Winter Wear for Horse People

Stay warm around the barn during the coldest months by adding these winter essentials to your horse-keeping wardrobe.

Stay Warm This Winter

If you want to stay active with your horses during the months of potentially inclement weather, begin by planning ahead. Do you ride inside or out? Are you responsible for outdoor chores? Do you trail ride? What you do with your horse determines the types of clothing you'll need.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Plan for the Weather in Your Region

What’s the expected winter weather for you in your area? If it’s primarily wet and rainy, and trail riding is your thing, do you own a good rain slicker that fits over your coat and saddle? Water-shedding Australian-style raincoats and hats are a great option for staying dry while riding in these conditions.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Dress in Layers!

In very cold weather, layering is a tried-and-true way to maximize outdoor comfort. This simple concept allows for quick adjustments based on your activity level and rapid weather changes.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Shell or Outer Layer

A shell, or outer layer, shields you from wind and rain. Select a shell roomy enough to fit easily over other layers without restricting your movement while riding or doing chores. If you're working in wet or snowy weather, look for waterproof fabrics.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Wear a Technical Fabric Base Layer

A base layer against your skin manages moisture. Choose a fabric that wicks away perspiration, keeping you dry and warm; avoid cotton fabrics, which hold moisture. Lightweight performance fabrics with flat seams will minimize chaffing during riding and barn chores. Look for varieties that are cut longer in the sleeves and body specifically to cover your arms and backside when riding.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Wear a Warm Insulating Layer Between Your Base and Outer Layers

Down fill is an exceptional insulator and is extremely lightweight. However, if down gets wet, it goes flat and can no longer insulate. Fleece is highly breathable, making it a great choice for riding. However, it's not good in wind, which is why it’s best used as an interior layer under a wind-resistant shell.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Keep Your Wrists Covered

Wrist-cuff thumbholes on your insulating or base layer keep shirt sleeves tucked into gloves for added warmth around wrists.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Lightweight Gloves

Lightweight runners’ gloves offer warmth with flexibility, which allows for gripping with your fingers and thumbs. They're also often touchscreen compatible. While these are excellent for riding or simple chores, they're neither waterproof nor sturdy enough for manual labor. Look for gloves with an extended cuff for extra protection.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Waterproof Gloves

In rain, snow, or very cold weather look for heavy-duty, waterproof gloves made of durable materials and lightweight insulation. Some even come with pockets to insert hand warmers. Check the hunting section of outdoor stores for other sturdy options.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

High-Tech Hats

Have a hat or hood available to keep your head and ears warm. Wool insulates even when wet and is an excellent choice. An additional fleece lining will offer your ears extra protection. Some caps even have LED lights built into them so that you can see (and be seen!) in the dark.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Ear Warmers

Ear warmers come in many fun varieties, some of which work well with a pony tail or under a riding helmet.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Insulated Boots for Chores and Riding

Consider investing in insulated, waterproof work boots for chores, as well as a pair of winter riding boots.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Keep Your Toes Warm

Stirrup protectors help shield toes from wind and rain for outdoor rides, keeping feet warmer longer. These are available for both English and Western stirrups. Under your boots, wear warm wool or wool-blend winter socks.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Spring's Around the Corner

Dressing appropriately for the elements and staying warm and dry can make winter horse chores and riding more bearable. It might not seem like it as you're cleaning paddocks in the snow, but spring is just a few months away!

Photo: Alayne Blickle

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