Winter riding clothes are much more involved than just throwing on a thicker coat and some gloves. It’s very easy to forget that you must keep warm and promote good circulation. While you are concentrating on your horse, your body is concentrating on keeping itself warm. Dressing appropriately for winter horseback riding is a balance between comfort, warmth, and style. After all, we don’t want to look like a giant marshmallow (which can also be a hazard if your arms won’t come to your sides!) nor want to get the cute, lightweight coat that barely keeps you warm.

So how to figure out what works? Layers is the name of the game. Start with a base layer. This layer should be moisture-wicking yet keep you warm. It’s the closest layer to your skin, so you don’t want something super thick. The second layer will be your fleece or thermal tops and a vest or jacket. The outer layer should be the warmest, consisting of insulated riding pants and waterproof jackets and pants that won’t let the rain soak into the other layers. Top it all off with warm socks, the right winter boots, gloves, neck gator, and even warm headbands or beanies that can be worn with or without a helmet. If you wear head accessories under your helmet, ensure your helmet fits properly!

Layering for Comfort and Warmth

Base Layers

Base layers are the layers closest to your skin. They absorb and remove sweat while moving, making them essential to winter riding. They are usually made from two different types of fabrics, either synthetic or wool. Synthetic fabrics are actually the best for muscle compression as well. However, they are not antibacterial. This means you need to make sure to wash them frequently. Marina wool is usually considered the best and most naturally warm for thermal clothing. It keeps your body temperature stable and prevents overheating. The drawback is that it can take longer to dry than synthetic material.

Middle Layers

The middle layer is called the insulating layer. It retains body heat and protects you from the cold while containing heat that is radiated by your body. This layer is usually made of either synthetic or natural materials. Polyester fleece is warm and breaths well, meaning you won't overheat. Down is highly compressible and offers more warmth for the weight. However, the drawback is that it loses some insulating efficiency when damp. Synthetic insulations try to mimic down and come closer and closer with every year that passes. This layer often means fleece or thermal tops, as well as insulated vests and jackets.

Outer Layers

Your outer layer will be the last layer you wear, and it will be the biggest protector against the elements. It will protect you from wind, rain, and snow. This is especially important because if wind and water get inside your inner layers, you can get seriously chilled and potentially get sick. Most outer layers allow some sweat to be wicked away, and all are perfect for keeping you warm. Insulated riding pants are great for your bottom half, and choosing a waterproof and windproof jacket will keep those elements at bay while keeping you warm and protecting your middle and basic layers from getting wet.

Choosing the Right Winter Riding Boots

Wearing proper winter boots is essential to keep the blood flow pumping in your calf, feet, and toes. There are a lot of great winter riding boots options available. If you choose to buy winter riding boots, make sure that you pick ones that are waterproof. Winters are wet and snowy, and you don't want to ruin your boots riding in the snow! Also, cold and wet feet are uncomfortable and will chill you. When considering a winter boat, you might want to look at insulated and non-insulated versions. Your insulated versions are going to give you the most warmth. For winter boots, consider going up half a size. This will give you plenty of room for winter socks! Consider a winter sock for your boot that wicks away moisture while also keeping you warm.

Accessorize Smartly to Stay Warm

Winter Riding Gloves

Your toes aren’t the only important phalanges on your body that need to stay warm! You must keep those fingers toasty to grip your reins, dismount, and so much more. Gloves can also keep the mixture away from your hands. Winter means dry skin, and the enemy of supple skin is water. Choose a waterproof and insulated glove for winter. You may need to get a size up from your regular gloves; try on winter gloves and flex your fingers to ensure your grip isn't hampered.

Warm Headgear Options

Your head is one of the most sensitive parts of your body to changes in temperature. That’s why people think that more heat escapes from the head than anywhere else. Cover up that noggin with a riding-friendly beanie or headband so that your head feels toasty all season long.

14 of the Best Winer Horseback Riding Clothes

Finding the right items to wear for winter riding can be daunting. But we at Schneiders have you covered. These are the best riding essentials to keep you warm and dry with style.

    Ariat Ladies Lowell 2.0 1/4 Zip Baselayer

  1. Ariat® Ladies Lowell 2.0 1/4 Zip Baselayer
  2. This 1/4 zip base layer combined sporty paneling details with a flattering fit, making it the perfect equestrian outerwear for fall and winter. Made from a brushed stretch Jersey, this long-sleeved riding shirt is designed for ease of movement. It's an excellent choice for laying under a riding vest or sweater, providing warmth and comfort on even the coldest of days.

    LeMieux Liberte Zipped Neck Base Layer

  3. LeMieux® Liberte Zipped Neck Base Layer
  4. Part of the LeMieux® ActiveWear line, this ultra-comfortable climate layer with a unique super soft peached effect material is perfect for wear during the colder months. Antimicrobial material effectively wicks moisture, while the versatile zip neck collar can be turned up or rolled down to suit all wind conditions. Thumb holes and a tailored fit keep this base layer close to your skin for the ideal winter laying or fall apparel choice.

  5. Ariat Ladies Ideal Down Vest
  6. For superior performance in any weather, the Ideal Down Vest by Ariat® will keep you warm, from doing barn chores to spending time in the saddle, without the bulk of traditional down riding vests. Premium, ultra-compressible downfill will keep you moving freely and looking stylish as you layer your English apparel during cold weather. The Earth-friendly EcoDry™ water-repellent finish also keeps you dry in wet weather.

    Kerrits Full Motion Quilted Vest

  7. Kerrits® Full Motion Quilted Vest
  8. The Kerrits® Full Motion Quilted Vest is the ideal companion for cold weather layering. It combines the warmth of midweight quilting with the versatility of soft shell stretch panels, making it a three-season essential. It's wind and water-repellent to ensure you stay dry and warm, while the fun horse print lining adds a dash of style. This vest also includes a tall, fleece-lined collar to provide additional warmth and zip hand warmer pockets for added convenience.

    Schneiders Softshell Jacket

  9. Schneiders® Softshell Jacket
  10. Schneiders® Softshell Jacket is the perfect weight and stretches as you ride, making it a great jacket during those cooler months. The jacket is contoured through the waist for a flattering fit and has a full zip front with nylon zippers. It even includes a hidden inside left zipper pocket for important items you want to keep close to you, such as your cell phone or keys.

    LeMieux Dynamique Jacket

  11. LeMieux® Dynamique Jacket
  12. Stylish and warm, the Dynamique jacket is perfect for a chilly day. It has a super soft lining and padded chevron satin paneling. It also creates a flattering outline and comes in a beautiful jewel-toned blue.

    Ovation Telluride Winter Boots

  13. Ovation Telluride Winter Boots
  14. The Telluride winter boot will keep you warm and dry in and out of the saddle. It features a grippy TPR rubber sole that is waterproof to the top of the foot and paired with a polyester canvas upper Teflon treated for water repellency. The inside of the boot has a warm faux fur-lined footbed. The back zipper is flanked by neoprene for flexibility and stretch, while the front laces allow for perfect adjustment and fit.

    Kerrits Ladies Fleece Lite II Knee Patch Tight

  15. Kerrits® Ladies Fleece Lite II Knee Patch Tight
  16. Stay warm with these fleece-lined winter-riding tights that will keep you cozy in the winter. The knee patch riding tights look and feel like reading breaches with a comfortable pull-on design. The brushed fleece inner lining adds extra warmth, and the soft grip knee patches have a flexible, secure grip in the tack. These tights have flattering compression styling that smooth and flatter your figure, an added bonus!

    Dublin Erne Boots

  17. Dublin Erne Boots
  18. These stylish Dublin Erne Boots are waterproof, featuring a full nubuck upper, and breathable for all-day comfort. A full-side zipper makes it easy to take them on and off. The moisture-wicking RCS footbed provides heel and arch support for long days at the barn. The Positive Traction Grip (PTG) outer sole provides safe traction in all weather conditions.

    Ovation World's Best Boot Sock

  19. Ovation® World's Best Boot Sock
  20. The name says it all, it's simply the best boot sock. The Opti-Dry technology wicks away moisture, keeping your feet dry and comfortable all day long, while the arch compression band prevents shifting. This sock has heel-to-toe protection for boot pinch points, keeping you comfortable all day long in your boots. The comfort mesh adds breathability, keeping your feet cozy and cool.

    Kerrits Hand Warmer Riding Gloves 2.0

  21. Kerrits® Hand Warmer Riding Gloves 2.0
  22. The Kerrits® Hand Warmer Riding Gloves 2.0 is the perfect solution for riders seeking to keep their fingers warm without sacrificing functionality. These gloves are constructed with a four-way stretch Dynamic Extreme™ exterior that sheds dirt, hay, and light rain. The strategically reinforced Gripstretch™ Suede palm is perfect for precision rein handling and durability, making this a functional and stylish glove. They are also moisture-wicking, stain, and water-resistant; they are the perfect choice for winter.

    SSG Ride N Ranch Riding Gloves

  23. SSG Ride N Ranch Riding Gloves
  24. The SSG Ride N Ranch Riding Gloves are durable enough to be a work glove and comfortable enough to wear while riding. They are made with premium goatskin palms, and the fingertips have reinforced stress points, while the heavy-duty lycra back increases ventilation. Your hands will be warm without being sweaty with these dual-purpose gloves.

    LeMieux Knit Headband

  25. LeMieux® Knit Headband
  26. The LeMieux Knit Headband is the perfect winter accessory for extra warmth around the barn. This classic cable knit headband with micro-fleece lining features subtle elasticity for a secure fit.

    LeMieux Sparkle Beanie

  27. LeMieux® Sparkle Beanie
  28. Add fashion while keeping warm! This sparkly beanie is a great addition to your winter wardrobe. Made from a rib knit material with a soft microfleece lining that keeps you warm, It's one size fits all means it's made for every head. The hot set stud details around the headband add sparkle, and the detachable faux fur pom is an extra cute touch!

Winter doesn’t mean your days at the barn and in the saddle will be wet and miserable. With the right winter riding essentials, you’ll stay warm and stylish in the saddle all season long.