Cold Weather Riding Is Like Dating

On My Mind, Miscellaneous Thoughts


As I get older, I am less amused by riding in extreme conditions, such as pouring rain, freezing cold, or after two hours of sleep. I CAN. I just don’t WANT to. I don’t think aging brings limits as much as it brings an increasing list of things up with which I will not put.

So, I have been trying to decide my lower limit for cold weather riding. Half my age is still extreme. I’m 56 years old. I’m not riding at 28 degrees. Who am I kidding.

Yes, yes, it’s cold where you live. You are laughing at me as you trudge to the barn, in the snow, uphill both ways. I’ve lived in cold places. I’ve ridden in lessons where the instructor disappears under a pile of coats as we shed them. In those climates, the buildings, the barns, the clothes, the footing, all the necessities and amenities of life are designed for unfriendly temperatures. I’m sure my numbers would be different if I lived in a state that didn’t freak out at the sight of the first snowflake. But I digress.

Dating rules – so I hear – place a lower limit at half your age plus seven. That works. That means riding at 35 degrees and above. No longer freezing. With a sunny day and low wind, I might get in a nice hack before my toes file a protest.

What is your lower limit, either for riding or dating?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

7 thoughts on “Cold Weather Riding Is Like Dating

  1. My lower limit for riding is a bit higher than yours, especially if it’s windy, but I’ve got asthma and can’t breathe too well in very hot or very cold weather. And over the years I’ve found breathing to be important to my ability to do anything else….
    Of course I can’t ride any more anyway. 😦

  2. My lower limit in an indoor (this winter) has yet to be determined. In years past I’ve done as low as 20, but the real determining factor are the variables. Do I have to go out and get the horse from a pasture 2 miles from the barn? Not riding. Is the wind howling to the point where it feels like the roof is about to launch? Not riding. Are the roads iffy getting there or back after I’m done? Not riding. Do I HAVE to wear gloves? Might not ride. I’m willing to break all kinds of fashion statements to ride in colder temps, but I think there’s little one can do (beyond a certain point) to help the extremities, and once they’re cold it’s all over but the cryin’. So far I’ve ridden (indoors) in the low 20’s, but that’s probably going to be my limit and I’m NOT going to do it every day. In that case I’ll usually turn the horse loose in the arena and we’ll just “play.” That keeps us both warm and scratches my horsey itch. Outdoors is a whole different story and far more dependent on footing than temperature. But at this stage of my life I’ll generally label anything under 35 “bad footing.” 😉

  3. ha i love that lol! i’d never considered using the ‘half my age’ thing for winter riding temperatures, but i totally get it. my personal feelings are that i don’t judge anybody for not wanting to ride in certain weather temperatures or conditions or moon phases or whatever. it’s something we do to bring us joy, and we’ll define that however we see fit. i personally tend to ride in any conditions so long as the roads are safe to drive to the barn, and there’s ground to ride on. with an indoor arena, that means i’ll still ride even in the coldest temps maryland is likely to see (low teens in F).

  4. Footing & an indoor would definitely be huge variables in the equation.

    The day after I posted this, the weather was sub-40o, immediately testing my advertised resolve.

  5. IMO, footing is critical, both to rider and horse safety. I’ve had one bone-breaking accident due to a horse slipping and falling on icy footing and my hubby’s riding partner ended up with a TBI after his horse slipped and went down in greasy mud. I’ve learned the hard way not to take too many chances with footing. And based on my experiences, an indoor in New England can be even colder than riding outside. (None of the ones I’ve been in were heated) They block the wind, but they can still be super cold, especially the metal ones. And if not maintained properly, the material will freeze if wet down for dust control. So an indoor is not always the answer to everything, though that’s the story I’m sticking to it when I campaign to get one of my own. 🙂

  6. When I exercised foxhunters for $ in Kentucky, my clothing (fleece-lined boots and every glove and earmuff imaginable) allowed me to road hack down to about 20 F. But I was younger then. Now I’m a California wimp, so probably 50 degrees.

    The rule for dating makes sense. My biggest age gap was 6 years younger–I was 24 and he was 18, so right about on the rule. At my age now that would be a 27-year-old… sounds about right, of course I’m married so it doesn’t matter 😀

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