Tips for Winter Weather Riding: Part I
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing.” This old Scandinavian proverb is spot-on for winter riding. Sub-freezing temperatures may make you reluctant to get out and ride, but they shouldn’t keep you inside all winter! The fresh air and extra Vitamin D from the sun will do both you and your horse good as long as you are prepared. The Cheshire Horse has everything you’ll need to ride in comfort throughout these frigid months. See Part II of this series here.
Have you heard the phrase, “Cotton is rotten”? For winter activities, avoid cotton apparel — especially for any garment that comes in contact with your skin. Cotton is highly absorbent, which means that it will collect sweat and keep it with you. Sweating is the primary way in which the human body cools itself, so lingering sweat is the last thing you want during a chilly winter ride! Instead, choose sweat-wicking technical fabrics like those found in the Bit of Horse Zip Neck by Kerrits (pictured), the Circuit Half Zip Fleece by Kerrits, and the Energy Tech Top by Mountain Horse. Also, the Energy Tech Pants by Mountain Horse are made with quick-dry material, and they are lined with a cozy soft-brushed technical material.
A jacket well suited for riding will be shorter in length, and/or it will feature riding vents at the back in order to allow a full range of movement while you’re in the saddle. Zippered pockets will allow you safely store small essentials or horse treats while riding. The Brianna Riding Jacket from Horseware (pictured) is practical, yet fashionable, and shower-proof. 2-way zipper can be zipped up or down as you heat up or cool down. Elegant and practical jackets from Pikeur are waterproof, windproof, and breathable, with zip pockets. The Capitol Down Coat from Ariat provides cozy down insulation from top to bottom — perfect for teaching from the ground and spectating at winter horse shows.
If just the thought of wearing regular breeches on a winter ride makes you start shivering, we understand! A variety of winter breeches are available to keep your legs warmed up and effective during chilly schooling sessions. Wind Pro 3-Season Breeches from Irideon are rain, snow, wind, and mud resistant, and they feature a fleecy warm Polartec interior. For extreme protection from the cold, consider the Polar Breech by Mountain Horse (pictured). This breathable, windproof, and waterproof pant is fully seam sealed with a warm 120g of 100% fiberfill. Full length waterproof zippers at side seams allow layering. Reinforced imitation leather full-seat with snow gaiters in the lower leg.
Your regular boots may work just fine throughout the winter, but to really keep your toes toasty, consider investing in a pair of winter riding boots. The Rimfrost line from Mountain Horse features a built-in waterproof and breathable “sock” to keep your feet dry and comfortable and a heat insulating Thermolite-lining. The fashionable Active Winter Rider Boot also from Mountain Horse (pictured) has been tested to withstand one million flexes in 14° weather! The Brossard line from Ariat features waterproof materials with 200 grams of Thinsulate and a moisture-wicking lining. The Bromont line also from Ariat provides elegant low-bulk warmth suitable for showing, paired with insulated performance.
Be Seen! No, this isn’t about making a statement (although it could be!), but safety. Often during the winter, leisure time in the daylight hours diminishes. We are past the winter solstice, which marked the shortest day of the year, so luckily the days are slowly growing longer. The LED Reflective Vest from Horze can easily be worn over your outerwear, and it features both reflective strips and LED lights. Even if you ride inside, items such as gloves and/or a helmet with reflective piping can help you be seen while walking outside while en route to your riding ring, to turn your horse out, and more. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
See Part II of this series here.