Trail Tails – Keeping Warm in Winter

Welcome to Trail Tails Tuesday!  Share your horse stories and adventures both high and low.  Offer your experiences with horses and along with tips and tricks to help keep chores to a minimum and time in the saddle or in the drivers seat at a maximum.

This week I’d like to share with you my tips of staying warm in the winter.  I’ve working on farms and owned horses for close to 20 years now and I have both over heated and froze myself on cold winter days.

I find there are 2 very important parts to your body that if they get cold you might as well pack it up and leave.  1) your feet and 2) your hands.

Cold Feet:  The key to keeping your feet warm is not letting them over heat, sweat and then catch a chill.  Your feet should not be crammed into your boots but should have room to wiggle and move around.

Boots Personally for barn chores and for riding in the winter I love my Classic Muck Boots. They are nice and tall for being used as a riding boot and they are water proof!  They might be expensive but my last pair held on for 10 years before I had to replace them. 

Socks Ok so I’m partial to alpaca because I happen to raise them but the truth is there isn’t a warmer natural fiber out there!  Invest in a nice pair of terry knit alpaca socks and you won’t be disappointed.  Not only are they warm but they help wick moisture away from your foot helping to keep it drier and warmer.

Cold Hands:  As with your feet you want to keep your hands dry as well as warm.  Most folks will buy the bulkiest gloves they can find and then constantly have to take them off to cinch up the saddle or put on a bridle.  Bulky might do the trick but taking them off all the time sure makes for cold hands. 

Layers! I found it best to layer your gloves.  My personal choice is to wear a thin glove under and then use deer skin gloves over. For the longest time my thin glove of choice were those $1 extra stretchy cotton gloves you can usually find at the checkout lines. I used those cheap gloves right up until this past year when I tried using a pair of alpaca gloves under the deer skin ones. WOW, what a difference.  I’ll hand it to alpaca, it is one warm fiber.

Core: The layers rule works great for the body and legs.  Usually I like to wear lined jeans or leggings and jeans.  If it’s really cold out I’ll wear leggings and ski pants.  For my body I find you can never have enough.  Undershirt + T-shirt + sweater/flannel + Jaket + topped off with your favorite scarf. 

Head: Ah yes headwear.  What you wear usually depends on what you’ll be doing?  Just running through chores and mucking?  A good head band or favorite hat works wonders.  But if you’re riding and need to wear a helmet hats are hard to use.  There are several nifty products out there to cover your entire helmet and others that are thin enough to fit under.  As for me, I hate having to go from barn working headwear (headband) to riding so I did the only logical thing I could think of. I bought a larger helmet! Yup, I have a helmet that is too big for my head typically but works great when I’m wearing my headband.  

Good luck and stay warm this winter!  Happy Trails!

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