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Whether the weather matters… April 5, 2011

Posted by twobitkc in Uncategorized.

It does.

But, let me elaborate.

Changes in the weather will affect different horses differently, but there are a few generalizations that it’s safe to make. Most horses will be quieter (slower, duller, more calm…pick your adjective) when the weather is warmer. Conversely, they will be perkier (quicker, brighter, more alert) when the weather is colder. These are not huge personality changes, but rather just overall changes in the horse’s general outlook/responses. They are subtle, gradual (as the seasons change) and easy to adjust for.

It’s harder to adjust for the wild daily weather changes we can experience during Spring in the midwest. Here in Kansas City, it was 90 degrees on Sunday. Yesterday (Monday) the high was 50 degrees with very high winds making it seem much colder. Right now, at 7:30 Tuesday morning, it’s 32 degrees.

Perky horses were quite dull on Sunday. Dull horses were asleep. It was hot, for the first time this year, and horses had not adjusted to warmer temps – and in fact most still have not shed their winter coats. Yesterday, the horses woke up a bit.

Weather is just one of many things you adjust for each time you ride – but you should pay special attention to sudden changes in the weather. Don’t be upset if Poco Pookie Bars is not the same horse today that he was on Sunday. The weather has changed…a lot. Make adjustments and allowances. Increase your warm-up time. Don’t attempt to school any new or difficult concepts or movements. Don’t suddenly decide to take your horse on a trail ride to new territory.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has come to me seriously concerned because their horse was difficult on a certain day, and I think to myself, “Well, duh! The temperature dropped 30 degrees!” I would definitely be rich, as well as beautiful…! There’s a reason we all secretly breathe a sigh of relief on sunny, windless, 80 degree days.

Horses also can respond to changes in barometric pressure (like drops when a storm is coming), windy conditions (welcome to Kansas) and, of course, actual severe weather. Don’t stay home just because of weather issues (unless we’re talking severe weather!) – but you should plan to factor weather conditions in to your ride so that you and your horse will both have a good day.






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