Winter Survival: Let's Talk About Layers
Let’s talk about layers.
It’s official, the Winter weather has officially arrived with temperatures set to drop into negative figures in many parts of the UK tonight.
Without beating about the bush, cold days at the yard are unpleasant and unmotivating. It can sometime be difficult or impossible in some cases to ride due to frozen arena surfaces combined with dark evenings, so it often feels like all work and no play.
Sadly, we can’t do anything to stop your arena freezing but we can kit you out to ensure you stay toasty warm during the cold spell without that dreaded Michelin Man /melting from the inside out feeling that often accompanies layers.
So, my top layering tip is to Avoid added bulk. The goal here is to stay warm but still be able to move all of your limbs in order to muck out and step off the mounting block.
Let’s start at the top:
Your first layer should be our Performance Skin: Firstly, they are silky soft so it’s the next best thing to mucking out in your PJs, and intelligent temperature regulation means they effortlessly transform from Summer Performance Skins to Winter Base layers. The mesh panel on the back is essential as once you warm up from all that wheelbarrow pushing, it allows any perspiration that might be building up to escape therefore preventing the “I’m going to melt under all these layers” panic.
The next layer is extremely underrated, but those who have discovered it now cannot live without it. Our Short Sleeved Base Layers should be added on top of your Skin to provide extra warmth to your torso without adding bulk to your arms. This fabric is thick, luxurious and dries very quickly making this Base layer extremely versatile. Top Tip: Combine the Skin and S/S Base layer under your body protector to stay warm during early season cross country training, oh and they are included in our January sale. BARGAIN alert!
The next layers can be added as needed: A performance Hoody adds warmth but again if you start to get too warm the fibres of the intelligent Coolmax fabric will open to release some of that heat. If it’s really cold I add a Training Gilet next, again giving your torso extra warmth but leaving your arms free. And finally, our incredible sell-out Padded Yard Jackets is a must have for Winter; super lightweight so you will be astonished how warm they keep you!
Moving on to the bottoms:
Two layers is the optimum amount here – our Luxury Training leggings can be worn on their own in the Summer but their flat seams and no bulk makes them the perfect under trousers for everyday riding in the Winter. I am currently living in mine under our Breggings or under thermal breeches if the weather is heading into minus figures (I do live in Scotland after all). I find Decathalon breeches to be very cosy and are reasonably priced.
Double up on your socks! If your long riding boots can’t handle any more bulk on the calves, then wear a long pair of socks with ankle socks over the top to keep those toes cosy. My favourite combo is Dublin riding socks paired with Under Armour ankle socks as they have good elastic and don’t slip down and end up bunched up in the toe of my boots.
Finally, invest in some good gloves and wear one of the AC Heavy weight Bobble Hats when on the ground- it’s amazing the difference having warm hands and head will make.
Life is too short for being cold so layer up and beat the cold once and for all. Spring is on its way, I promise, but in the mean-time you have got this!
Photos by Dave Cameron Photography of our sponsored riders Jodie and Giorgia