Jordan Sonnenberg’s Top Cold Weather Riding Tips
As an adult amateur college student living in Wisconsin, Jordan Sonnenberg has discovered more than a few ways to deal with winter’s freezing temperatures while staying on track to meet her riding goals. Jordan hopes to be back in the show ring in April doing the 3’ jumpers on Cali, her 15-year-old mare. Cadence, her two-year-old mare, is just being broken to ride and Jordan hopes to enter her in walk-trot classes by the end of the summer. With her goals firmly in sight, Jordan shared a few of the strategies she uses to ensure her mares keep making progress during the long winter months!
1) Have a routine down.
Your barn may or may not be heated, which means it can get awfully chilly tacking up and untacking. I have a solid routine I follow to tack up efficiently. I start by picking my horse’s feet and brushing them. Then I put boots on my horse, add my saddle pads (including my Maxtra Half Pad by Intrepid International which I absolutely love), saddle, bridle, and off we go. I find that having a routine down can help you be more efficient, which means less time that you’re both standing around in the cold.
2) Make time to stretch.
Stretches are one of my favorite things to do with my horses after riding, especially in the colder months. I like to make sure my horses are in top shape and that includes out of the ring as well. I typically focus on leg, neck, and tail stretches with Cali and am slowly accustoming my two-year-old to stretches. With my youngster, I am starting out with leg stretches, and once I feel she is ready, I will slowly add some neck stretches.
3) Write down your schedule on a digital calendar or a planner.
It helps me manage my time, which is super important because I am in college and work 50+ hours a week. Having things written down, whether it’s appointments, riding lessons, or homework, gives me an idea of how my days look and if I can fit in an extra hack or lesson. Writing down and reviewing my schedule the night before gives me a leg up and asking myself each morning, “what does success look like today?” allows me to feel empowered to take on each day, no matter how cold the weather!