It is snowing right now. I hate winter. I’ve thought about moving but other than the winter, I like it here. I used to really freeze but this year I swore would be different.
I’ve found that appropriate clothing is critical, especially when you are at the barn for more than 5 minutes. My outfit starts with thermal underwear, and not just any thermal underwear, good stuff. I found Duofold heavyweight long johns and shirts work great. I’m sure there are other brands too. Sometimes I double up my thermals. I’ll wear a piece of silk long johns under the Duofold. I have breeches that are too big normally but are perfect for putting multiple layers on underneath. If I’m still cold with two pairs of long johns, I don’t want to be riding.
On top I wear multiple layers. Usually a thermal top, a long-sleeve tee-shirt, a light polar fleece top and then a heavier polar fleece top. On top of that I put a short insulated riding jacket (mine is Kerrits), with the plan of taking the top layer off either before I even get on or after warming up. If it’s really cold, I throw a noninsulated coat over the jacket, taking it off before mounting.
I love those headbands that cover your ears. I often leave it on when I ride. It fits well under my helmet. I couldn’t do that with a hat. On my feet I have insulated paddock boots. I have the Ariat winter lined paddock boots. They are not the warmest but they fit into my stirrups like my regular boots, so I don’t feel different winter vs. summer, and I’m not afraid that my feet will get stuck in the stirrups if anything happens.
I have multiple pairs of gloves. I have one pair that I picked up in Walmart. They have the fingers cut off and then a mitten top you can put over your fingers. I use these only to groom because while they are nice and warm, they are not grippy. I have a pair of SSG winter gloves that are only insulated on top. Although they are only marginally warmer than my summer gloves, they don’t interfere with holding the reins.
Lastly, I couldn’t live without those chemical hand warmers. I haven’t tried the feet warmers yet but I’m tempted. I sometimes take the hand warmers and put them in the ankles of my boots, which works well. Normally I either put them in the pockets of my breeches or stuff them in the top of my gloves while I ride.
The horse seems to be dealing well with the cold even though he grew up in California. I have a quartersheet I put on him, but usually end up taking it off before we start trot work. He’s blanketed but I found that I need to have one less layer on him than I think or else he gets sweaty. I worry about him way more than I need to. He seems to be doing fine with his first winter in the Northeast.
Here’s to only 72 days until Spring!