Dressing for the Weather

Winter is a hard time of the year out in a barn, but this week is especially horribly cold in Chicago.  We’re looking at high’s in the single digits, lows below zero and windchills in the -20 to -30 degree range.  Knowing how to dress for the weather makes the difference between getting through the cold, dark months of the year… and getting frostbite.

I start with a layer of long underwear.  My favorites are by Kyra K and I found them on sale one year or I never would have bought them. I’m glad I did though.  They are lightweight and fitted so it’s easy to layer over them.  The inside of them is soft and fleecy feeling, and the outside is smooth and silky.  They stretch a lot so it’s easy to forget they are even there.  I wear these top and bottom.

Next I choose a pair of ski socks. I like the technical fabrics that give warmth without bulk, and they have to be wicking and quick to dry because if my feet get damp they get cold real fast, and the rest of me is usually soon to follow. 

Then I put on my favorite winter breeches, the Irideon Wind Pro Full Seats. They are fleece lined and wind/water resistant, and remind me of wearing pajamas!  On top I add a polar fleece, sweat shirt, or sweater.  Then my Rambo jacket and Ariat Grasmere tall boots (I love the lace up the side, they fit over any number of layers!) right before I run out the door.  I usually slip some toe heaters into my boots before I pull them on, and I can’t forget to grab my hat and gloves.

This is usually enough to keep me warm for an 8 or 10 hour day in the barn, as long as I keep moving.  When I ride, I often have to take off my coat, but if I sit still too long I get cold.  This week, I went even further and put my Mountain Horse Sarek Thermo riding pants on top.  They are like snow pants with a full seat.  They are awesome in the bitter cold, or for trail riding in the winter. They are too hot for in the barn.

Those are my well-tested recommendations.  I’ll be on the look out for more to try as the after-winter sales start to appear with spring’s approach. Those are the best times to find the really good gear at an affordable price!

Happy winter, and stay warm!!


2 thoughts on “Dressing for the Weather

  1. Are you still riding in these temperatures? Is it ever too cold for the horses? I went to the barn today and 1 of the trainers was riding when I got there. The horses aren’t being turned out outside for the rest of the week, so I turned mine out in the indoor for 10-15 minutes, made him do some trotting and a little cantering. He didn’t seem to be too eager to do either.

  2. Hi Linda,

    We are not riding this week, it is too cold to be breathing the cold air and trying to get the muscles warmed up and moving (for us AND the horses!). The horses are still turned out. They don’t seem to mind the cold and they are all dressed up in their blankets. They get extra hay when it’s real cold and that helps keep them warm. Humans have a much harder time in the cold weather than the horses do though!


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