It’s winter again here in Wisconsin and knowing how to stay warm is an essential part of being a horse person. Winter wear for people is an often overlooked topic. Some people who are not used to working outside in these temperatures struggle with what to wear during winter so we decided to put together this guide. Hopefully it can help make those bitter cold days a little more bearable for you this year!
Thermal underwear- A couple sets of thermal underwear are a must have on any equestrian’s winter list. They typically aren’t that bulky but can add a lot of warmth. Thermal underwear can be worn under jeans or riding pants easily. Check out Amazon for a ton of different options. We even found some for our 15 month old to wear!
Fleece breeches- There are several different brands that make fleece breeches for cold weather riding. They fit like regular breeches but are quite a bit warmer. On colder days throw a pair of thermals underneath and you’re good to go!
Layers- Removable layers are a necessity at the barn in the winter. You want to be able to easily remove layers as you warm and add them as it gets colder.
Wool Socks- Wool socks are a must have to prevent cold feet. These keep your feet warm while also wicking away moisture.
Gloves- Look for something warm, yet not too bulky
Winter Boots- Let’s face it, regular riding boots just aren’t going to cut it during the colder months even with warm socks. There are several brands that make winter riding boots that are insulated. If you are on a budget, regular winter boots are fine as well as long as they have a minimum of a 1/2″ heel to prevent them from getting stuck in the stirrup iron. Make sure that the boot is large enough for your foot to move around comfortably even with thick socks on. Boots should be water proof and come up at least mid calf for those days when you have to trek through a foot of snow or sloppy mud to get your horse.
Snow Pants- On those really cold days even fleece riding pants won’t do the job. That’s wear these wonderful equestrian snow pants from Mountain Horse come in. The inner leg is lined to help keep your horse in place and they are so very warm! They are pricey but I’ve had mine for over ten years and they are still going strong! I wear them nearly daily from December to March. You can find them HERE
On a budget or have young kids that will out grow them by next year? Regular snow pants are just fine as well. They just don’t have the added perk of the lined leg and they may not hold up as long.
Heated vest/jacket- My early Christmas present from my amazing wife was a Milwaukee heated vest. This vest has heating elements inside of it that are powered by a small battery that fits in a special pocket in the vest. Bonus is that the batteries are the same size as the ones for their regular hand held power tools so if you use Milwaukee tools you probably already have a few extra batteries. I’ve been using the vest for a few weeks now and love it. It has three different power settings and gives off quite a bit of heat. It seems to last about 3 hours on high power- plenty of time to get a good ride in. I haven’t had it long so I can’t say much about it’s durability but so far it’s right up there with the riding snow pants on the list of my favorite winter items. They do also have full jackets and gloves. The jacket looks really nice. Without having tried the jacket one benefit to the vest is that if you have a coat on over it but need a bit more flexibility, say to pick out hooves, the vest minimizes the restriction of your arms as you move around. This means you won’t end up like Ralpie’s brother from A Christmas Story. The gloves look a bit too bulky for riding.You can find the vest HERE
Hand/Toe Warmers- Hands and feet still cold even with all the layers? Throw a couple hand warmers in your pockets and some toe warmers in your boots. Toe warmers are made thin so they stick right onto the bottom of your foot. These little packets give off quite a bit of heat and last for several hours. You can get a big box of them off Amazon.
Helmet Cover- Keeping ears warm can be a challenge when wearing a helmet. Ski masks generally fit underneath or you can get one of these nifty covers to go over your helmet. I found these ones on Etsy.
We hope these tips help keep you warm this winter! If you have other things that help you make it through the winter share them with us in the comments!
To learn more about how to achieve a better relationship with your horse, visit our website or blog, where we feature information about French Classical Dressage training, as well as care and maintenance of the horse!