I?ve had the pleasure of horse riding through the snow in a few areas, including on a film shoot for the Equitrekking Southern Quebec episode. We've certainly gotten a lot of snow this winter, so why not get out and enjoy it. Remember, horses have a slightly higher body temperature than we humans, making for a bit of a warmer ride.
The tricky thing with horse riding in the snow is the weather, as the conditions have to be right to take off on the trails, but luckily, many of the equestrian vacation destinations highlighted below have indoor arenas and other activities in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, including romantic horse drawn sleigh rides.
Bar W Ranch--Whitefish, Montana
What could be more romantic than a wintery sleigh ride at a Montana ranch! Bar W Ranch offers horse riding on snowy trails. They also have an indoor arena for those who want a brief outdoor excursion and more time training indoors to brush up on their Western riding skills. There are around 3000 acres to explore in the ranch vicinity and indoor barrels, team penning and pole bending. When you're not in the saddle, you might want to explore the Western town of Whitefish, ski, skate, square dance, snowmobile or dog sled.
Les Randonnees Jacques Robidas--Eastern Townships, Quebec
Not too far from the Vermont border, saddle up with Quebec native Jacques Robidas or head off on a horse drawn sleigh. Jacques offers guests accommodations in one of his cozy cottages, steps away from the stables. L?Ardoise, the chef, prepares healthy meals, many of which are made with locally sourced products. It's a homey atmosphere, not too far away from home for many in the Northeast.
The Hideout Lodge & Resort--Shell, Wyoming
Head to this working cattle ranch and look for wild horses in the snow in and around Shell Valley. With many miles of well-groomed trails and some true cowboys to take you out, you're in for an exciting snow ride at this Western guest ranch. When not riding, the ranch offers snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, photography clinics and Yellowstone is right nearby. This ranch prides itself on giving guests a culinary experience. Besides gourmet meals, those with a sweet tooth can get their chocolate fix. One perk to this ranch vacation are homemade Centho-Chocolates, artisan made Belgian style chocolates, which the Hideout chefs have been specially trained to make. Add in some hot coco, and you?ve got one sweet ride!
Vista Verde Ranch--Steamboat Springs, Colorado
If you are a horse person and you live somewhere that gets lots of winter snow, like Steamboat Springs, Colorado, you?d want to keep your trails well groomed so you can ride outside or have a nice heated indoor arena? or both. Vista Verde Ranch keeps things going in the winter with snow riding, horse drawn sleigh rides pulled by a team of hefty Percherons, and an indoor arena, where you can watch ranch trainer Terry Wegener, National Reining Horse Association Money winner, starting horses and work on your own skills too. For foodies, Vista Verde also offers cooking classes, wine tasting and gourmet meals.