Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Winter Riding Wardrobe on a Budget

I've been meaning to compose this post for a couple weeks now... especially with the last very cold spell. Since last winter wasn't as cold and snowy as this one, I didn't pay much attention to winter-specific clothing other than a down vest; I got that from MEC at clearance because I squeezed into the size 14 kid's version! Goooo me!! Anyways, I don't show and probably won't do it for a little while so my focus this chilly and snowy winter has been on schooling clothes that can double as outdoor active clothes. I know that this is already a relatively costly endeavour compared to some of the other activities I've done/do so I try to work with what I've got and consider alternatives for my riding wardrobe.

It's good that I'm active outside of horseback riding and I've amassed plenty of active clothing. I paddled and steered a dragon boat team for several seasons in my previous years but have since stopped, but I do continue to kayak in the summers for leisure. I also cycle in the warmer months and have a substantial arrangement of cycling clothes for someone who cycles once... maybe twice a week. Primarily, I am an avid yogini for many years and find enjoyment in this activity. However, these are all warm weather activities and don't accommodate for cooler weather. So, I have been riding with the same clothes I ride with during the summer; with one amendment: many more layers.

This year, I've been thinking about the "gaps" in my winter riding wardrobe without breaking the bank. I already have many t-shirts and a few long sleeve shirts that I usually pull over my tshirt; this past few months, I've gotten a moisture-wicking active shirt from MEC as well as a very warm and soft fleece pull over top I picked up at Le Baron, all during the Boxing Day week sales. We'll talk gloves another time because I've realized that having the appropriate gloves are key.

While we tack-up in the main stable, the horses are often in the adjacent fields and some of the tack is in the other smaller stable. I find myself trekking into the snow driftswhere there are few trees to keep the snow from blowing around and turning into snow dunes. To mitigate this, I put on my paddock boots and half chaps then make my way out rather successfully. No snow in my boots and I'm dry by the time I start lesson.

The only thing that has gotten to me though, is being cold. I layer my top and slip on wool socks, but my bottom and legs (particularly my thighs) are perpetually chilly. I tried to get long johns on underneath but clearly I've had too much fun over Christmas and things aren't fitting the way they could and so I'm considering winter chaps. Wiarton Willie says that we're getting another 6 weeks of winter so these will likely come in useful. Stay tuned for my post about how it's like, riding with them :)

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