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What's your preferred winter riding top?

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  • #41
    Agree with other posters that you need to just say no to cotton.

    When it's really cold: I like a midweight tech zip mock neck base layer, then a zip mock neck fleece shirt, then a fleece vest. Then a cheap down jacket, which I remove when I'm actually riding. If it's above freezing, I usually do with just the zip tech shirt and vest.

    The zip neck shirts are really great, because they function as turtlenecks when zipped, but can easily vent as you warm up, so you are less likely to get really sweaty when you ride. I'm constantly zipping and unzipping layers between horses.

    There are a lot of high quality brands out there--but look for things meant for outdoor sports, so they are warm and wicking. I really like the old Patagonia Capilene midweight shirts. But mine are all 1,000 years old, and they've gotten really expensive in the meantime. EMS has some similar ones that I'm eyeing when it comes time to replace them.

    You didn't ask about bottom layers, but I will echo other posters who suggests fleece breeches for below-freezing weather. And Smartwool socks all year long. I look for them on clearance and buy them in weird colors, since they are hidden under my boots anyway.

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    • #42
      I love cotton! It breathes! I rode years in Pittsburg winters with cotton turtlenecks and sweaters! I was never cold or clammy, if anything, the low temps were hard to breath when really working. I decided not to ride under 25 degrees.

      Layers. In very cold weather, I will start with a cheap, tight-fitting camisole. It's cheaper than smart wool. Then, silk undershirt, with or without turtleneck. Or smartwool. And/or polyester or cotton turtleneck. Cotton breathes, polyester doesn't. Then, wool sweater over this. Thick wool, people, not fleece! Wool breathes! A thin jacket or barrier (I used to like flannel lined polyester) to keep in the heat because the wool is permeable and not windproof. GOOD gloves - I have literally 6 pairs of different weights. I usually wear a silk scarf I can take off. Fleece ear warmers under your helmet.

      Definitely, fleece breeches for the legs.

      Wool socks for wither riding. I ride in Paddocks and have the Ariat Insulated for cold weather and the Ariat Frostbiters for really cold weather.
      Last edited by J-Lu; Jan. 11, 2020, 02:39 AM.
      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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      • #43
        I strive to look neat and tidy for lessons or when trying horses but I find the arms on some of the more fitted shirts just do not fit! If they do then they're binding. Why do manufacturers make garments with arms for someone with toothpick arms? As horsepeople, we need the room because generally, we have more muscular arms. That is the one reason why I go with fleece on some occasions but would really like to be able to wear Under Armor tops but am afraid the arms will be too small.

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        • #44
          I also love the UnderArmor Cold Gear mock turtlenecks. I have one that's a crew neck, and usually wear a buff with that.

          If it's around freezing, I wear a softshell vest over it.

          In the 20's a lightly insulated down vest (CostCo had some good ones a few years ago that were a lighter down fill).

          Getting towards the teens, I might wear more of a polar fleece type shirt or a heavier vest for riding inside. Riding outside, I'd go for a coat in the teens/low 20's to cut the wind.

          I also love my Merino wool Buff. I wear it around my neck until it's time to switch my beanie for a helmet. Then I can pull it over my head so my ears are covered, and tuck the excess at the nape of my neck, then put the helmet over the top and my ears stay warm.

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          • #45
            Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
            I love cotton! It breathes! I rode years in Pittsburg winters with cotton turtlenecks and sweaters! I was never cold or clammy, if anything, the low temps were hard to breath when really working. I decided not to ride under 25 degrees.

            Layers. In very cold weather, I will start with a cheap, tight-fitting camisole. It's cheaper than smart wool. Then, silk undershirt, with or without turtleneck. Or smartwool. And/or polyester or cotton turtleneck. Cotton breathes, polyester doesn't. Then, wool sweater over this. Thick wool, people, not fleece! Wool breathes! A thin jacket or barrier (I used to like flannel lined polyester) to keep in the heat because the wool is permeable and not windproof. GOOD gloves - I have literally 6 pairs of different weights. I usually wear a silk scarf I can take off. Fleece ear warmers under your helmet.

            Definitely, fleece breeches for the legs.

            Wool socks for wither riding. I ride in Paddocks and have the Ariat Insulated for cold weather and the Ariat Frostbiters for really cold weather.
            I agree!! My layers are (because it’s usually around 32 here) a cotton turtleneck and a lambs wool sweater usually dark blue.. I have a scarf for riding and my warm riding jacket for the start. I take it off before starting to trot.. But the secret is the lambs wool sweater... There are some nice qualities on the market, they look very elegant are pretty easy to care for and you don’t need to wash them every day... And those layers breathe.... the wool always keeps you warm...
            https://www.facebook.com/Luckyacresfarm
            https://www.facebook.com/Ulrike-Bsch...4373849955364/

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            • #46
              Having moved from SoCal to Maryland recently, I was worried I was going to freeze all winter. I've learned a lot, and have found that I'm impressing myself with how warm I've been! Here's my plan (based around layering so I can adjust based on how active I'm being):
              • Base layer: a merino wool blend. Warm, breathable, doesn't stink after one ride. I use this one because I'm not ready to risk being cold and wanted the best I could find, but there are probably cheaper options that are just as good. (It is exceptionally well made, though, and will probably last me years.)
              • Middle layer: a sweater type of garment. I actually use something like this, but you can probably do better.
              • Vest: I use a heated vest, and I love it. Most of the time I don't actually need it until it's below freezing. (You can find it cheaper on other sites.)
              • Outerlayer: An insulated jacket/coat. Any one will do as long as it has poof. My trainer swears by her back on track insulated jacket/coat.
              • Super cold outlayer: a long jacket, mostly for super, super cold days, volunteering at a show, sitting and watching clinics in the winter.
              Other things I've learned about staying warm: ski/snow pants over your breeches until you are ready to ride (and they go back on after); a gaiter for your neck (scarves always shift on me while I ride); fleece lined gloves (currently I have winter Roeckls and BoT gloves, both are great); merino wool socks; insulated riding boots (I think I have Mountain Horse somethings and they are very warm). I also have a helmet cover (that goes around your whole head) for when its really cold, and it's amazing how much it helps.

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              • #47
                Once when it was sleeting and windy and freezing in Savannah; back when we had winter in 2001-2002, I was so cold changing in my tack shed at the boarding barn that I left my cashmere sweater on and put a UGA sweatshirt on over it; and pulled my tropical rider toasties on over my panty hose, and-rode C&C. I had C&C in their then 300 gm Rambos, and they were OK.

                usually I wore a cotton turtleneck with my UGA sweatshirt and my toasties but it was too cold that day to take clothes off since I’d come from court.

                then we quit having winter and spring and fall in Savannah.

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                • #48
                  Glad I am not the only one loving cotton!

                  I've never gotten cold and clammy when wearing cotton as a first layer, but maybe I don't sweat as much as some of you...?!I hate the feel of those synthetic ("tech") fabrics next to my skin. They stink when you start sweating, too.

                  Cotton is fine for me at 25-30F and above, but for really COLD temps (20 and less) my first layer is a merino 1/4 zip layer (LLBean), then a fleece or wool sweater, then a ski parka.

                  Today, though, it was cotton t-shirt under a cotton sweatshirt.
                  It was 65F.
                  In January.
                  In Maine.
                  There is something really wrong with this weather.
                  Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

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                  • #49
                    I almost never ride in a jacket. Just too bulky and inflexible.

                    Layer 1: thermal shirt from Old Navy or Under Armor Cold Gear shirt
                    Layer 2: 1/4 Zip fleece or windpro
                    Layer 3: Quilted zip vest
                    Layer 4: Trainer's Coat - removed before mounting or after walking, before trotting

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                    • #50
                      Thank you, trakehners! I bought a pair of the footy tights, and other than needing to go up a size so the crotch won't sag so much, I love them! I'm going to try your trick of putting my socks on over my breeches. That might solve that issue.

                      Also, made the mistake of "just running out" to the barn the other day and only putting on my fleece breeches with no fleece tights underneath. Whoo! Mistake! It always seems to be this time of year that I get full of myself and start thinking I'm "accustomed" to the cold. It only takes one day of shedding my fleece tights layer to realize the only reason my legs aren't icicles is the layering.

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                      • #51
                        Ah, layers..... So much fun!

                        Top Layer #1: Cuddle Duds base layer or Horseware Ireland base layer (similar to the under Armour cold gear, I get mine on super sale at the end of the season)

                        Top Layer #2: Fleece 1/4 zip - cheap from Old Navy or the Dover Riding Sport ones when they go sale

                        Top Layer #3: Light weight vest (thin)

                        Top Layer #4: Hip length down coat OR knee-length trainer's coat depending on the weather and what I'm doing


                        Bottom Layer #1: Cuddle Duds Flex Fit base layer - I am obsessed with these, they are silky and easy to squeeze under breeches and oh-so-stretchy

                        Bottom Layer #2: Winter breeches - I have the winter Pipers, a pair of Riding Sport Winter Wellesley breeches, several flavors of winter Kerrits, and the Ovation Winter Celebrity breeches as well. I find that winter breeches are my best defence against the cold.

                        Bottom Layer #3 (rarely): Large sweatpants over the breeches. Only when it's /really/ cold.

                        I'll top it all off with a hat (if I'm not riding), scarf, Roekl winter Chester gloves, Smartwool socks, and either riding boots or Bearpaw winter boots (waterproof with the ugg-style fluff on the inside!).

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