Horse lovers realise that their passion will see them spending a lot of time outdoors and in the winter months they will need to dress appropriately to stay warm, while keeping in mind that activity and some sparkling winter sunshine will change the "chill factor" and everyday outdoor clothing needs to be comfortable, adaptable, practical, easy care and easy to wear.
Fortunately for the modern "horse nut" every situation is catered for from the wide range of winter clothing available at our retail outlets. However, the options can be confusing and it is not always easy to make the right choice for the intended purpose. Traditional natural fibres combined with carefully selected modern "technical" fabrics and the latest design concepts, manufacturing techniques and consumer information, give today's horse rider lots of options to ensure comfort and good looks.
Over the next couple of months Cyberhorse will be featuring a series of selected fashion recommendations for WINTER. We have started with some helpful advice for winter dressing and some especially selected favourites from a list of "Aussie" suppliers, that will help you to make the perfect choice.
The outlets we have featured are all special friends of the Australian horse community and put a lot back into our sport. They offer a wide variety of good quality merchandise at very competitive prices and provide on-going after sales service and support.
Before you shop on-line and on price only - think about the 'big picture' and consider the following?? Does the company support the interests of Australian horse owners and riders? Do they sponsor events and/or some of our brightest equestrian athletes? Will they stand behind the products they sell? Will you get continuing supply of the brands and styles that you like? How would the departure of these Australian based companies impact the costs of participation in horse sport - in particular, competing?
Although riding and competing IS expensive, it is still significantly underwritten by the generosity of the retailers who offer the fantastic choices and a wide variety of clothing, saddlery, training aids and feeds.
Before you shop on-line or for price only, be sure to think of the bigger picture and share your feedback and joy of horses with the supporters who share your passion - they are there to serve YOU and very much appreciate YOUR support.
Dressing for Winter - 10 Ideas to help you beat the winter chills.
Even though horse riders will spend a lot of their time outdoors, there is no need be be cold or to feel and look drab. The fashion selections that we have recommended will see you welcoming the opportunity to warm-up and feel cosy - here are some tips to ensure you get the most from your winter wardrobe.
1. LAYERS - Be sure that you dress in layers as this will ensure that you are easily able to adapt the warmth factor according to exercise, warmer than predicted conditions or when you are exposed to winter wind and rain that will significantly increase the "chill factor". If you choose your wardrobe carefully and dress adding layers, you should never feel uncomfortably cold or hot. Remember - the more layers the better as layers allow you to regulate your body temperature - if you feel cold you can add a layer ... and if you get too warm, you can undo a zip or remove a layer.
2. COVER THE EXTREMITIES - Think of your extremities - your head and neck, hands and feet can be major areas for heat loss. If your head is exposed and even worse if your hair gets wet, you will not only feel cold and miserable, but risk inviting sniffles and the flu. We lose of lot of body heat from our head! The human body is designed to ensure that our brain does not get cold and so it sends heat to this area at the risk of leaving us with cold hands or feet and shivering to increase our core temperature - feeling the cold everywhere but on our head. By wearing a hat, woollen beret or beanie and a nice warm woollen scarf, gloves and socks, you will be appropriately dressed to keep the chills away. Remember - dress for warmth NOT fashion (even though these days you can do both!)
- Keep your head warm
- Keep your feet warm and dry
- Keep your neck warm - wear a scarf
- Keep your hands warm - wear gloves which are suitable for your outdoor tasks and waterproof if appropriate.
3. NATURAL FABRICS - Be sure to understand the fabrics and warmth rating of the clothes you choose. A reliable and helpful supplier will be able to advise you and if you are exposed to extreme weather conditions you will need to be sure to add the appropriate layers and remember that wool is a perfect insulator when worn close to your body. Down (feather fill) is made for minus winter conditions and felted wool is a very good natural option for protection against the winter wind factor. Many jackets and coats are especially rated for warmth and these are worth considering if you feel the cold or are exposed to the outdoor elements in early morning and/or the evenings.
4. SYNTHETICS - While many synthetic fabrics offer warmth when they are dry - particularly if they encase a layer of synthetic wadding/filling. But you should consider that these materials are not always suitable for the unpredictable outdoor conditions that are part of the horse person's life as it is quite likely that when wet some otherwise warm garments will become very cold and do not dry off readily. By ensuring that you have a woollen layer close to your body, you will stay snugly warm and wool repels moisture so that even when damp, wool does not feel cold. Wool breathes and therefore is more suitable for warmth while exercising, as it wicks away perspiration. This is why the sheep manage to stay dry and warm in the bleakest winter nights and also stay comfortable in the summer months too. Synthetic jumpers and pullovers are never as warm as their woollen counterparts so do not think that because it looks thick and warm, it is! Shop smart and remember to read labels and ask questions! Google can be a help with your research.
5. BE PREPARED - This is the motto of the Girl Guide movement and it should be the motto for going outdoors in winter. Plan your day/weekend by checking the weather report and considering the layers that you might need to cover your hours of outdoor exposure. Also consider, will it rain, will it be windy or likely to turn windy? Will there be some indoor activity or socialising before you have the opportunity to change? These questions will help you to wear the appropriate layers which give the best protection and maximum flexibility (and glamour, for the occasions when this is important)
6. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR SELF TO GET HOT AND SWEATY - Overheating should be avoided if you wish to stay comfortable and confident. Sweating makes you wet and when you cool off you will still be wet and then, cold. This is where the appropriate layering will make winter dressing easy!
7. OVERPANTS - Ensure that you investigate the choices of over pants for the non-riding outdoor activities. You can choose tracksuit pants, or a nylon windproof fabric that is light and makes a good insulator. If you feel the cold, you can choose thermal underwear and/or "long Johns" as worn by snow skiers. But remember you will be wearing these even when riding and active and if you get hot, they are difficult and inconvenient to remove.
8. A LONG COAT - A longer lightweight raincoat with a hood can act as excellent protection from the rain or as a windbreak and keep in the warm (created by your layers) in. Keep one in your car for times when the extra protection layer may become necessary. For particularly cold areas, a warmer overcoat or oilskin coat should be on hand as this protects all of the inner layers and keeps the wearer dry and completely protected from the elements and an Oilskin coat breathes.
Your attitude to the winter months is very dependent on your choice of appropriate clothing and how effectively you keep yourself warm when outdoors. The season can be a magical time of the year and a great opportunity to enjoy your horse.
We hope this information helps you to make the right choices. Please look up our valued supporters as they have generously shared some of their recommendations with you. Happy wintering!
In this segment we will take a look at some of the exciting and practical choices for winter jackets.
JACKETS - Not only a warm choice but the perfect opportunity to make a bold fashion statement too - Here is where you can buy the PERFECT Jacket/s.
Saddleworld - 44 Australia Wide Stores for you to make your Choice
For most riders, there will be a Saddleworld nearby and all stores have a great phone and e-mail ordering system, you will find the complete catalogue on-line and your local store will have some unique items as well. There is a wide choice at Saddleworld, but they have recommended an 'old favourite' for your consideration.
The Outback Oilskin Collection is just part of the comprehensive range of clothing options available at your closest Saddleworld store. Oilskin coats have been the choice of horse men and women for many generations and have stood the test of time as the perfect winter protection from cold and wet conditions that the season delivers.
Oilskin is perfect for people with itchy or allergic reactions to synthetics or overheating. Oilskin is a cotton fabric that is infused with oil, thus leaving you with a durable material that repels water, “water, and oil don’t mix!”
Since the years of the Wild West, Outback Trading has evolved the oilskin fabric into fashion forward garments, without damaging the integrity of the fabric!
Go to the Saddleworld web site for your nearest retailer and take a look at the comprehensive product guide in pdf format.
The Riders' Shoppé
Lyn and Hayley Gilbert are passionate Dressage enthusiasts and known for their sense of style which is reflected in their carefully selected range. Lyn says, "I cannot go past the Gersemi semi-fitted short softshell jacket with a two way front zip. It is ideal for layering and is a lightweight, cosy fleece-lined, quilted jacket. Directional, fashion styling on this quintessentially “English” look with belted, poppers and 2-way zip through style.
I would also like to mention another favourite - the Animo 100% Polyester micro and Water/windproof and breathable bomber style jacket which is lined and again a perfect choice for layering against the cold.
For all of our beautiful jackets and other winter clothes.
ELT have earned an enviable reputation for smart European designs, high tech/high performance fabrics and all in a very affordable price range - so perfect for everyday wear. The recommendation from Top Tac - the distributor of ELT is something for the boys!
The ELT Men's Soft Shell Jacket - design KAI. This a really comfortable and smart functional jacket that is suitable for riding or casual outdoors and even for indoor activities!. Wind and water repellent featuring preformed sleeves with an extra soft cuff and thumb opening. It is washable and easy care.
STOP PRESS - The NEW ELT Fashion Hoody is the perfect choice in a layering ensemble and the hood gives extra protection when required. It is classy cut hoody with waisted fit, made of soft cotton (95%) material with elastic (5%) with chin cap to secure the fit. Easy care and washable. ELT is available from leading Saddleworld Stores - so check out your local options or the full range. Material: 95% Cotton 5% Elastic and washable, easy care garment.
ANKY Jackets are the third layer in the recommended ANKY three layer system; providing protection against all weather elements.
The jackets range is designed to protect against all weather conditions; wind, rain and sun while incorporating the latest in European fashion and design.
ANKY Australia has set a fashion standard that is the style of the many times world champion dressage rider, Anky van Grunsven. Talk to Stephanie Dijkstra about your special requirements and favourite colours.
The Dancing Horse
"The MUSTO combination jacket is the showpiece of the MUSTO winter range!" says Mary Mumford from The Dancing Horse.
People love them and they will last a lifetime. The smart colour combination featuring Navy/Geranium can be worn with the horses or shopping in an exclusive mall - MUSTO is never out of place. It truly is three garments in one - meshlined waterproof outer with gussetted rear riding vents and quality stud fastenings. Quilted insulation with zip-in Gillet.
It must be remembered that MUSTO was designed by a sailor to withstand the ocean elements and requirement to stay dry and warm - so perfect for Australia's winter riders. For details about the MUSTO range and other Jackets Visit The Dancing Horse
Horse in the Box
Erika's choice is a very pretty light jacket, which is waterproof, windproof and breathable. Mesh and satin lining, quality "YKK" double way zip, rear gussets, mesh lined hood. Elbow-patches make it possible to bend your elbow without pulling at the shoulders, so perfect on and off your horse.
Elastic fitted waist and contrasting piping enhance the very fashionable look of this jacket.
This jacket has been very popular with non-riding outdoor girls who play golf. They say that the riding ladies are so lucky to have such beautiful clothes to choose from. Take a look at the range of winter warmers at
Melissa Johnson from Overflow Equestrian has a special recommendation for the colder winter days - it is the Piff Kaja Jacket, which is made to be extra light and comfortable and super stylish.
The Piff Kaja is a very warm quilted winter jacket in an exclusive shiny look with subtle, colour contrasting, inner lining and two zip fastening pockets. A special feature of this jacket is the zip which fastens all the way to the top of the hood, this means that breezes cannot get in and decrease your enjoyment of the great outdoors.
It is washable and easy to wear, and always looks fantastic.
To see this and many other fashion and everyday winter options visit the
The Virtual Tack Shop
Kathryn Eke from VTS was puzzled about her favourite winter time suggestion but said, "Our jackets are wonderful but as you are talking about "layering" I have to share with Cyberhorse readers my special favourite - the NEW Bilbao long-sleeved shirt, it is so warm and comfortable and made with breathable, moisture controlling fabric.
This multi-purpose shirt has a long cut for extra comfort, with a unique fine spiral-zip surrounding the hood I cannot imagine a winter where I live, without a couple in my wardrobe! They are machine washable and very easy care. It is made to last for many years."
Catago Riding Wear
Danish born Pernille Hogg says, "Just because it is cold, there is no need to be drab and boring. I was very excited when I discovered Blæst raincoats and wet weather gear when on a buying trip in Europe. I highly recommend these fantastic "fashion accessories" as the ultimate over layer and I have had many non riding clients buy Blæst - just for the look.
They come in a variety of colours and styles for women and men and make a huge statement as well as providing the maximum protection in the worst weather - even the European cold blast. The raincoats can be teamed up with Blæst Gumboots set off the look and you are set for the worst that the weather-man can hand out." Catago have a very comprehensive range for the fashion conscience winter rider.
Visit Catago for winter fashions, Stallion services and Clinic details.
Black Horse Clothing
This is an Australian brand that has been thoughtfully designed by an Australian for Australian conditions and budget. The range combines the concepts of the mainstream fashion industry with the special needs of the horse enthusiast.
Black Horse Clothing is proud to announce their first range for Autumn/Winter 2012 and you can expect cosy and durable fabrics combined with beautiful prints and patterns that are designed for real people throughout Australia. Warm polar fleece, 100% Australian wool and waterproof fabrics will ensure to keep you keep warm and comfy throughout the cooler season.
Black Horse believe that there is no excuse not to look stylish on a budget. "My choice is a perfect accompaniment in the layering concept - a polar fleece vest (or jacket) which can be used as a warm undergarment or a smart top layer when the winter sun emerges. "I hate having to keep my recommendation to one, as I have put a lot of thought into winter designs that are suitable for the southern states of Australia." laughed Gillian.
The City Barn
The Linda Riding Jacket is the recommendation from Martina from The City Barn. She says, "Coming from Germany, I understand well that if you do not dress appropriately, winter can be a trying time. It is interesting that even in the minus temperatures of a European winter, people do not feel the cold because they choose their clothing carefully and layer so that they can be comfortable when they go back indoors. I have felt Australian winters more because it is often hard to find the right clothes. I have been mindful of this when choosing my range and I know that the Linda Jacket will be a great wardrobe addition for outdoor winter activity."
This jacket is a double breasted design with a removable fur collar. The Linda is waterproof, breathable and very stylish. The City Barn have other lovely jackets, but this is a special choice for Martina's winter wardrobe.