Quick tips for riders - Winter favorites for horseback riding
Welcome to a relevant-to-your-life edition of #fashionfriday!
Occasionally, I will review products that you rave about, I'm obsessed with, or that I believe in. So read on because today I am reviewing some products to keep you warm this winter while riding your horse! Be sure to follow and tag me on Instagram! @_integratedequine_ #fashionfriday
Baby it's cold outside but I still want to ride! So, start by humming the tune of ‘Let it snow’: well the weather outside is frightful but my style is so delightful. The barn is the place to go, in the snow in the snow in the snow. (you have amazing pitch BTW)
When it comes to winter clothing tips we’ve heard it all before, “Layer up! Wear a hat! Goose-down is best!” But what do we look like when we apply those rules? And even worse…how can we ride looking and feeling like a marshmallow? #horsegirlproblems
Here are some of my tips for staying somewhat warm, stylish and motivated this winter to go out and ride. For example, this past week I've been out with my horses in NEGATIVE TEMPERATURES. Like below 0. Winter is an actual season in Northern states. And nobody likes a fair weather cowgirl(or boy) so let’s get to it!
To avoid feeling constricted in your movement walking through snow or riding your horse, opt for comfort over anything else. I speak from many years of trial and error. I’ve tried riding in my carhart canvas overalls and that just don’t cut it. I’ve tried riding in sorrel snow boots and that doesn’t fly either. I’ve tried layering multiple layers of thermal, under armor, long sleeves and it is a mess . Plain and simple you have GOT to be comfortable to function. For me comfort is: ease of movement and warmth.
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Core Comfort: I start with a base layer like #1 in the picture. If you can find a fleece or wool blend that is best, otherwise just regular tank top that will hug your skin around your core will do. Next, invest in some type long sleeve base layer to go over the tank. Unfortunately the boxed packages of Hot Chilly’s do not work for me… don’t ask just trust me that I’ve literally tried 7 different brands. Go with something like #2 in the picture. Fleece lined, wool blend or technology fabric is best. Don’t get a straight synthetic material or plain cotton. Again – we are talking comfort and warmth here. Last you need to find a good quality dual coat. This can be something similar to picture #3. Goose down (or some combo with down) inner layer coat topped with a water/wind proof barrier shell with a hood. So there you go, technically only 3 layers and a outer shell if you do it right! I’m cold blooded like a lizard so I hope you will take my inner California sissy advice on this. A tank, a long sleeve blend, down coat and outer jacket will do you good! Freedom of movement is a wonderful thing in the winter!
Leg Locomotion: Yes. You can ride in snow pants. Yes. You can ride in overalls. Yes. You can wear lined jeans. BUT have you ever tried to chase after a horse in 2 foot deep snow in your marshmallow state cussing and sweating? What I’ve discovered works best for keeping your legs moving without much restriction while being warm is something I’m proud of. Before you put on your pants but after you put on your underpants you will need these pants in box #4. Thermal underwear or leggings work best because they are relatively thin but tight against your skin. Both thermal andyoga-type leggings will be flexible as you go merrily along. Don’t bother with tights, don’t bother with fleece or knitted leggings, and don’t go bare legged either! Next find something like #5. This fleece lined jodhpurs are amazing y’all. I’ve also worn leggings under jeans –which works fine. But there are NO restrictions in English pants – hands down they are amazing. Lastly you can add some leather chaps or chinks like in pic #6. If you aren’t used to being seen in english tights (I'm so fancy!) - the chaps are something to offer your western style back. The reasons I love wearing chaps over English peter pan pants in the winter is because: there’s nothing warmer, stickier in the saddle, or more comfortable.
Outer extremities: Indeed one of the most important elements to really lock in your precious body heat is protecting your head, hands and feet. I’ve searched and suffered high and low for a pair of riding boots that were appropriate for winter. (No – like really actually suffered frost bite…so take my word.) Riding in Sorrels isn't safe, neither are Ugg boots or anything extra chunky or clunky. Leather treated boots just don’t do the job for me either. Behold #7. They are sleek, flexible, rubber, neoprene, suede, Thinsulated, stylish, and warm glory. These won't get wet. ( And if you don’t get wet, you won’t get cold, and if you don’t get cold you won’t beat your horse, and if you don’t beat your horse you won’t end up on BarnMice.com Don’t get caught being bashed on barnmice.com, keep your feet dry.) These boots will do the trick and they aren’t that expensive across the board of other winter boots. For your hands #8 glove categoryis actually the only category I haven’t found a holy grail product in. I am in SEARCH of relatively thin, water proof, durable gloves….(crickets chirping). And lastly is something I won’t leave the house without. My vast collection of warm, knitted head bands like #9 keeps my ears and head safe from the wind. For the most part I won’t wear a hat because my pony tail likes to fly free, but my ears get exceptionally cold so a head warmer or head band usually does the trick.
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‘Extraccesories’: A word for someone high maintenance like me. You guys might be different but I know my purse, truck and winter stash is filled with an assortment of extra accessories #1-#6. I must protect my lips from the dry air, I could not survive without some form of lip balm. #1 is my favorite because they are moisturizing, pretty and cheap. #2seems a bit silly to have ear buds listed but when the freezing wind is yelling about how much it hates your existence, it helps to drown out the sorrow with a little dubstep. Socks are kind of important for trudging across the icy tundra. Mid weight socks like #3 are a good answer for pairing with the Ariat boots listed above. Something too thick inhibits your toes from wiggling, and something too thin won’t keep the cold air away from your precious tootsies. Good socks and boots are truly worth spending the money on. Next is a water bottle. It isn’t a popular winter wear choice, but #4 is completely 100% necessary accessory. In the winter we tend to drink less because it is cold out – I would highly encourage you to not be among the 90% of dehydrated Americans. Water = Life. Same for your horse. Moving on to another high maintenance item is #5. Some type of sun protection is important if you are hanging around UV reflecting snow all day. I like to wear ski goggles not only to look like a stunner, but to keep my big eye balls from tearing up,mascara from running and freezing on my cheeks. Wind burn is a real thing people. To round out our winter wear adventure is #6. A must. In bulk. Nuff said. Shove em’ wear it hurts, there are plenty of brands and options to keep you a little bit toastier for hours. *tip: you can warm your horse's bit with these in a jiff!*
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I am passionate about this subject because I’m passionate about horses as my career. Every day you skip having your butt in the saddle is a day you won’t ride as well. Sub zero temperatures aren’t exactly appropriate to exercise in but maintaining care and contact with my equine partners is very important. So from feeding in a blizzard - to riding in the fresh powder I hope you will take these suggestions and be comfortable, warm and tough!
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