I always debate with myself about going to Florida in the winter. It is logistically hard for me to go back and forth. Yet always after my first trip, I remember all the benefits that are involved.
First of all, riding is not really a cold weather sport. This winter aside, the Northeast does not lend itself to riding whether inside or out. It usually is better for practicing one’s winter sports like skating and skiing. As a result, competitive horses are not able to work on a consistent level if the temperatures are below freezing day in and out. One of the real benefits of being in Florida is that the horses stay in a training program and continue to progress. It is especially beneficial for younger horses as it has been for ours this winter. I also think that horses pick up on the relaxed atmosphere and tropical temperatures, the same ways so many senior citizens are drawn South for these reasons. Horses are able to preform and learn better if they are relaxed and happy. The same goes for the rider. Florida seems to make that happen.
It is also beneficial for the show horses to get in the ring. It keeps a competitive edge for both horse and rider. I know that when I take a long break, several months, from showing, it is hard to regain the rhythm. I also think that it is beneficial for a rider to compete. It makes riders take on new challenges and rise to higher expectations than if riding at home.
I understand that not everyone can or has the desire to head South in the winter time. This winter has proven that you can stay home and continue to ride while still feeling your toes!! I feel lucky that I have been given the opportunity and my horses and I have been able to benefit. I will keep you posted. Until then, enjoy the warm temperatures and keep riding!!