Saturday, 29 October 2016

5 Top Picks That Keep Me Warm






So, the dreaded day for every equestrian - the clocks going back! For anyone else working 9-5, this means you pretty much don't see your horse in daylight, let alone think about riding while it's light!

Winter can feel like a long time and like a lot of hard work, so I've taken time to look across all of my horsey things to pull out my top five practical items to help me keep warm & safe as the temperature starts to fall...

Fleece snood/neck warmer


Yard work can be cold before you get going, & I always find I'm much warmer with something around my neck. Scarves, I find, can get in the way, especially when bending down (be careful that the ends don't dip in your water buckets!). So, I tried a really basic snood/neckwarmer. It's looser than a scarf around your neck, so I find pulling it up to my chin is best when you first get to the yard, as as you heat up, simply pull it down.

It's also your best friend when out hacking!! If you hack on your own, you can pull it up over your chin & mouth to really heat up, or for a bit less heat, keep it bagged around your neck. It's a great way to stop the wind blowing around your neck, and has no 'flappy' bits like a scarf!!

Mine is a Hi-Gear Thinsulate neck warmer that I picked up from Go Outdoors for less than £5!

Hi-gear neckwarmer

Mark Todd Padded Over-trousers


I invested in these a few winters ago and haven't looked back since. I wear them nearly every day in the really cold months, taking them off right before I ride. They wash in the machine, fit over the top of wellies or Dubarry boots, and have a full zip down the outside of the legs so easability to pull on & off.

The trousers are padded and waterproof, and come with pockets, including zip up pockets (great for phones & keys!). The waistband is elasticated, has a popper and zip. I find them very comfortable, and not restrictive like some waterproof trousers can be.

Mark Todd Reinga over trousers

Priced at around £65, they are a good investment, and mine have so far worn well, washing well and proving to be hard wearing.

Head torch


Firstly, I am on a well lit yard, but buying a small head torch has helped me improve visibility, as well as being borrowed my numerous liveries!

It was less than £5, and I haven't yet had to replace the battery - I've had it almost two years, picking it up from Go Outdoors!

Hi-gear mini head torch


The headband is fully adjustable in every direction, and the light has 3 settings of brightness depending on what you need.

It's very handy in less well lit areas for checking your horse over, especially legs and feet. It's also a good thing to keep in your horsebox should you ever park somewhere that isn't well lit for digging around in your outside tack lockers.

The great thing about a head torch over an ordinary torch - you keep two hands free!!

Rab Phantom Grip gloves


Another great purchase from Go Outdoors (a shop I recommend for keeping warm in the winter, clearly!)

Having tried numerous gloves through the winters of riding, I've found very good pairs, but no all rounder.

These gloves, are fairly showerproof, but even when I've been caught out in some serious downpours, they've dried off quickly, & they keep your hands toasty warm, while still being delicate enough to feel your reins. They even work with touchscreen (hooray!!)

Rab Phantom Grip gloves
Unlike most hi-tech riding gloves, these are really easy to wash - you just add them to your normal dark wash on a 30 degree cycle!

They aren't the cheapest on the market at about £18-22, but they have lasted me really well - they wash and wear well, and they keep me as warm now as the first day!

High-viz exercise sheet


So, now I'm all wrapped up, what about Louie. Once clipped, and only on a very cold day when hacking, I use a fleece lined high-viz exercise sheet. Not only does this help to keep his back warm while we're plodding along, but it means we are easily seen on the roads and through the hedge lines. It's also waterproof to keep them dry if you do hit a shower! Even better, if it does rain, you can undo the velcro over the withers and bring it over your thighs to help keep you a bit drier too!

I've had mine about 8 years now, and have always used it. It has washed well, and apart from marks where the stirrup leathers rub, it's maintained great condition.

There's a variety of them on the market, but mine was about £25-30, for the waterproof and fleece lined version.

LunaRider Fleece Lined Exercise Sheet

So, if you're looking at ways to keep warm this winter and make life a little bit easier when you're around the yard and riding, I hope you'll find some of the above items useful picks!

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