I am, quite honestly, two very different people between summer and winter – especially when it comes to my time at the barn. Although I complain about the heat in the summer and I moan about the cold in the winter, they each have their pros and cons (but I spend countless hours at the barn, year round).
Summer: Horse has a nice coat and is done shedding. However, sweat marks mean constant currying, leading to forearm cramps.
Winter: Horse has blanket on 20 hours of the day so he has a clean coat – but he is very furry and I am covered in hair after grooming.
Summer: I can feel all twenty fingers/toes while I tack up, but my saddle pads are immediately soaked with sweat. I’m doing more horse laundry than human laundry.
Winter: I can curl up in my horse’s cooler for a blanket – but my thumbs are completely numb from tightening the girth and tucking in the straps.
Summer: I love the wind drying my sweat, I can create my own breeze if I canter fast enough, and I can feel all of my limbs. However, I repulse people from the combination of horse and human sweat.
Winter: Horses’ optimal working temperature is closer to winter temperatures than summer temperatures – but I am so cold my body aches.
Summer: Nothing feels better than a cool hose shower after a long ride, but now my shoes are soaked and this damn horsefly won’t leave me alone.
Winter: There is nothing good about bathing in the winter – and nothing is worse than feeling droplets of water run into the sleeves of your million layers.
Summer: Wheelbarrows roll easy without snow, but horse urine has a way of soaking into your hair, clothes, and shoes when the heat rolls around…
Winter: The poop is frozen and picks up in one scoop! Cleaning stalls is also a great way to warm up before a ride. However, my wheelbarrow gets stuck in the snow, and I get sad.
Summer: Since the water isn’t a million degrees colder than the air, I’ll gladly clean my tack more often. However, the heat makes my horse nasty, which makes my tack even nastier.
Winter: My tack fights significantly less sweat than in the summer, but I can’t feel my fingers after scrubbing or dipping my hand in bit disinfectant.
Summer: My horse is happy, especially if I can get him out on a grass pasture! He also comes in VERY dirty after rolling without a blanket.
Winter: I get to bypass all the ‘cold and sassy horse’ behaviors by turning my horse outside – after trudging out in foot-deep snow to put my horse out and bring him back in.
I have a lot to say about summer and winter riding, but don’t even get me started on the spring mud and fall wind…