When is cold, too cold? - photo by Keara

When is cold, too cold? – photo by Keara

This question has been weighing on my mind a bit recently. I don’t need to look too far to find the reason for that, either. It has been absolutely frigid here in Manitoba of late — hovering despondently around the -30 C (-22 F) mark, with windchills ten degrees below that.

After a fortnight-long deep freeze, the weather broke briefly on Friday for an absolutely balmy day of -3 C, but since then it’s been steadily plummeting again. For the first cold snap, I managed to ride fairly regularly. But it was not comfortable.

The barn where I board my horse has an indoor arena, but it is not heated or insulated, and by the time I was ten minutes into a ride my hands were frozen around the reins like brittle little ice cubes. I told myself that the cold was an opportunity to work on lateral work at the walk and trot. But how much can you really get accomplished in the 15 minutes that I can stand to be out there? Is -30 C my limit? Is it my horse’s limit?