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Winter riding

From: Lucy

Dear Jessica! HORSE-SENSE is the best horse information on the whole Internet, thank you for doing all this for us. This isn't just my opinion, my trainer thinks so too and so does my Dad who is another good horse expert!

My question is about winter riding. My Dad likes real cold weather so he isn't much of a help. I get so cold my teeth chatter and I start to shake. Then riding isn't much fun. But if I put all my warm clothes on, I almost can't get on and off my horse. Did you ever see a movie called "Christmas Story" with a little boy who has to wear all his warm clothes and can't get his arms down? I'm not exactly that bad, but nearly. I usually wear a Carheart (sp?) coat and two sweaters and a shirt, but I still get cold, and my legs freeze. Well, not really freeze but they feel like it. Do you have any good suggestions for me so I can ride and be warm?

Thank you again!!!!!

Lucy


Hi Lucy, thanks for the kind words. ;-) You didn't mention where you live, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. For cold riders, there's one magic word: polarfleece! It's light, it's flexible, it stays warm even when it's wet, and it's very easy to find these days.

Jeans and ordinary riding breeches won't help you when the weather gets really cold. Save those for more congenial seasons, and start collecting items that keep you really warm -- without bulk. If your warm clothes are REALLY warm, you'll be able to wear them AND ride AND put your arms down. (Yes, I saw that movie.)

So, stay warm at both ends (fleece socks and a hat, either under or over your safety helmet). Stay warm in the middle: fleece breeches or fleece-lined jeans, and a shirt or two, and gloves... maybe even a neck-warmer. Over all that, wear something that blocks the wind. An oilskin or waxed-cotton duster is ideal.]

There are breeches that are wind-proof AND fleece-lined -- and all sorts of jackets and vests. The little hand-warmer packets that hunters use are also helpful, but they're not always convenient, and they can get expensive if you use them every day all winter long.

Think about your horse, too -- if it's THAT cold, be careful not to get your horse sweaty, and consider using a bitless bridle. Horses do nicely when they exercise themselves, so on the worst days, just don't ride! Check on your horses in their pasture, throw them some extra hay, and go home and read a horse book instead. ;-)

Jessica

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