Since we are open all year long, Rising K Ranch is one of the few places where you can experience horseback riding through the snow. Typically, in the winter, our shorter trail rides will have anywhere from 2 inches to 18 inches of snow on the ground. This is just enough to make for a beautiful winter scene, allow for a nice crunching noise as the horse's hooves stomp on the snow, and give the horseback rider a unique experience. If you decide to go on our longer "Mountain Ride", however, we will go as far up the mountain as we can until the snow becomes impassible altogether. (Usually somewhere in the two foot range.)
The temperatures here at Rising K Ranch in the winter are usually just above freezing (around 35-40 degrees) in the daylight, and drop to aorund 10 degrees at night. Horseback riding here in the winter is plenty of fun as long as you wear the following:
1. Warm wool socks and boots such as snowboots or muck boots (I typically wear "Mud's" brand muck boots all winter personally.)
2. Good, waterproof MITTENS. Mitttens are much, much better than gloves when it comes to horseback riding in the winter snow.
3. A hat that covers your ears.
4. Good coat
5. Snow pants.
6. Thermals underneath your clothing.
With regards to winter horseback riding here at Rising K Ranch, it is not so much a low temperature itself that can make a horseback ride too cold, nor is it snow falling from the sky that will make it uncomfortable. Rather, it is a high wind that will make you feel frigid. Thankfully, our ranch is nestled in closely enough to the mountains that we do not receive nearly as much wind as the valley closer to town does, so we only have a few high wind winter days each year. For the most part, our winter days have only a light wind, which is still very cold if you do not have a hat that covers your ears; but if you do have a proper winter hat, it is not troublesome at all.
As far as snowstorms are concerned, again, falling snow is not uncomfortable at all. In fact, riding a horse through a heavy snowfall is a fun and unique experience, and if you are dressed properly you won't feel cold in it at all. The only thing that would make a snowfall uncomfortable is if the snowfall is paired with a high wind, creating more of a blizzard condition. Again, this thankfully is not typically the case here at our ranch. In fact, our heaviest snowfalls are usually accompanied with a somewhat higher temperature. Of course, in the event of a true blizzard-like condition we have canceled a few rides- but this is only about two or three times per year.
If you have all the winter clothes I mentioned above, you will be plenty warm all day long and you will be able to comfortably enjoy riding a horse even through a snowstorm. Still, if you are unsure of your ability to cope with a colder climate, simply take the "Cedar Trail Ride" which is only an hour and a half long. With this ride, as long as you have any winter clothing at all, you will already be back to the ranch and your warm car by the time you start to feel cold.