Nothing can spice up the dreaded winter season among us horse-folk like some new kit – there’s no judging here so let’s admit it, we just love new stuff. But equally as fulfilling is digging out all our winter attire that we’d stored away and completely forgotten we owned. The following clothing items I find essential to keep my soul warm on those bitter days when you have to prize yourself out of bed to tend to our four-legged friends. I will work from the top down.
- An ear warmer head band.
These nifty little creations are absolutely essential for keeping nice and toasty during the winter months. Personally, if my ears are warm, the rest of me is warm. They allow you to wear an economical pony tail for doing chores, while still keeping your head nice and snug, and still staying stylish. I think these headbands are wonderful accessories regardless of temperature, and I’m actually rather sad when it comes to spring and it becomes too mild for me to actually bear keeping it on! They range from the big furry ones which I adore, to the more conservative stretchy kind that come in a vast selection of colours and patterns and accessorize any yard look perfectly.
- A snood.
I was never one for wearing scarfs at the stables, until I was introduced to snoods. I cannot describe how warm these make you, and in the chilling winds its down your coat collar that can really get you. Having this round my neck makes me completely wrapped up and cosy from any stray gusts that might come my way. Similarly, they are very useful as you can cover your nose and mouth with them, particularly handy when you’re fluffing out hay to serve to your equine companion on a silver platter. Plus, a quick tip: apparently if you keep your nose warm, you get less colds – thoughts?
- Lip Seal
One of the many side affects to being out in the cold for long periods of time is dry and chapped lips. I never leave the house in winter without Vaseline on my lips and I cannot go without. Carrying around lip seal wherever you go to top up is a necessity.
- A long luxurious padded coat.
Normally I’m all about short coats that show off your perfectly accented jodhpured-up rear, however long coats make much better bottom heaters and wind breakers – excuse the pun.
- A seat saver.
Speaking of keeping your behind heated, sheepskin seat savers are a god send when heading out for a several hours ride, not only in warmth but in comfort as well. They can also add extra grip and stability if you decide to go for the less fluffy type (and pay a little extra). If you do opt for the sheep-skin though, be sure to get one that is a more purposefully fitted shape, the cheap ones are often just like blobs of fluff that slip and slide all over the place, having the complete opposite affect to stability. In this instance I have to admit, you get what you pay for.
- An exercise sheet.
Your pony will thank you for this one. They aren’t just a fashion accessory, or for rainy days. On a cold day, especially hacking, it’s beneficial to your horse to put on an exercise blanket to keep their hard-working backs warm. They tense up in the cold and that is never a good thing. If schooling rather intensely then use a sheet to warm up in, and attach it in a way that you can whip it off once you get into the heavy stuff. Just make sure it doesn’t flap about and scare your sensitive steed. The wrap around ones, cosy as they are, do have a tendency for this. However, if you get a waterproof one, they do live up to the spec.
- Fingerless gloves.
These little beauties are miracle preservers, still allowing you free movement while still protecting our hands from drying out and cracking most unattractively. I find that fingerless gloves also last longer, and the fingers in the gloves are always the first to go, and I personally can’t stand having holey gloves. A good trick with them though, if they’re cheap magic gloves or similar, get some scissors and chop of the ends of the fingers and voila! A perfect pair of free fingerless gloves.
Ahh the perfect way to make cheap wellies look expensive. Buying branded welly warmers is far far cheaper than branded wellingtons. Often ‘hunter’ for example is written across the front if you get the fleece ones, and tricks any country snob into thinking your boots are designer. The fluffy ones as well add a certain ‘chic’ to muddy boots, and paired with a fluffy headband could make you quite the style icon.
9. Knee-high socks.
I just love knee-high socks, and I wear them all year round, just in varying degrees of thickness. They are extremely flattering and extend the leg if your boots have sunk that little bit too short. Have you noticed that they also make your breeches fit to your leg better? They hug them in at the knee joint where they can often go baggy and this makes for a rather more pleasing silhouette. Plus it’s great to have a bit of match-matchy going on and the vast array of designs you can get for socks can be tailored to match any attire.
10. Long winter muckers.
Lastly, footwear – everyone’s favourite. Or mine at least. There is some heavenly foot apparel on the market for winter, but the ones that specifically draw my eye are muckers on the bottom, with lace at the front, sheepskin round the top and material sides, with the whole boot reaching to your knee. These can be a little pricy, but they are just so utterly beautiful. I know what’s on my Christmas list.
So there you go, if wearing these clothes isn’t cause for getting up on cold mornings I don’t know what is. And the best part is, all of these things can be acquired without such a hefty price tag. Just keep your matchy-matchy dreams in mind when you purchase to create the full effect.