4 useful tips that make riding more enjoyable in winter

Regret does not help. Summertime is finally over, late evening rides usually fall flat and the weather forces us to rethink our choice of clothes. Of course, that doesn't necessarily lift our spirits. But let's say this much: you can't change it, because it's out of our hands. There is only one thing to do. Close your eyes and get through it.

Now our faithful horse partner is not as much of a wimp as we are. The horse species is very happy about cooler temperatures. You have probably already noticed that. The joy of running has miraculously returned to your little horse and the high spirits can sometimes be clearly felt.

Let yourself be infected by your friend's positive mood and enjoy being together! There's nothing better than horses in the snow, is there? If you follow a few of our tips, you can even give winter the cold shoulder.

Tip 1: Appropriate riding clothes are the be-all and end-all

Whoever saves here has lost. Strictly speaking, we spend several hours in the stable. If we don't have to complete a muck marathon or a strenuous workout, we cool down very quickly. And once you start to freeze, the only thing that helps is to warm up in the heated riding room. Hot chocolate and biscuits are the last resort!

But what is the right riding gear in winter? Thermal breeches, riding parka, woollen socks and bobble hat?

The really effective way is to wear an onion jacket. The more you move or sweat, the easier it is for you to take off parts of your clothing. Jackets with detachable sleeves or multi-functional jackets (usually thick fleece underneath and water- and windproof material on top) have proven to be very effective. Thermal breeches with climate control are certainly worth considering. However, you can also wear thermal leggings under more comfortable riding breeches. The effect is similar. Important: You should not be restricted in your movement! Long riding socks or ski socks with a warm padded underfoot are ideal for winter.

In general, riding clothes can be complemented well with pieces from the ski and snowboard department. Here you can often find very useful items such as long ski underwear or helmet caps. The latter are recommended for outdoor riders in any case, because it is a well-known fact that most of the body heat dissipates through our heads. Those who don't like it so much because of long hair can fall back on smart headbands or tube scarves (with cheeky motifs).

Gloves are highly recommended. It also makes sense to take at least two different pairs with you to the stable. If you are riding or lunging outside, lined gloves are a good idea. If you are doing work in the stable, thinner gloves are sufficient. If your body is in constant motion, your blood circulation system will regulate the heating anyway. So: Get to work! This is the best prevention against chattering teeth!

Tip 2: Footwear

As mentioned above, thermal socks are a good purchase. It's even better if you can also fall back on thermal riding boots in icy temperatures. Whether they are Jodhpur or long-shanked, your feet will thank you. Especially when you move your horses in the snow. It's great that today's thermal boots are no longer so clunky. So you can even find elegant pieces for dressage riders. Because: heated riding arenas are not the norm.

By the way, it's a good idea to choose winter boots one size larger. Ski socks, grandma's thick woollen stockings and your feet will then have enough space. In an emergency, you can also wear two pairs of socks in the onion look or, better still, a lambskin insole. These are wonderfully warm and prevent stinky feet if you do start to sweat.

Tip 3: Targeted warming up and covering up

Especially in the cooler season, a long warm-up phase has proven to be very effective. For your horse and also for you! Joints, tendons and ligaments need much longer to get up to operating temperature. Warm riding clothes, thermal riding boots or a sweat blanket on the horse are not sufficient as a warm-up programme.

The rule is: move, move, move! In any case, it makes sense to lead your treasure at a brisk walk for the first quarter of an hour. This will warm you both up.

If your stable has a horse solarium, you can give your horse 10 - 15 minutes of deep warmth before work. If you have had to shear your horse (heavy sweating due to winter coat), he will enjoy the extra warmth very much. But don't forget that although the neck and back are warmed up, the joints still need at least 15 minutes of walking to be "ready for action".

After training, it is important to put on a sweat blanket. It absorbs the sweat and protects against draughts. Please do not give up dry riding! If your horse is a heavy sweater and your training is very intensive, it does make sense to shear the horse.

But then a winter blanket for horses is a must! It replaces the winter coat and must provide protection from the cold and icy wind. A sweat blanket alone would not be sufficient here. The missing winter coat allows moisture and cold temperatures to reach the sensitive skin. A winter blanket gives the horse some protection.

Robust open stable horses should retain their natural winter coat. The healthy organism of these animals controls their winter protection all by itself.

Tip 4: Interesting winter gadgets

So that you, as a living frostbite, are not necessarily standing constantly under the horse solarium yourself, clever people have come up with something. Accordingly, even the most frostbitten among the frost-bitten can be helped.

For example, there are small pocket and toe warmers that can be activated by bending a metal plate. Quite inexpensive and can be used again by boiling them. Or how about battery-operated heat insoles and gloves. Much more expensive but effective.

Earbags are interesting against cold ears. Similar to earmuffs, but without the annoying strap. Here, only a small folding mechanism is activated. They are available in different sizes and are not as bulky as the old "Mickey Mouse ear dumplings". Riding clothes with integrated ceramic fibres (neck and kidney warmers etc...) are great. These reflect the body's own heat back. They are also available for the horse (e.g. back warmer). Ideal for warming up!

So you don't have to wrap yourself up in the horse's winter blanket. There are other great possibilities. Make the winter beautiful! Be an ice princess and our tips for riding in winter will help you! Your big partner is also looking forward to seeing you in winter!