Yup, this is a really big one. And never more true than this year. It is so easy to sit around inside the house, dreaming of summer. But if you do that in South Dakota, you might be dreaming for 6 months! If you are physically able, you really should try to get outside and DO something! I know, being the main caretaker for 18 horses forces me to get outside. For many hours every single day. Would I go outside and play in the snow every morning if there was no purpose involved??? hmmmmmmm. Guess I'll never have to find out, as long as we have all of these animals to care for around here. But at least a lot of what I do is in the barns or at least in the horse yard near the barns. You know, the sun shines really bright and warm even on those days when it is 17 below zero. And we find ourselves taking some layers (of clothing) off when we are out cleaning the horseyards on those days. As long as we are protected from the wind, and the sun is out, we are generally fine. And yes, happy! Happy to be outside DOING something! Even on the really windy cloudy days when the sun is not shining, we can stay warm and active by cleaning the stalls inside the barns. As long as we have the right clothes on for it. And, yes, we have continued our horsemanship sessions through the winter. Well, two of us have anyway. Not as often and not as long, but we have still been playing with the horses in the barn. Our barn, remember, is not heated though. So the barn is cold when the temps. are cold. And we did lower our standards this year. We used to ride as long as it was in the 30s. This year we ride as long as it's in the 20s. On those days when it was 17 below zero? We were so busy cleaning stalls and making sure the horses were ok, that's about all we got done on those days. But I will say, I don't think there is anything wrong with slowing down a little for a few months during the winter. But the way they make clothes for us these days, as long as we dress properly we are ok. We do recommend coveralls or snowmobile suit type clothes, along with nice big mittens and of course big boots that are good for many degrees below zero. And then when we get all of those big bulky clothes on, depending on the horse's riding experience and the person's experience, we may stick to non-riding activities on those days when we have all of those big bulky clothes on. But if you really want to stay active with horses and horse chore activity during the winter, you can! Of course there are a few heated riding barns around the area. And we sure wouldn't blame you if you opted for riding lessons in one of those facilities instead of ours. We're not too fancy around here, but we ARE good!
oh, I almost forgot to mention that we do have one little room in our barn that is heated. It's where we keep our saddles and grain. So it's best to have that temperature controlled year round. Which it is. So there is always a little room to go to to warm up. This has also become the barn-cat room. they have one of those little flip doors so they can get in and out of there. So there may be 9 cats in there with you if you are in there warming up. Good to know, if you have cat allergies.