How to Keep Warm at the Yard this Winter
Cold temperatures have been a rarity of late in many areas of the country but freezing weather could strike anywhere and at any time. It is crucial to keep your horse warm in the winter months but it is equally important that you look after yourself!
The effects of the cold can creep up on you unawares, impairing your performance and making you feel unwell in no time. Not to mention the fact that being cold and damp will kill your enthusiasm for riding. So, be prepared and dress appropriately and then life won’t feel nearly so miserable!
Base Layers for Equestrians
It is always advisable to dress in layers as you will remain warm whilst benefitting from greater flexibility. Your base layer is particularly crucial as it is the layer closest to your skin. Choose thermal base layers which are insulating yet breathable. Natural fibres tend to remain damp once wet so look for technical fabrics which wick moisture away from your body.
It can be difficult to strike the right balance when dressing in layers. You need to keep warm but you have to be careful not to create outfits which are so bulky that they restrict your movement. It’s hard to ride when you are doing a good impression of the Michelin Man! For your insulating layer or layers, choose lightweight polar fleeces which keep you warm without building excessive bulk. Wear thermal tights under your breeches to keep your legs warm and don’t forget your feet!
Your extremities can suffer the most in the cold so invest in thermal socks or boot liners to keep your toes suitably toasty. If thicker socks are cramping your feet it can be worth investing in winter boots which are half a size larger than your usual pair so that you can accommodate the socks that you need.
Outer Layers for Riding
There is nothing more miserable than being both cold and wet. You won’t dry quickly in the cold so it is vital to invest in waterproof clothing. A good quality waterproof jacket is a must when you are battling the elements and waterproof trousers will also help. Choose styles which are designed for horse riding and which include the features that you need to remain dry and comfortable in the saddle.
Gloves and Hats for the Stables
Your hands are one of the most exposed and vulnerable areas of your body. Your fingers will start to feel the cold quickly so thermal riding gloves are quite simply must-haves. Choose a good pair of gloves for working at the stable too. Fingerless gloves are also a wise investment and will help you to perform fiddly tasks. Always take a woolly or thermal hat with you for when for when you are out of the saddle. You will lose a huge amount of heat through your head if you forget to wear a hat.
In the Car
Don’t set off for the stables without spare clothing in your car in case you do get wet or you require an additional layer to keep warm. Make yourself a flask of tea or coffee and pack a blanket to help you warm up in extreme conditions. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Have you got any tips for keeping warm down the yard in winter?