they can hinder your ability to ride.
Don’t forget to protect your extremities. Try a thin fleece headband under your
helmet to keep your ears warm and protected from the blustery air. Get some
good winter riding gloves and socks to keep fingers and toes toasty.
If you’re going out on the trails, try to start your ride going into the wind, so
you and your horse are working the hardest when you’re both fresh and not
When it comes to riding and chores, be smart. If you’re going to ride outside,
take a little longer to warm up inside, and take the time to stretch and cool down
properly afterward to avoid injury.
And don’t ignore the weather reports. Once temperatures drop below freez-
ing, frostbite can be a factor on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes, especially
when wind chill levels dip below zero.
If it’s raining, stay inside. Exercising in cold, rainy weather can increase your
risk of hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature).
MEGAN ARSZMAN is a freelance writer based in Indiana, where she’s learning to balance
motherhood with horses, dogs and writing.
dressed too warmly to ride. You want
to start out feeling cool, because
you’ll warm up once you get moving.
Also, do your warmup, stretching
and cooldown inside to reduce your
exposure to the cold.
For English riders, wear winter
tights or breeches made to keep you
warm, such as those with a fleece lining. Western riders can get away with
wearing layers (such as silk tights
or compression tights) under jeans.
Beware of coats that are too bulky, as
If it’s dark when you’re riding outside,
wear reflective clothing. During the day,
be sure to wear sunscreen on your face
and lip balm with SPF. Sunglasses can
help protect your eyes from the glare
coming off the snow on sunny days.
Layering for winter chores and riding
is an art. A good rule of thumb is to dress
like it’s 15 to 20 degrees warmer outside
than it actually is; this way there is room
for your body temperature to increase
and stay comfortable in your clothing
Here’s how to layer:
This should be a snug, breathable shirt
made of a synthetic fabric or silk that can
wick sweat away from the skin. (Avoid
cotton, as this fiber holds onto moisture
and quickly loses warming power.)
This should be a fleece or wool shirt that
can provide insulation. Add breathable
gloves and something to protect your
Look for wind- and water-resistant jackets
to wear when the temperatures are below
freezing. For temperatures near zero, add
a fourth layer under the outer layer and a
ski mask to protect your face.