If you’re anything like us, you love riding year-round. Lower temperatures don’t stop you from getting out there and training with your equine partner. In order to make the most out of your ride, you need to dress appropriately. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about riding in the winter, including what to wear. We’ve even got outfit suggestions so you can be warm and stylish while riding all winter long.

Considerations for Riding in Winter

Horseback riding in the winter can be a beautiful and exhilarating experience, but it does come with some unique challenges and considerations. Whether you’re training or hitting the trails, here are some things to consider while riding in the winter.

Dress Appropriately

Both you and your horse should be properly equipped for the cold weather. Wear layers to stay warm, and don’t forget to protect your extremities. For your horse, consider using a blanket or sheet to help keep them warm when in the barn or stall, and a quarter sheet to keep them warm while riding.

Footwear

Ensure that you have appropriate footwear to keep your feet warm and dry. For your horse, consider using hoof boots when the ground is icy and uneven.

Traction

Riding in icy or snowy conditions can be hazardous. Make sure your horse has suitable horseshoes or hoof boots with good traction to prevent slipping.

Warm Up

Give your horse extra time to warm up their muscles in the cold. Cold muscles are more prone to strains and injuries, so start with some slow, controlled exercises before going on your ride.

Learn more: 5 Top Flatwork Exercises for Horses (Beginners Guide)

Breathing

Cold air can be harsh on your horse’s respiratory system. Pay attention to their breathing, and avoid strenuous exercise in very cold weather. You can use a properly fitted face mask or nose net to help warm and humidify the air they breathe.

Visibility

Winter days can be short and dark. Ensure you’re visible to others by wearing reflective clothing or gear, and consider using lights or reflective tape on your horse’s tack when riding on roads, trails or fields.

Trail Conditions

Be aware of trail conditions. Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can make paths and trails hazardous. Check for obstacles hidden under the snow, and choose your routes carefully.

Hydration

Ensure your horse has access to unfrozen water before and after the ride. Dehydration can be a problem in winter as horses may drink less in cold weather. Likewise, you should also stay on top of your own hydration. 

Cool Down

After your ride, make sure to cool your horse down properly and dry them off if they’ve sweated. A wet coat combined with very cold weather can lead to chills and potential health issues.

When is it Too Cold to Ride in Winter?

Generally, most horses and riders can comfortably ride in temperatures above freezing (32°F or 0°C). However, it’s essential to consider factors like wind chill, which can make it feel much colder. Wind can significantly affect the perceived temperature. When the wind chill is severe, it may not be safe or comfortable to ride, especially if it can lead to frostbite or respiratory issues for both you and your horse.

Consider your horse’s well-being. If your horse is elderly, has respiratory issues, or isn’t acclimated to the cold, it’s best to limit riding in very cold weather. Riding in extremely cold conditions can be uncomfortable and potentially unsafe for you as well. Dressing appropriately for the weather is crucial, but there’s still a limit to how much cold exposure is tolerable.

Use your best judgment, prioritize safety and comfort for both you and your horse, and be willing to adjust your riding schedule when necessary. If in doubt, it’s often better to err on the side of caution and postpone the ride to a milder day or seek alternative options, such as riding indoors.

What to Look for in Winter Riding Gear

Winter horseback riding gear is essential to keep both you and your horse warm, comfortable, and safe during cold weather. 

Insulation

Look for gear with adequate insulation to keep you warm. This includes layers of clothing, such as thermal or moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers (fleece or down), and a waterproof and windproof outer layer.

Waterproof and Windproof

Make sure your outer layers are both waterproof and windproof. This is especially important to protect against cold winds and precipitation.

Breathability

While keeping the cold out is important, your gear should also allow moisture (sweat) to escape. Look for breathable fabrics to prevent moisture buildup, which can make you feel cold and clammy.

Visibility

Riding in low-light conditions in the winter can be hazardous. Choose gear with reflective elements or add reflective tape to increase visibility.

Gloves

Insulated and waterproof gloves are crucial to keep your hands warm and dry. Ensure they allow for dexterity to handle reins and other equipment.

Footwear

Invest in insulated, waterproof riding boots with good traction to prevent slipping on icy or muddy terrain. Wool or thermal socks can help keep your feet warm.

Headgear

A warm hat or headband that covers your ears is essential to prevent heat loss. A helmet cover or liner designed for cold weather can help keep your head warm while maintaining safety.

Face and Neck Protection

In extremely cold conditions, consider a face mask, scarf, or neck gaiter to protect against the cold wind. Ensure it doesn’t obstruct your vision or breathing.

Legwear

Thermal riding tights or breeches can help keep your legs warm. You can also layer regular riding pants with thermal or fleece-lined leggings.

What to Wear Horseback Riding in the Winter

Winter Riding Tops

These tops are perfect for training, schooling, trail riding, or simply working around the barn. Layer them together for added warmth and insulation.

Natalie V-Neck Sweater

Natalie V-Neck Sweater

The Natalie V-neck sweater redefines timeless elegance with its stylish and lightweight design. Its exquisite feminine back detailing, coupled with modern elbow patches and refined trim colors, add a touch of sophistication to this classic piece. Crafted from luxurious fine-knit yarns, it offers both comfort and style. The subtle brushed nickel logo plaque is a subtle yet classy finishing touch. Versatile and easy to care for, this sweater is perfect for winter riding, making it a must-have layering essential in any wardrobe.

Chloe Wind Defense Vest

Chloe wind defense vest

The Chloe Wind Defense vest is the ideal addition to your winter riding wardrobe. This chic and wind-resistant piece boasts a striking diagonal quilting pattern, giving it a stylish edge for brisk winter days. Crafted with a high-quality lightweight fill, it offers warmth without the bulk, making it perfect for layering. The stretch back and side panels not only add a touch of elegance but also ensure you stay comfortable while riding. 

With key features like wind resistance, machine washability, a convenient two-way zipper for versatility, an interior hidden pocket for extra storage, and practical front zipper pockets, this vest seamlessly combines fashion with functionality. The sophisticated and subtle logo accents on the front panel and back collar complete the look, making the Chloe Wind Defense a must-have for the fashion-forward and practical-minded alike.

Sienna 37.5 Training Shirt

Sienna 37.5 Training Shirt

With the patented 37.5® thermoregulation technology, this shirt goes the extra mile by assisting your body in managing its core temperature, resulting in increased stamina during chilly winter rides. By maintaining your core temperature at the ideal 37.5°C (99.5°F), it ensures you’re at the peak of your athletic performance. 

In addition, the main body fabric offers UPF 50 sun protection, and the tonal mesh underarm panels not only provide breathability but also contribute to the shirt’s effortlessly chic look. Elevate your riding experience with the Sienna schooling shirt, where style meets cutting-edge technology to bring out the best in every rider, especially when it’s cold outside.

Logan 1/4 Zip Training Shirt

Logan 1:4 Zip Training Shirt

The Logan training shirt is set to become your essential companion for those chilly mornings and seasonal transitions as we move into fall and winter. Crafted from heathered fabric with a fleece-like texture, this shirt promises comfort in the saddle. Its cleverly designed thumbhole sleeves offer an extra level of coziness outside of riding. With sporty seamlines and a practical ¼ zip styling, this shirt not only keeps you warm but also ensures you look as stylish as you feel. Plus, with wicking and stretch fabric that provides UPF 30 sun protection, it’s a versatile addition to your riding wardrobe.

Winter Show Tops

The competition doesn’t slow when the temperature drops! Here are some great show shirts to wear for those winter shows.

Maddie 37.5 Show Shirt

Maddie 37.5 Show Shirt

The Maddie show shirt is the ultimate fusion of modern technology and classic style, making it the perfect choice for winter riding. Crafted with the 37.5® patented thermoregulation technology, this shirt is designed to help your body maintain an optimal core temperature, providing a boost in stamina during those chilly rides. 

For added comfort and breathability, this shirt features textured mesh underarm panels. To give this traditional look a contemporary twist, it includes a zipper placket with a snap collar. Embrace the perfect blend of tradition and innovation with the Maddie show shirt, ideal for keeping warm and stylish during winter competitions.

Sofia Blue Label Show Shirt

Sofia Blue Label Show Shirt

The Sofia show shirt is a timeless and versatile addition to every equestrian’s show clothing collection. With its contemporary seamlines, hidden zipper placket, and sleek detailing, it’s a perfect choice for riders of all levels and styles. Crafted from wicking and stretch fabric, the Sofia shirt not only ensures comfort but also offers UPF 30 sun protection, making it an ideal companion for those chilly winter competitions. For those formal occasions, the stock tie loop and snap collar provide the finishing touches that make this show shirt a must-have for any rider.

Winter Riding Bottoms

Keep your legs warm and cozy with these riding breeches.

Anna Mid-Rise Front Zip Breech

Anna Mid-Rise Front Zip Breech

Crafted from premium quick-dry and stretch fabric, these Euro-seat breeches offer an incredible hand feel, sculpted fit, and unmatched coverage. The fabric-covered interior waistband and strategically placed mesh lower leg panels ensure you stay warm, cozy, and dry while you ride.

What truly sets these breeches apart are the premium Clarino™ knee patches, providing the luxurious appearance of real suede while remaining remarkably supple and breathable, even in the face of intense abrasion. The subtle R.J. details on the front closures and pockets add a touch of elegance to the design. 

Aria Silicone Full Seat Breech

Aria Silicone Full Seat Breech

Designed with a silicone full seat featuring a unique R.J. pinwheel design, the Aria Silicone Full Seat Breech provides exceptional grip and stability, allowing you to tackle any ride with confidence. The premium quick-dry and stretch fabric not only feels incredible against your skin but also sculpts your form and provides unbeatable coverage. 

The fabric-covered interior waistband and mesh lower leg panels ensure a comfortable and clean fit throughout your ride, providing you with peace of mind whether you’re on the trail or in the show ring. With features like a mid-rise front zip styling and a silicone logo in the waistband to keep your shirt neatly tucked in, these breeches are a must-have for any rider looking to make a statement in the saddle.

Show Coats for Winter

Maintain a sophisticated show look in the winter with these stylish show coats.

Skylar 37.5 Grey Label Show Coat

Skylar 37.5 Grey Label Show Coat

The Skylar show coat is the perfect blend of timeless elegance and innovative 37.5® technology designed to provide structure and stretch for your cold-weather riding competitions. This patented thermoregulation technology ensures your comfort by assisting your body in maintaining the ideal core temperature of 37.5°C (99.5°F), perfectly suited for peak athletic performance in the winter months. 

For ultimate performance, pair the Skylar show coat with the Maddie Show Shirt, which also incorporates 37.5® technology, creating an ideal layering system to keep you warm and stylish for equestrian competitions in the winter.

Monterey Orange Label Show Coat

Monterey Orange Label Show Coat

Embrace winter riding with the Monterey collection, tailored for the traditionalist who seeks both style and functionality in colder weather. With its classic 3-button styling and traditional flap pockets, the Monterey line offers an elegant presentation and a perfect fit. What sets this collection apart is its unconstructed design, which allows equestrians greater freedom of movement and the ability to layer as they please.

Foxy Tweed Hunt Coat

Foxy Tweed Hunt Coat

Since fox hunting events are traditionally held in fall and winter, coats are usually made of wool or other thick material. This coat is no different! Our Tweed Plaid fox hunting coat epitomizes timeless sophistication. Crafted from exquisite imported wool fabrics, it showcases the elegance of traditional hacking jackets. With a distinguished 3-button front adorned with tortoise shell-like buttons, this coat exudes an air of refined charm. Its coordinating lining and detachable collar tab add both style and versatility to this classic piece, making it a must-have for those who appreciate the heritage of fox hunting. 

Staying Warm in the Saddle

When riding during the winter, don’t forget to prioritize the safety and health of both yourself and your horse. Dressing warmly is one of the best ways to take care of yourself while riding in the winter. 

Looking for an equestrian clothing brand you can rely on all year long? Look no further than R.J. Classics! We’ve got riding attire for all disciplines and all seasons, allowing you to look stylish while at the barn or the show ring.

Shop the full R.J. Classics collection now → 

 

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