As we head into the freezing temperatures of winter, I can't help but find myself a bit of an impasse, as I do most years at this time. I find it hard to stay motivated in my riding. It's freezing, the holidays are just over the horizon and the wildness that horses exhibit changing over from summer to fall/winter is, well daunting.
I find prepping for the barn during the colder months can make a big difference in how your experience goes. Here are some of the small things I do to make sure I'm prepared for winter riding days.
1. Make sure your winter riding wardrobe is in good repair -
This may seem trivial, but getting your winter riding jackets, boots, and gloves out of storage and making sure they are clean, without holes and generally in good shape can make a difference. I get my big winter riding jacket professionally cleaned and re water proofed when I can.
2. Invest in the right Equestrian apparel for winter -
Ensuring you have the proper layers is paramount for winter. Remember: LAYERS. Always. You can always take off a layer if you're too hot. I myself usually ride in a base layer and vest, and then either have on a fleece zip up if it's really cold, and my winter riding jacket on top. The jacket always comes off, as it's super bulky and so warm, but for tacking up and untacking, or grabbing your horse from outside, it is absolutely necessary.
Winter riding gloves are also a big one. I bought a pair of SSG Winter Training Gloves and they have been a game changer. My hands stay warm, and I can still do things in them, and move my fingers.
The SSG Winter Training Gloves from Greenhawk keep my hands so toasty.
3. Ensure you're doing a proper warm up. -
This is especially important for you and your horse. Those cold muscles need time to stretch and adapt to the workload during the colder months. Roughly 10 minutes of walking to help slowly warm and loosen muscles. Hand walking your horse on the ground is a great way for you to warm up as well.
4. Grab a hot drink. No seriously. -
Getting a hot tea or coffee drink before a cold ride is a great treat and incentive to get going. Warm your body from the outside in. Plus, the caffeine boost can help with energy as well!
Do you have any tips on cold weather riding? Comment below! We would love to hear them!