Winter Riding. Clothes.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 08:57 PM
I have been riding outside through the winters for 7 years. During all this time I didn't have any accidents in regard of winter hazards such as fall on slippery footing, lameness or catching a cold either me or my horse. Through trials and errors I have found what works and what doesn't in regards of clothes and type of work. Today I will talk about clothes.
  • To wear a helmet and keep your head and ears warm wear a hood type hat under. Make sure the helmet fits well when you have a hat. The hat should fit snugly this way you will not get wrinkles and pressure points under the helmet. If you do not wear a helmet in winter, make sure your hat has ears and fits you well not tight and not loose.
  • Use layers when dressing to ride outside. Make sure outer layers are not tight otherwise they lose their purpose. Turtlenecks are wonderful in winter. If you leave your throat open you will lose a lot of body heat and probably catch a cold. Scarfs do not work well, they are bulky and do not stay in place during trot and canter work.
  • Do not buy the winter riding pants that have nylon lining. They are so slippery on inside you will not be able to keep your balance and stay connected to the saddle. Your pants will stay in place because they have nice full seat in faux suede but your own body will slide all over inside the pants. Use long underwear and bigger size regular riding breeches or fleece riding breeches and buy good warm socks.
  • You do not need to invest in an expensive riding winter jacked. Children department has wonderful winter jackets for girls and boys that are stylish, not expensive and you will be surprised with the sizes they have there. Make sure you get the one with the hood. My son grew out of his snowboard style winter jacked that fits me just right and I love it's color, lightness, warmth and washability.
  • The best gloves in regard of keeping hands warm, allowing to work reins and being inexpensive are "Hot Paws" fleece gloves that you can buy in WalMart for $6 in men's clothes department. They are very warm and so soft I worked my horse in double bridle using these gloves.
  • I found that "Mountain Horse" winter boots either tall or paddock are very warm. I ride my horses until temperature hits -15C (+3F) and my feet stay warm in them. Some people like to use toe warmers but I'm not a big fan of those. I'm sure there are other very good winter riding boots. Find the best you can afford and warmest. Sometimes you can find very good winter boots in a department store, just make sure they are warm, have appropriate heel and tall enough to support your ankle.
  • If you wear paddock boots it is a good idea to wear half-chaps, wash n' wear chaps are inexpensive, easy to put over bigger winter boots and easy to clean. Chaps provide extra warmth to your calfs.
  • No matter how warm you have dressed for winter riding do not go for a long walk ride. You will freeze. Trust me on that. Intersperse your walks with trot and canter to stay warm.
Next time I will talk about weather and footing.
Happy riding...
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