This post by guest contributor Dover Saddlery www.DoverSaddlery.com
Fall is here and winter is fast approaching, which means cold weather riding in many parts of the country. Many riders and horses actually prefer riding in cold weather. With the right cold weather riding equipment and winter riding apparel, you and your horse can enjoy winter riding.
Here are a few tips when choosing winter riding apparel:
- Layering. Layering is the key to maintaining a comfortable body temperature while riding. If you dress too warm, your body will perspire, which leads to chills. Layering riding apparel lets you add or remove clothing easily as your body temperature changes. Choose an underlayer designed to wick away moisture from perspiration and avoid tight fitting clothing
- Helmet Covers. The #1 source of body heat loss is the head. Riding helmets will keep some heat from escaping, but a fleece helmet cover significantly improves your body’s heat retention.
- Riding Boots. Wear insulated winter riding boots like the Mountain Horse Nordic Light High Rider or the Active Winter Rider. The Nordic Light is a classic field boot with a waterproof lining and faux fur so your legs and feet stay dry and warm. Look for boots with space for warm air to circulate inside the boot. Your foot will feel colder if the boots fit too snugly and your toes touch the end of the boot, so select boots that give your toes room to wiggle. And remember, winter riding boots are wider than regular tall boots, so check your stirrup irons to ensure your boot doesn’t fit too tightly.
- Breeches/Riding Pants. A good pair of winter breeches or riding pants keeps you warm without sacrificing flexibility and moveability. The Polar Breech from Mountain Horse is the ultimate winter riding pant – waterproof, windproof, and breathable, with a warm fiberfill insulation. Because of their warmth, they’re a great pair of pants for long hours in the stable.
- Jackets. With a pillow-quilted insulated lining, double back vents, and a detachable hood, the Mountain Rider Jacket is ideal for winter horseback riding. Choose an outer garment that is insulated and moisture-resistant – you never know when a snow flurry will catch you far from the stable. Try on several winter riding coats to find one that keeps you covered in the saddle without cramping freedom of movement.
- Riding Gloves. Give your riding gloves added warmth-retention with a pair of silk riding glove liners. Silk wicks moisture away from your skin, helping to prevent damp, chilled hands.
Remember, wherever your body comes into contact with the surface of a garment, you’re losing body heat to that garment. Layer your garments and choose loose-fitting riding apparel that breathes. Always check weather reports and consider wind chill before riding in winter. Remember the sunscreen, too: UV rays can damage your skin and eyes, even in cold weather.
Guest post contributed by Dover Saddlery. Dover Saddlery is a leading retailer of tack, horse care supplies, and equestrian apparel for English riders.