Depending on where you live, your apparel can make or break whether you enjoy cold-weather horseback riding or not. Here at Millbrook Tack, we always recommend wearing a smart set of layers. If you’re cold, your layers will keep you warm. And if you get too hot, you can unzip your outer layer or take off as many layers as you need before you’re the perfect temperature for your trail ride or barn training session.
How to Layer Horseback Riding Clothing
Wicking Base Layer
Start with a sun shirt, such as the Kastel Denmark tops (we love their gorgeous colors and go-with-everything prints). Although it may sound counter-intuitive, the wicking nature of these shirts means they have a place in everyone's wardrobe year-round. Even in cold climates, it's easy to get hot while working around the barn or schooling indoors. Wicking away sweat keeps riders from getting chilled once they slow down.
Insulating Mid Layer
Your next layer should be a mid layer top. For you lucky riders in warm, sunny locations, this may be your last layer. For the rest of us (we're a tack shop in Michigan, after all), this is only step two. A mid layer could be a fabulous fleece jacket, a quarter zip, or a vest.
One of our classic favorites is a full-zip top from Schockemohle Sports. It's furry on the inside with a smooth, silky outer face. This jacket is super warm, wicking if you get hot, and layers perfectly under an outer layer because it doesn't stick to the lining of the top piece. This Schockemohle riding layer gets bonus points from us because horse hair and dirt brush right off. They make this every year, and it's definitely worth the money!
Another great option comes from Kingsland, who makes a vest called the Classic Hybrid Body Warmer. This riding vest is exceptionally flattering and insulated in all the right places, and its softshell is perfect in the places you don't want extra bulk. The Kingsland equestrian vest is pretty enough to wear in a clinic but practical enough for everyday use.
Horseback Riding Outerwear
Riders of all skill levels should invest in an excellent piece of outerwear. Something to consider: will you only be using it to ride in, or will you use it for barn chores, too? Your activities will significantly impact the material you want to buy. You also need to consider length. Some people only want a short coat, and some find the extra coverage of a long coat ideal for icy environments.
Each year Cavallo makes a great 3/4 length riding coat that feels like a sleeping bag and is just as toasty warm. It's the perfect coaches' coat, and it’s great for riders who are constantly freezing. The only drawback is that it isn't ideal for horse barn chores.
If you are looking for a long riding coat you can do everything in, a burlier material is a better option. We suggest the ELT Saphira or the Montar Dicte jackets. Both are full of features you want for riding, but can also hold up to throwing hay and mucking stalls. Schockemohle also makes a beautiful short coat that is super warm without being bulky.
Insulated Riding Bottoms
If your winters are extreme, consider an insulated winter-riding breech. Again, Schockemohle nails it with their Winter Riding Tight. These things feel like a sweatpant and allow you to ride properly.
For those who may be riding outside in the cold or spending time outside bringing horses in, the Kerrits Sit Tight Windpro tight can't be beat! The key here is that they're windproof, and this tends to be what chills us first.
If you refuse to wear anything called a "riding tight," or if you live in a place with mild winters, Romfh released a winter breech with a light fleece lining. While not as warm as the Schockemohle, this breech is just that–the look and feel of a breech with just a little extra warmth. Cavallo also makes beautiful winter riding pants!
Stay warm, friends, and reach out if you need more suggestions.