Winter has arrived here in WI. My horses are fluffy with their winter hair, there is snow on the ground, and a chill in the air.
Some riders pack up their riding tack, and turn their horses out for the winter.
Others get gritty. They have big horse dreams, and they know if they want to achieve them, they need to at a minimum keep their horse legged up over the winter.
Yet the second most common reason I hear from riders as to why they don't go out and work with their horse over the winter is that they get too cold. And much of the time this is because they do not have the right gear! After all, there is no such thing as bad weather, just improper clothing!
To help you be prepared for riding in cold, snowy weather, I've put together this list of the products I use to stay warm while riding in the winter in Wisconsin. As an Amazon Associate, these are affiliate links and I do earn from qualifying purchases.
For your Feet
A good pair of boots that are warm yet can fit into a stirrup and have a heel are hard to find. My husband bought me a pair of Kenetrek Cowgirl Insulated Pac boots a few years ago, and they quickly have become my favorite winter riding boots!
Also necessary is a boot dryer. Having a dry pair of boots everyday keeps your feet warmer! I really like this PEET boot dryer because it also has the gloves attachment.
And of course, good socks! I borrowed a pair of Minus 33 wool socks from my husband. They are warm without being bulky.
for your head
A good hat to keep your head warm is key!
I really like my TrailHeads hat. It has a ponytail hole in the back, the traditional baseball hat brim, and fleece fold down ear flaps. On super cold days, I put a beanie on over top of it.
I bought my husband a Stormy Kromer Trapper hat last year. He wears it all the time in the winter, and says it is really warm.
It can be hard to keep your ears warm when wearing a helmet, and trying to wear a winter hat under a riding helmet isn't safe as it affects the proper fit. I bought this helmet cover years ago, it stretches over the helmet, with fleece ear flaps that velcro under your chin.
For Your Hands
Honestly, I still haven't found the perfect winter riding glove that is warm and allows precise finger movement for handling reins. These are what I use. On cold days I keep a packet of hot hands in my pocket to warm up my fingers.
I love my Hot Chilis base layers!
For Your Horse
Sometimes our horses get sweaty during winter rides.
Having a cooler on hand to make sure your horse is completely dry before you turn them out so they don't catch a chill is necessary.
On really cold and windy days I'll use a quarter sheet to keep my horse warmer while we ride.
Coat Defense Powder also works to help absorb moisture and dry your horse quicker if your horse gets sweaty.
What are some of your favorite cold weather must have items? I'd love to hear from you-please share in the comments!
P.S. For those of you who are curious, the most common reason for not getting out and riding in the winter is a lack of motivation. It is hard to psych yourself up to going out and working with your horse when the weather is crummy! If you want some motivation, inspiration, and accountability to keep riding over the winter, then my get gritty winter horsemanship challenge is for you!
Self-care has been a buzzword for awhile. If you've been introduced to this concept, you've probably also heard about taking time to do activities that "refill your cup."
“Oh Chevy, you don’t understand. Your husband is a horseman. He gets the horse thing, and supports your riding.”
This comment from a client recently had my head spinning.
Mostly because she was right. I do have trouble relating to partners that don’t “get” the horse thing.
My husband rides, and he is pretty punchy. He likes his horses hot, and he likes to ride fast. Confidence is not an issue for him! He understands the amount of time, blood, sweat, tears, and $$ it takes to make a good, safe horse. While he doesn’t show, he understands it and gets that it is important to me.