do. And I get pumped up for it by reminding myself that I'm certainly not made of sugar - I won't melt in the rain lol. So my question to you is: Do you ride in the rain? Light rain or a downpour? Warm or cold temps?

nope not amused at all tho
Do you have a basic rule of thumb for when it's time to just call it a day weather-wise, or will you ride in anything? Does it depend on if you're already at the barn intending to ride, or if you're still at home trying to decide whether to go out at all? I'm curious to know!!

30 comments:

  1. I will not ride if the footing is incredibly sloppy. I've fallen off because of my horse slipping and one time was enough for me. I still get anxious riding when it's super wet.

    When I took Houston to River Glen a few years back the weather was disgusting. I rode cross country in torrential downpour. I don't know that I would redo that experience because I was constantly wiping my eyes. I had about a million time penalties bc I was really uncomfortable going all out or even cantering in some spots.

    Some people might say I'm a fair weather rider but for me rain is a deterrent if it impacts the footing and my ability to see.

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  2. I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I generally don't ride in the rain for a few reasons. First and foremost, Roger loves to throw shoes like it's his job, and that happens more in wet weather, so I'd rather not give him the chance to throw a shoe in wet or sloppy footing. Also, call me crazy, but I spent far too much money on my saddle to risk damaging it in the rain. I'm sure it would be fine, but I would prefer not to take the chance, especially since we all know how tough finding a saddle can be. My barn has really great footing in our arena and it generally doesn't get super slippery, but sometimes Roger forgets where his feet go and I'd rather not risk slipping and sliding.

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  3. I'll ride in the rain, as long as the footing is good. In Oregon you're going to have to show outside in the rain at some point, so might as well school at home in it! I've been to shows in the pouring rain where really nice, fancy, spendy ponies have had meltdowns because they ride inside when it rains and my horses have never cared.

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  4. I have no problem riding in the rain, but unfortunately our footing doesn't handle much of it. Clay soil plus rain equals a very slippery, suction cup type of going that is just asking for injuries. Our arena can't handle too much either before we start compromising the base. But as long as the footing is good, I'll ride in pretty much anything. I've definitely SHOWN in the pouring rain before... honestly I didn't mind it that much, and as long as Henry has on his ear bonnet (NO WATER IN HENNY EARS) he seems ok with it too.

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  5. I'm perfectly fine riding in the rain if it's above 45 degrees or so and the footing isn't compromised. I rode in the rain a LOT more at my last barn where we had an all-weather arena that drained beautifully! At our current barn, I've got either grass or plowed-under crop fields to ride in, so I need to think about the footing conditions for reasons of safety AND preserving the ground. If it's really cold out and raining I'll just skip riding - being outside in that is just plain miserable for humans and horses. Today, even though it's pouring, I'll probably hop on and at least walk hills since Dino had the past 2 days off. As long as it's safe, I'll ride in pretty much anything!

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  6. We don't get tons of weather out here, but I pretty much ride/teach in whatever. Most barns close their arenas during the rain though, so a lot of people don't have the choice to ride (at least in the arena) during the rain. The barn I teach at though never closes their arena so I've been known to hunker down under jackets trying to yell over the rain while my poor kids (always kids lol my AAs don't like riding in the rain) ride around.

    Luckily my future barn has a covered ring with a couple of covered sides so hopefully we won't miss any rides this winter! They close all their rings at the slightest hint of rain.

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  7. I'm ok with riding in anything besides thunderstorms. Lightning is a no go. That being said I am more careful with the footing. If it's too wet/slick I don't ride Stinker because he is weak behind and I'm trying to get him to relax. If he loses his balance he wants to go faster which results in poor results.

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  8. I'll ride in the rain only if I have to, simply because I am lazy and don't want to clean and condition my tack afterwards. We had our spring show last year where it rained hard all day and we still got first :D I ride until it is about 10 degrees out, but not lower, and will ride until it is about 100 out, not usually higher unless it is a show. As long as the footing is semi-decent, I am good to go as I am a pretty hardcore rider.

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  9. I will ride in anything but lightening. And honestly, maybe even that if I get caught out in it and I can stick to the woods on the way home. That's served me very well, as many dressage horses are ridden exclusively in the ring and good weather. I think the number of shows with bad weather have out numbered the shows I've been to with good weather, and Pig doesn't seem to care about the rain and blowing much at all. We handle it. Though, he's not fond of sloppy footing.

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  10. I'm a pretty fair weather rider. Simon tolerates most things in life, but he HATES rain. Threatens to rear, etc. So I just let him have that and we don't ride in it.

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  11. I made a point to work Mikey in the rain and through puddles. It served us so well at a show where it positively downpoured for most of the overnight. Dressage people are wimpy- they held off on starting the show because of the rain. Tons of people scratched. As I was warming up, I heard some people schooling, "Oh I think I'm going to scratch, I just can't ride in this footing. It's too wet" There were NO puddles because this farm has awesome water management for being in flat Ohio. They were out there draining large puddles and dragging the rings. Mikey wasn't thrilled to be working in it, but he did his job. Penn hasn't gotten the same level of education just yet, and I'd probably be conservative with him and bad footing because he just doesn't have the balance that Mikey had. I have worked him in the rain (he doesn't seem to care). It would take a lot for me to scratch him though. Probably a monsoon.

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  12. I will be the first to admit that I am a total fair weather rider (living in a drought for 4 years makes rain an event) and prefer to utilize our indoor ring for rainy days :)

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  13. we live on the west coast so riding in the wind and rain is a regular occurrence. We'd never get to ride (especially in the winter) otherwise. I won't trail ride in a storm because trees + high winds is obviously unsafe, but we still definitely school in the arena.

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  14. I don't tend to ride if it's raining before I start tacking up purely because I groom and tack up outside so he'd be wet under the saddle and I don't think that's fair. But if it rains when I'm already riding then I definitely don't cut my ride short because of it.

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  15. I'm with Amanda. As long as footing is ok I'll ride in pretty much anything as long as it's not below 30*. That being said, we pretty much always get lightning when it rains here in TX, so a lot of the time, rain = thunderstorm, and I'm wary about riding in those. Val really couldn't care less and maintains his fabulous work effort rain or no, so he's easy!

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  16. I will ride when it's just drizzle, but full on rain and I'm out. Granted, I'm more hunter princess than brave eventer :) I almost ruined a saddle riding in a downpour (it was old, but still...after that it was never quite the same) so for the sake of my tack, if I can't ride inside, I just don't.

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  17. Since my barn shuts down the main arena in the rain and the trails get very muddy, I end up with the only option being to ride in the small arena which is the size of an oblong 20m circle. So I generally just don't ride because not much gets accomplished in weather like that. If I could ride in a proper arena I'd probably keep going.

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  18. I have an indoor... so I'll ride "in" anything, but like not "in" it. Haha. I used to be pretty rough-n-tumble about riding in all weather, but now I'm just not. If it's miserable, no. If it's gusting 50mph, no. If it's pouring rain, no. And the truth is, I don't travel to show and I'm not good enough to have a lot on the line, so if I go to a show and it's nasty, I'm going to scratch.

    Buz I'm an ammy. Screw that noise.

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  19. I ride in the rain and cold temps, yes. But it is majorily dependant on how the footing is - if the arena is sloppy and gross I'll hack out. Or if it's too slippery to canter, I'll stick to the walk.

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  20. In this weather, I am not very enthused about riding. I can do cold or wet but not both. Today (May! It's May. I am still in heating season over here.) I built a fire in my woodstove after work to drive away the damp. It's 49F and raining. Ugh.

    Maybe I'd do better at this if I had better rain gear... suggestions?

    In other news, I backed the three horse slant into the shed bay (10" clearance on either side) by myself without hitting anything! (There were a lot of do-overs, though.)

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  21. Growing up in Washington state, I actually love riding in the rain. (Not a typo, I LOVE it) If the footing isn't dangerous, I'll ride in the rain until I'm soaked. And if I have a change of clothes, I'll go out again. In Florida, I hated the heat so much that I was basically scrambling to tack up as soon as the rain started! :)

    In KY I didn't have an indoor so I did a ton of riding outside in weather, weaving through trees to try and school before a dressage show, in hopes that maybe the trees would keep me from getting less soaked... ;)

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  22. As long as the footing is still safe, I'm all for riding in crappy weather. But also I really love having an indoor. You know, because it's an indoor. :P

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  23. I'd probably ride in the rain more often if I didn't have the luxury of an indoor arena at school. I can only imagine how the ring looks back home where we only have an outdoor, and if we get our usual bout with thunderstorms come July . . . let's just say I'm ready to get rained out.

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  24. I commend you I would have done the same! Our trainer makes us deal pretty hard, rain, mist, heavy fog! Man I wished I blogged and took pics the time we literally couldn't see 4 feet in front of us and still had a riding lesson. I think it's always good to ride in varied terrain and weather, it adds fortitude/grit that you can handle it all. She looks so sad in that last picture.

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  25. I am with you with wanting sunny and 70 every day all day... I am a wuss about the rain though (unless I am at a show and have no choice). I don't ride in the rain, but I will ride in the snow. For some reason snow coming down doesn't make me as miserable as rain coming down.

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  26. It really depends on if I have an event/clinic/etc coming up or not. A couple of years ago I was prepping for a clinic (which ended up getting canceled boo) and needed to ride my horse so I toughed it out in the cold rain- even though I had a rain coat on I didn't zip my pocket and my phone ended up getting drenched and died! It ended up being the reason I upgraded from a normal phone to a smart phone so I wasn't to upset in the long run hahaha!!!

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  27. If its a light drizzle I'll ride because I have an indoor. Hard rain and wind makes the tin roof on the indoor insanely loud and Ries really jumpy. Plus he loves standing in the rain in his pen and I feel bad taking away his favorite activity. If it is in the summer and he doesn't have a blanket I can't ride because he will be so wet.

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  28. Here in FL, riding in the rain is a really nice break from the blinding heat. Actually, I really enjoy a light rain if there is no lightning in the summer. Violet does not like it touching her ears, but whatevs... The one weather condition we really do try to limit is the blinding heat. Or maybe it's just because I live in AC and can't handle it.

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  29. I hate riding in the rain! But I do agree that it's important to school in all conditions. If you're going to compete in it you better school in it.

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  30. Happy to ride in the rain as long as it is > 50°F rain!

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