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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
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    New England
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    Default Winter riding apparel: What's warmer?

    so I have considered buying a pair of full chaps to wear over my jeans for extra warmth and wind protection while out riding in the winter months. I currently own a few pairs of fleece lined breeches and the tall insulated Ariat boots but I only wear these when it is extremely cold ( like below 30).
    I'd say on average the winter temps around here hover between 35-45. I don't really need to wear my fleece breeches and tall boots for those temps but I would like a little extra warmth and protection from the wind.

    Will full chaps do the trick?? Or should I stick to the ugly fleece breeches



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2004
    Location
    Canada
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    Default

    Grab a pair of silk long undies to put under your breeches.

    I never wear winter breeches or my full chaps unless I'm just hacking. I just put long underwear under whatever breeches I'm going to wear.

    It works well, keeps you warm. And where I live, it gets COLD!!!!!! The place I board at is an open 100 acres and the wind whips across it something fierce.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2008
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    Nowhere, Maryland
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    Default

    I wear jeans and full chaps (plus long johns) whenever it's below freezing. Today it was about 25 with the windchill, so I was glad for the extra layer. It was so cold when I went to jog on the road, the bridges were still coated with ice--my boy slid across with me swearing and praying. Thank god he's barefoot and surefooted.



  4. #4
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    Sep. 5, 2003
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    NY
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    Default

    I live in upstate NY, just west of the Berkshires; where it gets really cold for a long time!!! I love my full chaps in the winter, I think it cuts the wind better then anything. When it is really cold I wear the long undies, polar fleece riding pants and the full chaps. I also love the hand and feet warmers. I hate to be cold!! good luck!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2003
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
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    Default

    I typically do what Jazzy does (silk long johns and my normal britches), occasionally break out the fugly fleece lined britches. Today, however, I wore my full chaps with jeans and silkies (I'm a wimp), and was pretty snuggly warm, even with standing in the ring teaching. My feet were the first to get cold and the worst of the cold, too. I still prefer britches, but my half chaps are getting repaired, so I'm stuck with my full chaps until I go out of town in a few days.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
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    New England
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    Default

    thanks for the suggestions! I have never owned a pair of full chaps so I wasn't sure how warm they would be. My husband thought they would work well since he wears full chaps on his motorcylce and says they break the wind significantly.
    I prefer to ride in my jeans. I own several pairs of jeans that I chose specifically for riding that have just the right amount stretch. If I could continue to wear those with the full chaps over them for most of the winter and stay warm I'd be pleased as punch! I really only wear breeches for clinics/shows/hunting.

    I'll have to pick up a pair of silk long johns for the extra cold days.....or just resort to the ugly fleece breeches...I'm always warm in them.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2001
    Location
    Lexington, KY--GO BIG BLUE!!
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    3,190

    Default

    Another vote for chaps. No indoor here, and 5+ horses to ride daily all winter long. I'm comfy in jeans & chaps until about 35, then I add a layer beneath jeans (often just a pair of old breeches). The full-grain chaps block wind, and give a little bit of "stick" helpful on those chilly blustery days when young horses perform airs above the ground. They're also quite water-resistant... I stay dry for the first 3 rides in steady downpour, then they get a little soggy. (I must say, though, the dampness increases the grip!)

    I much prefer half chaps for "real effective" riding; I can't move as freely in full chaps (too "sticky" and bulky). However, I also can't move well when I'm frozen stiff. For serious flat and jumping schools, I tough it out...but for anything else (hacks, trots, gallops) I'm toasty warm in jeans and chaps. I wear mine almost all day long, every day in winter, for the last 3 years, and they hold up very well... much more than any pair of breeches! Actually my chaps were abandoned at the barn by someone else... no one claimed them, so I used them and fell in love! I wouldn't shell out the $$ for customs, but when these die, I'll definitely buy another pair of smooth leather chaps.
    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
    ? Albert Einstein

    ~AJ~



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2008
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    NJ
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    Default

    If you can find polarfleece breeches with wind resistant coating or materials, they will stay toasty,too. I find chaps too restrictive, but then I don't ride when the ground is frozen-which luckily doesn't usually happen more than 2-3 days in a row down in Southern NJ. I think some companies are now making wind resistant fleece so that may be worth looking into if you find that you don't care for full chaps. That being said, nothing does block the wind like leather chaps-maybe you could borrow a pair to try out before investing in them.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2008
    Posts
    136

    Default

    Okay, you guys who are saying that "extremely cold" is below 30, I taught lessons from 8:30 to 4:30 today in 19 degree weather, about 10 with the wind chill...who the f)(*&^ moved January to November???????
    We ride here (Vermont, Champlain Valley--lake wind, winter until May) in whatever the hell keeps us warm...on a day like today, it's long underwear (silk doesn't wick as well as microfiber), fleece breeches and chaps, foot warmers in the winter paddock boots if there are more than 3 horses to ride or if I'm hacking. The nice thing about chaps is that they block the wind. I find that the tall winter riding boots aren't usually tall enough, and they don't offer much ankle support, which is a big problem when jumping.
    The upside of all of this is that in April or early May, several people invariably ask me if I've lost a lot of weight! And yeah, I realize that anyone from Canada, Minnesota or Montana can beat my cold stories, so you have my undying respect. If I look like the Michelin Man I can't even imagine how you guys even move around!

    Not to hijack the thread, but while we're on the subject, I'm looking for a new pair of winter gloves...any suggestions?



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2004
    Location
    Canada
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    Default

    Okay... yes, I'm from Canada and can beat the cold stories. I did hill trots today in a foot of snow. In NOVEMBER! Our pipes in the bathroom in the barn already have frozen... In NOVEMBER!!!! YIKES!

    For gloves, I find a nice deer skin with a lining are the warmest thing. You don't want super tight ones because the circulation isn't great.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2008
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    1,648

    Default

    Full chaps are freaking AWESOME. I don't even mind that I can't walk in them because they give you so much grip. I can't tell you if they're warmer than fleece breeches because I honestly don't remember, but I like riding in them more than in insulated boots. The boots are always too short for me and get caught on the flap of the saddle, which I know can't be a good thing!!!

    And as far as gloves, I too like deerskin with a thin lining except when using two reins. That's quite a bit of bulk. However, for barn chores they can't be beat!



  12. #12
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    Nov. 7, 2008
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Viva View Post
    Not to hijack the thread, but while we're on the subject, I'm looking for a new pair of winter gloves...any suggestions?
    I was just going to add this.

    For leg warmth in general in the winter, I find a pair of rain pants over top of whatever I'm wearing anyway (jeans, sweatpants, breeches, etc.) tends to add quite a lot of warmth just by blocking the wind. I haven't specifically tried riding in the ones I have, but I think I've seen something similar actually intended FOR riding- and the benefit to them (over some of the super-duper winter riding pants) is that you can use them other times of year also, just by varying the layers underneath.

    (I'd imagine long underwear + fleece/heavyweight breeches + rain paints would be pretty toasty.)



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2003
    Location
    Berryville, VA
    Posts
    444

    Default My list of winter wear:

    Best warm breeches: Tropical Rider Toasties. They come in tan for shows, too! Choice of Deerskin or Clarino full-seat or knee-patch. They last practically FOREVER!

    Best warm feet: insulated boots help, as do thicker socks. But make sure the socks don't make the boots *tight*. That decreases the insulation! Another GREAT help is fleece-lined stirrup covers. These look like the front of fleece slippers and are attached to your stirrups, so that when your foot is in the stirrup they provide an *enormous* amount of warming insulation!

    Best warm head: Get a polar-fleece balaclava designed for bikers or skiiers. They'll be thinner where the helmet would go, and nice and warm over your ears, lower face and neck.

    Best warm hands: Buy regular or "winter" gloves at least one full size above what you'd normally wear. Then buy some "magic-knit" fits-all gloves. Wear the magic gloves under the too-large regular gloves. Bingo presto: warm fingers at K-Mart prices!

    There's more, but I must go to bed as I teach in the AM!
    Yvonne Lucas
    Red Moon Farm
    redmoonfarm.com


    "Practice doesn't make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect." - Jim Wofford

    "Some days you're the dog, some days the hydrant." - Jim Wofford



  14. #14
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    Nov. 23, 2006
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    New England
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Viva View Post
    Okay, you guys who are saying that "extremely cold" is below 30, I taught lessons from 8:30 to 4:30 today in 19 degree weather, about 10 with the wind chill...who the f)(*&^ moved January to November???????

    Well it wasn't exactly warm here in CT either Sat. High of 27 with 30mph winds made it nearly impossible to ride outside. The footing is rock hard and my truck is out of commission for the weekend so no going to the indoor. I didn't ride and I ordinarily would NOT ride outside in such weather When I say extremely cold, I mean for outside riding in the woods, fields etc...not in some toasty indoor I can ride in the indoor when it's 10 degrees out and be peeling the layers off...

    If it's below 35, especially with a windchill, I have the gear for super duper cold weather riding outside ( I it need for barn work) but unless there a nice layer of snow on the ground I refuse to ride my horse in rock hard footing. So needless to say the ugly cold weather riding wear doesn't get much use and I really think a pair of full chaps would do the trick with wool socks, lined gloves. I usually just wear a turtleneck, sweater/fleece and down vest for most of the winter. Those alone keep me pretty warm for riding. When I get off I put my down coat on.

    You were teaching outside?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiebob View Post
    Full chaps are freaking AWESOME. I don't even mind that I can't walk in them because they give you so much grip.

    See well this is what has turned me off from them when I've tried on pairs at the tack shop....the restrictiveness. I was just thinking gee if I can hardly walk in these things how the heck am I going to ride?

    but I suppose you get used to them and break them in? My friend rides in full chaps alot and she swears by them for grippyness and warmth.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viva View Post

    Not to hijack the thread, but while we're on the subject, I'm looking for a new pair of winter gloves...any suggestions?

    Fleece lined deerskin are nice for the super cold days. I also have a pair of the silk lined SSG gloves. They are AWESOME for any type of winter showing, clinics or in my case foxhunting. They keep your hands warm but have the same level of feel and grip as regular gloves. I hardly used my other winter riding gloves because they just feel so bulky in comparison which I hate.

    The silk lined would certainly solve the bulk situation with 2 reins that another poster mentioned...



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2004
    Posts
    530

    Default Gear for your head and face

    I have no indoor either and for years I wore those little headbands with elastic under my helmet (so it didn't affect the fit of my hat) with a neck warmer pulled up over my nose if necessary. Well last year we got ski helmets and they are great for keeping you warm and comfy when you ride. When the wind & snow kicks up we pull down the goggles and you wouldn't believe the difference I keep telling my kids that we should take a picture and send it into the USEA News and they were horrified that anyone would see them looking so ridiculous so you'll just have to conjure up that image in your mind.

    Of course acclimation helps a little, 66 a week ago and single digits right now just isn't right The new guy who came from TN is acclimating better than me and definitely enjoying the snow. He's definitely a little perkier than when we tried him

    Jackie



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2004
    Location
    Where the deer and the Antelope play
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    295

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    Snickersnickersnicker...snort...snot very cold in the 30's silly girls! It's only really cold once it's below zero! I had a lovely ride in the outdoor this past friday with the temps in the 20's in a few inches of snow. Makes it so easy to see your perfect 20M circles! But seriously, another vote for the tropical rider's toasties! And lots of layers, it's all about the layers. You learn that really quick living in cold country when doing anything athletic.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by badawg View Post
    Snickersnickersnicker...snort...snot very cold in the 30's silly girls! It's only really cold once it's below zero! I had a lovely ride in the outdoor this past friday with the temps in the 20's in a few inches of snow. Makes it so easy to see your perfect 20M circles! But seriously, another vote for the tropical rider's toasties! And lots of layers, it's all about the layers. You learn that really quick living in cold country when doing anything athletic.

    Riding in a few inches of snow is FUN!! I'll do that in any temp...problem is it is cold as Antartica here right now but no snow to be found

    Last year we got a whole lot of slush, ice and freezing rain. Some snow here and there. I'm hoping for lots of SNOW. It makes winter riding so much more exciting!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2007
    Location
    Maryland
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    217

    Default

    Regarding to the OP's full chaps vs. breeches dilemma... Here's my experience:

    I had full-chaps, made out of suede, so they were softer then leather and I rode in them all the time. They definitely helped in winter and rain, and definitely good for breaking wind and adding another layer of warmth and also gave great security in the saddle in winter! When you are looking into chaps though, make sure they have a bit more room in the knee - that's what will determine your flexibility in the saddle. Having said all that, yes, they will be more restrictive then britches with boots or half chaps.

    Since then I gave away my chaps and switched to warm, fleece britches, mostly b/c the chaps no longer fit me well, and started tearing up. For really cold days (high 20s/low 30s), I add another layer underneath the fleece britches, and feel completely fine, and notice that I don't miss full chaps at all.

    My point is that you will likely get used to full chaps, but if you don't like feeling resticted at all, then warm britches with layers will work just as well.

    Just to note that full chaps could be a bit more economical(hence I had them in college) b/c you only need 1 pair and then you can wear regular street clothes under them, so no extra expense of buying several winter warm britches.



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