Winter Outfitting

As a kid/teen in Minnesota, we would gallop through the snowy hay fields and it was as glorious as it sounds

I live in Wisconsin. It’s cold here for a long, long time. Typically from late-October to late-April (or more realistically, early May) it is real chilly. These last two weeks have been positively Arctic. But, we go on. Because we wear all the clothes when we ride. All of them.

Here’s what a typical winter barn outfit looks like for me. Let’s say it’s about 20 degrees. You know, nice and balmy.

  • Base layer: Usually a sunshirt or my lightweight Noble Outfitters Mariah crew, plus a good supportive sport bra.
  • Mid layer: Either my Kastel Denmark Merino Wool 1/4 Zip or a random black sport 1/4 zip that I bought on Amazon like 3 years ago. It’s fleece lined but very thin so it’s warm without adding much bulk.
  • Vest: Noble Outfitters down insulated vest. It’s warm. Usually on sale. I think it’s pretty flattering. I think it is their older model of the “All Around Vest.”
  • Coat: I have an old down ski coat that has now been converted to my barn coat. Or depending on the coldness, I have an Outback oilskin barn coat that’s lined.
  • Breeches: Fleece lined ones. My favorites are my Kerrits Power Stretch tights but they’re knee patch ones. I’m hoping to find a deal on some full seat ones. Alternates are my Kerrits Winter Cargo full seats, or a SmartPak version (but the waistband is weirdly super tight compared to the rest of the fit, so I tend not to reach for those).
  • Socks: If it’s bitter cold, I’ll wear my Fits Ski Socks. Those suckers are warm. If it’s not too bad I’ll wear my Noble Outfitters Peddies.
  • Boots: If it’s not too cold, I wear my usual tall boots since they fit over thinner winter breeches and Peddies. If it’s really cold, I wear an old pair of Ariat winter paddock boots with horrendously worn and stretched out half chaps that fit over my thick breeches, thick socks, and bulky boots. Oh and the boots are brown, and the half chaps are black, so it’s a really cute look.
  • Gloves: A necessity! I prefer fleece lined leather gloves for riding, as I find them to be the most flexible without losing too much of my feel for the reins. Sometimes I’ll throw in warm mittens or barn gloves that are thicker and warmer for before/after riding.
  • Hat: I have a pink beanie with long tasseled strings hanging off it. On windy days I’ve been known to tie it under my chin like a child to keep the wind off my ears.
  • Scarf: I’ll wear a scarf or a fleece gator, but usually not while riding since I warm up pretty quickly from the activity.
  • Helmet cover: Yes, I have one of those dorky helmet covers that wraps your face and neck in fleece. It changed my life when I rode in it for the first time. Having a warm face and ears just makes a difference.
  • And then if it’s really REALLY cold, I’ll cover all of that in my Carhartt overalls. Luckily, the barn I’m at stays pretty warm for grooming and tacking, so I typically don’t use these unless I need to handwalk in the frigid arena or something. I don’t ride in them unless I’m walking around bareback or something.

Here’s a photo of me rocking many of the items on this list:

You do what you gotta do. Fashion sense be damned.

What’s winter riding like for you? How do you dress for the cold?

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6 thoughts on “Winter Outfitting

  1. I have to admit that I depart for Florida after Christmas so I miss the worst of the cold weather. But when I used to stay in Canada I did the layering as well. I have a great set of long underwear from LLBean that is thin and warm bottoms and tops, for gloves thinsulate lined are a necessity and I used to have pair of Mountain Horse boots but they were like riding with stove pipes on my legs. Now, even in November , I wear a normal pair of boot socks and over top put on alpaca wool socks and LL Bean super insulated boots and just before getting on take of the alpaca socks and put on my tall boots. I have a Mountain Horse down jacket and would you believe it …..I was wearing that for my warm up here in Florida last week! I know several people at the barn at home who have the helmet cover. that protects ears and neck. Such a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am also all about the beat up too-big insulated paddocks and half chaps for ~20 degrees too. Nobody looks cute this time of year, so I can easily ignore how funny the chaps look with full seat fleece breeches (that I sometimes put over a pair of leggings, too).

    I also LOVE these, super thin and warm and they’re cheap (amazon and Costco carry them too): https://www.32degrees.com/products/womens-scoop-neck-heat-base-layer-top?variant=3015485456424

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say this ! Respect mate, respect!! I live in australia and the coldest it gets is about -4 degree’s celcius, where i am we maybe get a few frosts over 3 months, my winter is june to august, but really it is only “cold” in july. Last year i rode and competed all winter and i will continue to do so no whinging because i now follow people that actually have a winter!
    mel x

    Liked by 1 person

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