Tuesday 30 January 2018

Winter Riding Attire

This winter feels colder than previous winter's have on the Canadian prairies. Maybe it's because I'm getting older. But I think it's because the arena that I'm riding in isn't heated as well as the other's have been. So I've had to change up my riding attire this winter.

What am I wearing while riding?

On the top:
  • A long sleeved quarter zip base layer, usually merino wool blend. I get a new one or two from Costco every year for about $20 so I have a bunch of them.
  • The Kerrits EQ Moto Quilted Jacket - I was trying to find a lightweight, fitted jacket, that wasn't softshell (doesn't breathe), for about $50 in local stores. And I couldn't. So I succumbed to the netequestrian.com sale and ordered this jacket. I really like it - as in I want it for non-riding activities. When riding it adds just a bit more warmth, which is all that I need.
  • My helmet (of course) with my ear warmers installed. I might have to take them out if I need to listen to people as they definitely muffle the sound.
  • A fleece neck warmer of some style from the dollar store. I have 3 different ones that I have in my riding bag that I alternate between as I can't stand to use one that's damp from my breath. My jawline gets cold easily so I pull it up when taking a walk break, but it usually falls down when I get going again.
  • Gloves - usually just my regular SSG Digitals. I have child-sized hands, so bulky gloves mean I can't hang onto the reins at all. I'm looking for winter gloves that I like, but haven't found them yet. Plus I'm cheap, and don't want to spend too much money on something I will likely lose really fast. My hands are generally warm enough in the Digital's for one horse, but are a bit sweaty for the second horse, thus colder.
On the bottom half:
  • Long johns of some sort. I have about 4 pairs that I wear, of different materials, and don't find one pair to be any warmer than another.
  • Breeches - it depends. If warmth is the priority, then I'll wear my Kerrits Windpro Bootcut breeches that I also picked up from netequestrian.com. If keeping my butt stuck to the saddle is my biggest concern, then it's just a pair of my regular full-seats. The Kerrits are warmer but slippery (mine are the knee patch version because they were the ones on sale).
  • Full chaps. I pulled my old chaps out of retirement for use in the winter. Unfortunately, they shrank while stored for 10 years. I hate when that happens. So Pony Grandma worked her magic and added an elastic strip down the sides to make the legs wider. And I cut up an old belt to make the strap across the back wider. They are a bit bodged together, and not the most fashionable item, but they keep me warm, and didn't really cost anything.
  • My regular Ariat paddock boots. I wear big warm boots in the barn, so only switch into the paddock boots for riding. My feet stay warm.
  • I might wear tights underneath everything else on a really cold day. 
  • I usually just wear regular socks. When the temperature plummets, I'll put on socks made of either merino wool or angora. The angora ones are super warm.
In the barn/outside:
  • Arctic Sport Muck Boots. I love these boots. I think the only time my feet have been cold in them was when I had to stand on cold cement for a couple hours for vet stuff. Only one pair of socks required in these boots.
    Mine are this colour.
  • My barn jacket is a hip length jacket from Greenhawk that I've had for a few years. It could use a few repairs but keeps me warm enough.
  • A toque with ear flaps. Or for the non-Canadians - a knitted cap with ear flaps.
  • Gloves - either cheap dollar store ones or inexpensive pebbled palm knit gloves from the tack shop. For the extreme cold I break out ski gloves that I got at Costco ages ago, but they are only good for bringing horses in. Too bulky to do anything else with.
  • On days like farrier days when I'm going to be standing around I usually throw on a pair of sweat pants over the long johns. Warmth is my priority.
My attire is pretty consistent. The trick is trying to stay warm without sweating, which keeps you chilled afterwards. If I know that I'm going to be out for a while after riding (like a clinic or something) then I would take a change of clothes for the top half - changing into a dry shirt and sports bra makes a big difference in being able to ward off the chill.

These keep me relatively comfortable to maybe -10 celsius (14 F). I'd have to tweak the gloves and socks for riding up to -15 (5F), and chances are that any colder than that I'm staying warm on the couch.


  1. i have a winter uniform too, basically, tho my mountain horse river boots that have been standard bearers since 2014 are biting the dust. i'm so sad :(

    1. It sucks when your preferred equipment dies because you can never find the same thing again. They've always made some change to it.

  2. Have you used silk undergarments? my mom swears by them lol

    1. I've looked into them. It seems merino gets the better reviews and recommendations. If I found a set of silk long johns that aren't overly expensive I would try them.