Winter Weather Hacks
Hello, and welcome back to another week of the blog! This week I want to discuss tips and tricks to survive these winter months. I know many of you probably got a good chuckle out of that statement, considering that I live in Florida you are most likely wondering how would I know anything about handling winter. What only a few of you know is that I spent most of my life in Charlotte, NC. During my many years there I dealt with quite a few unusually cold winters, which lead me to discovering some of the winter weather tips I am about to share with you!
One of the worst things about winter is the fact that you can't bathe your horse! Let's face it, these beautiful animals are actually very dirty. So, it comes as no surprise that winter is a pain in the butt for many horse people. One thing that has continuously been a life saver for me is baby wipes! If your horse is anything like mine, dealing with a dusty coat is a continuous struggle during the winter. The constant dust can be super frustrating for those of you who are like me and love a spotless horse (seriously, I will groom for an hour if time allows). Since it was almost impossible for me to bathe in the middle of winter due to the fact that I didn't have access to hot water and heaters, I had to get creative. I love baby wipes because the texture and moisture allows you to easily gather dust but doesn't actually soak through the coat. This means you can avoid the struggle of maintaining a horses body temperature while drying if you do not have access to heaters. My tried and true process was to use a wipe or two along the neck and back before and after my ride in addition to my regular grooming routine; it almost completely eliminated those typical dusty winter coats. Better yet, baby wipes are super cheap and easy to find!
Another struggle I faced during the cold Carolina winters was keeping my legs warm during my endless hours spent at the barn. I am a Tailored Sportsman girl through and through (sorry bank account!) and so I love a very specific fit to my breeches. Unfortunately, Tailored Sportsman doesn't make a winter breech so I had to turn elsewhere. From the winter breeches I tried, I could never find ones that I loved. Every pair I put on either felt too thick or too baggy and I couldn't convince myself to buy something I didn't totally love. So, I had to find a solution. My trainer at the time was amazing and shared some secrets from her years competing up in the northern United States, she suggested that I put tights under my breeches as they add a layer of insulation without adding any additional bulk. I was highly skeptical of how warm the tights would actually keep me, because they are just made of thin nylon, but to my surprise they actually helped to keep my legs warmer in and out of the saddle. This meant that I could spend more time at the barn riding and watching lessons without completely freezing, and we all know that spending more time at the barn is the ultimate goal.
This last tip I'm about to share I discovered during my last winter in Charlotte, which in retrospect is a bummer because I could have been so much warmer. If you live in the north and haven't completed your Christmas list, this is a must have thing to add! Parkas are a serious lifesaver when it comes to being at the barn. They are long, insulated, and often can zip/unzip from the bottom up. This is particularly useful for when you are actually on the horse. You can keep your whole body covered (legs included) but still be able to ride. This is because you can unzip the parka just enough so that you can sit in the saddle. They are actually exceptionally easy to hack and jump in and do not flap all over the place, so no need to worry about frightening your horse. When you get off you just zip it up back up which keeps your legs warm and breeches clean! My parka went everywhere with me during my last winter in Charlotte, shows included, making it exceptionally easy to stay warm during early morning hacks and ensured my show breeches stayed clean. If you are considering buying one for yourself, I seriously encourage it! Be sure to check out this link to one of my favorite parkas. If you're looking for a longer parka like the one pictured below click here!