What To Wear For Winter Riding

Now that we are in the full swing of winter I get a lot of students who do not come properly dressed for their lesson and end up being very uncomfortable.  We can’t learn well if we aren’t comfortable.  So I want to give my insight into being comfortable while riding.  Here is just a walk-through of my favorite products that I have come to love over many years of being outside in all types of weather.

The biggest mistake I see people making is that they wear one outer layer.  When in fact they need to be wearing layers of clothing. The reason is that when you are in the barn and when you first get on you will be cold but as you ride you start to work and you warm up! So layering allows you to stay comfortable no matter what stage of the ride you are in.

My way of layering on top is

  1. Base layer
  2. Vest
  3. Scarf
  4. Jacket

and on bottom is

  1. Base layer
  2. Tall socks
  3. Riding pants
  4. Insulated boots
  5. Carhartt lined overalls/snow pants (optional)

Protip: Layering with zippers.  I see a lot of people wear hoodies and when they get hot they can’t get them off without taking off their helmets which I don’t like for anyone to do while on a horse.  So having layers that have zippers makes it easy to take layers off when you get hot and have  your helmet on.

What type of layers?

I start with a merino wool blend base layer – I like to have something with a collar so I go for a mock zip. Paradox mock zip

Next is the vest, it keeps your core warm and also gives you a place to keep small belongings like keys or a phone.  I have two options:

  1. Light weight vest for warmer days- I have one that has my logo on it that I love. 

          2. A puffy vest. It really keep you warm without a lot of weight or bulk.

A scarf – something that will be warm but not too bulky or frilly that might get in the way.

Gloves- get some that do not have a lot of bulk. Otherwise you won’t be able to do the approximately 1,593,092 buckles, snaps, and other small latches required to get your horse ready to ride and you won’t be able to have a good feel on the reins. I ride in the Extreme Hybrid Glove by SSG all year and love it.  It feels like a second skin but doesn’t provide much warmth so I get some hand warmers to stick in side my gloves or in my pockets.

Protip – Hand warmers are a godsend!  I use the hot hand ones and they work great.  I know there are reusable ones out there but I have not tried them yet.  The hot hands will stay warm for up to 8 hours.  They do make a large body warmer, which is great, but not good for putting inside gloves. They make toe warmers too!

A heavy jacket – I have two that are my go to

    1.  Puffy jacket which follows the same logic as the puffy vest in which it keeps you warm without bulk
    2. Carhartt Sherpa lined jacked for more severe weather where an outer shell is needed

A ski mask if really cold (see above picture)

For the bottoms I do not have special winter riding pants although they do exist. Instead of buying specific winter riding pants I wear my regular riding pants year round and I layer a base layer and tall socks underneath for cold weather.

For the base layer I like the Paradox bottoms

The tall socks help keep the base layer in place while I am pulling on my breeches. I like the wool peddies socks by Noble outfitters.  They give enough cushion for my feet without adding bulk on my legs.

I finish off with insulated boots – which really make the difference. I got frostbite one year while teaching and the learned the hard way to get insulated boots!

It definitely takes me longer to get ready in the winter but when I am outside teaching for 8+ hours I know I will be comfortable.

If you won’t be riding then I highly recommend the Carhartt lined overalls and/or snow pants as well.  I have had my overalls for about 15 years and they still look great! Carhartt is a great brand for outdoor gear and even though it’s not practical to ride in I have ridden in them.  I recommend them for activates where you won’t be moving very much (like watching your loved ones lesson). As they do keep you very warm but can be heavy and restrictive.

Happy (warm) riding!

P.S – I am not sponsored by any of these companies. However, if you click on a picture it will take  you to amazon  and if you buy that product then I will get a small commission from that sale which helps run this site. Thanks!